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Does a Metal Roof Need To Be Vented and How To Do It?

Metal roofing has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity, with more homeowners than ever realizing the benefits of replacing their old shingle roofs with a durable standing seam metal one. From a longer lifespan to better resistance to wind, fire, and pests, an attractive metal roof offers multiple advantages. 

Homeowners looking to invest in a new metal roof have many questions. “Does a metal roof need to be vented?” is one of the most common. It’s reasonable to wonder whether the material’s durability eliminates the need for the same amount of ventilation as a shingle roof, but as Dragon Scale Roofing & Solar, Nashville’s roof repair contractor and best source for information and insight for all roofing projects, explains, it’s critical to vent metal roofs for multiple reasons. 

The Importance of Ventilation 

Your roof is your home’s best line of defense against the elements. While you never want leaks or holes that will allow moisture to infiltrate the roof, that doesn’t mean the structure stays completely airtight. 

Roofs need ventilation to allow heat and moisture to escape. As you know, hot air rises, and if it fills an attic without any place to escape, the damage can be extensive. Some of the potential outcomes of inadequate ventilation include:

Inconsistent Indoor Temperatures 

When hot air traps heat in attic spaces, the temperature can rise throughout your entire home. This makes rooms more uncomfortable, which in turn causes you to crank up the air conditioning to cool them down. Your HVAC system will work harder and stay on longer, which puts more wear and tear on it and drives up your energy costs. 

Condensation Issues 

Normal, everyday activities like bathing, doing laundry, and cooking can create significant amounts of moisture, which rises into attic spaces. Without a way for this moisture to escape, it will accumulate on surfaces, supporting mold growth and eventually leading to rot and structural damage. 

Moisture proves an even bigger problem for a metal roof. If it doesn’t have enough insulation and airflow, when the warm air from inside hits the cold metal, it can cause condensation. That extra water will also result in mold and other issues in the attic. 

Ice Dams 

The Nashville area may not receive as much winter precipitation as other areas of the country, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid ice dams and weather-related damage. In fact, one of the biggest reasons that the answer to “Does a metal roof need to be ventilated?” is yes is to avoid the potential for ice dams during the colder months. 

An ice dam refers to a buildup of ice near the edge of the roof, which can cause roofing materials to lift or create leaks when the ice melts. They occur when the ice or snow on the roof melts but then freezes quickly when it hits the cold air at the edges, creating a dam. At that point, any additional rain or snow melt cannot flow off the roof, so it pools behind the ice and causes damage. 

Ice dams pose a greater risk on an unventilated roof because the built-up heat in the attic causes the roof to stay warm and melt the ice or snow faster. While you might think that keeping extra warm air in the attic can help reduce your heating costs, a lack of airflow will create problems when winter storms roll through. 

How To Ventilate a Metal Roof 

Homeowners who discover that their metal roofs don’t have the right amount of ventilation can install forced-air fans in the attic to move the air around the space, but you can skip this step with proper design and installation. With adequate static ventilation, metal roofing won’t have any of the excess moisture or heat issues that can create problems.

Static ventilation supports natural airflow by using physics to move heat and moisture out of the space and allow cooler and drier air into it. However, correctly ventilating a metal roof requires more than just installing a few vents in the attic. 

How does a metal roof need to be vented? As with any other roof, metal roofing systems need several types of vents, including both intake and exhaust vents, to support the best airflow balance. The primary types of vents for an attic include ridge vents, intake vents, and gable vents. 

Ridge Vents  

Most roofs have ridge vents, which run the entire length of the roof to allow significant amounts of heat and moisture to escape. On a metal roof, the roofers install a ventilating material, then cover it with a ventilation flashing. The result creates a watertight roof that supports airflow. 

Intake Vents 

Intake vents ensure proper airflow in the attic, replacing the hot air that escapes from the ridge vents with cooler air from outside. You’ll find these vents at the roof’s lower edge, either under the drip edge or soffit. Ideally, they should be capable of pulling in the same amount of air that flows out of the exhaust vents. 

Gable Vents 

Gable vents may be either intake or exhaust vents, depending on your roof system. While they don’t support as much airflow as the ridge and intake vents, they can add some extra ventilation. Roofers install these vents near the roof peak on the sides of the gables, where they add some interest and aesthetic value to your home’s exterior. 

Turn to Dragon Scale Roofing & Solar for Quality Metal Roofing 

If you have questions about metal roofing, like “Does a metal roof need to be vented?” or you’re ready to make the switch from a shingle roof to a metal roof, get in touch with Dragon Scale Roofing. The experienced Nashville, Tennessee-based team can upgrade your home with a stunning, durable, and low-maintenance metal roof, applying years of expertise to ensure that your roof withstands whatever Mother Nature throws its way. 

Whatever your roofing needs, from repairs and replacements to safely installing a solar panel on your roof, Dragon Scale Roofing & Solar is ready to help. 

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