Insulating and Ventilating Attics

A Properly Insulated and Ventilated Attic Prevents Water Damage and Saves Money

By Mark J. Donovan

Late Fall is an excellent time of the year to inspect the attic and if necessary make some minor improvements. A well-insulated and ventilated attic can save you a lot of money and aggravation. The attic can be a significant contributor to heat loss from your home if not properly insulated. Also, if the attic is not properly ventilated your roof can become susceptible to ice damming. Ice damming can lead to major damage inside the home.

Ice dams start when heat builds up in the attic and causes snow on the roof to melt. The water from the melted snow runs off towards the eves of the roof. As the water nears the eves it begins to cool again and refreeze as ice.

After several days of this process the ice builds up and forms dams. Eventually the ice dams cause water from the melting snow to back up underneath the shingles and onto the bare roof sheathing.

Once there, the water finds cracks and nail holes to slip through. Finally the water works its way down onto the ceiling sheetrock and begins to cause major damage inside the home.

By ensuring a well insulated and ventilated attic ice damming can be eliminated. So when inspecting your attic, make sure you have sufficient insulation and that it has not been compressed down. Also make sure soffit, ridge and gable end vents are free from material that can clog them, e.g. Bees nests.

Attic insulation

You may also want to consider installing additional venting if your roof has had a history of ice damming even after additional attic insulation has been installed.

Finally, if the insulation layer between the ceiling joists is jammed up tight against the inside slope of the roof you should install attic foam rafter vents or chutes. The rafter vents will ensure that air flows smoothly between the soffit and ridge vents.

For help on Attic Conversion and Attic Renovation Projects, see’s Attic Conversion Bid Sheet. The Attic Conversion Bid sheet will help to ensure that you hire the right contractor so that your attic conversion project is built correctly, on time and budget.

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