Roof Ventilation and Summer Attic Heat

If you’re wondering about roof ventilation because your attic heat is approaching a million degrees, you’re not alone. Oklahoma summers are hot. It’s something we can’t quite get used to despite our experience of living through it every year. Walking into an Oklahoma attic during the summer is like walking into a giant oven. 

It should be no surprise that Turner Roofing gets many phone calls from people in Broken Arrow and the Tulsa area wanting to know what they can do about excessive attic heat. Typically, their primary concern is that air conditioning can’t keep the house cool. They want to know if Turner Roofing can help and the answer is, yes, we can. 

Transitioning from Wood Shingles to Asphalt Shingles

Most older homes have a roof with wood shakes (shingles). Wood naturally does a better job at buffering heat than asphalt shingles. However, asphalt shingles are the more efficient roofing that we use in the roofing industry today. Eventually, most people with wood shingles end up transitioning to asphalt shingle roofs. What tends to happen is that the first summer after they’ve made the transition they notice that they have trouble keeping their house cool.

The Different Types of Roof Ventilation

The first thing we do when we go out on a call about concern over too much heat in the attic is to look at the type of roof ventilation someone has on their home. This can vary with age, style and expense of a home. 

Think of a roof like a car engine. There needs to be an intake and an exhaust (in our case, a vent) to allow heat to escape. Generally, we’re looking for one of the following types of roof vents.

Soffit Vents

Soffit vents are the actual vents in the eves of your home. Going back to our car analogy, this would be the intake of our engine. 

roof ventilation pros and cons

Photo Credit:

Exhaust Roof Vents

There are different types of exhaust roof or attic vents. Essentially, they all work by allowing the heat to escape. If you don’t have an exhaust vent, then the hot air builds up throughout the day and makes both your attic and roof extremely hot. This same hot air then leaks back into the home, which makes it more difficult for your air conditioning to keep your house cool.

a graphic showing the layers of a roof and how roof ventilation flows

Photo credit: Fine Home Building

Turner Roofing professionals will come out and physically assess whether or not your roof has proper ventilation and offer a free estimate.

Solutions to Improve Roof Ventilation

The solution to improve roof ventilation is dependent on the home. We may determine that your home needs more soffit vents, or we may determine you need more attic exhaust vents. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both.

Roof Ridge Vents

First, when we add a ridge vent, we remove the shingles off the top of the roof ridge and cut the plywood back. Then, we place a plastic covering that allows air to flow through the peak of the ridge. Lastly, we put shingles back over the plastic covering. You can’t see it, but the air then flows out through the peak of the ridge.

Consult with Insulation Specialist

Additionally, we suggest to homeowners to consult with an insulation specialist. Insulation is key for two things. First, it keeps heat from seeping into the home from the attic. Also, insulation keeps cold air inside the home rather than leaking into the attic. Most of the time, the insulation specialists (similar to us at Turner Roofing) will come out and give you a free estimate. 

Electrical and Solar Attic Ventilation Fans

Also, electrical and solar attic fans are another way to improve roof ventilation. Physically moving the stagnant hot air in the attic with the help of a can dissipate heat. However, there are pros and cons to using electrical and solar attic fans. Primarily, you save electricity (and cost) if you use a solar attic fan. The downside is that most solar attic fans don’t run at night. 

If you’re having trouble keeping your house cool this summer and are wondering if your roof ventilation could be improved, please give us a call. We’re happy to come out and assess your potential roof ventilation needs. Contact us today for a free estimate.