Pratley & Partners

Does Your Loft Need Ventilation?

Monday, 9 October 2017

People usually associate lofts with insulation, a process of preserving heat within the home and reducing energy bills. However, what some homeowners don’t realise is that proper ventilation is needed as well.

An insufficiently ventilated loft space can cause all sorts of long-term damage to the roof, especially in older properties. If you think your loft may need ventilation, LJ Pratley can help, and it could potentially save costly repairs in the future.

Why is Ventilation Required?

Loft ventilation is an issue often overlooked by homeowners, usually because things seem fine on the surface. Because of this, its potential effects can go undetected for many years. However, some obvious warning signs can manifest and alert of a ventilation issue. These include:

Temperature – In the blazing summer months, the loft’s position on the home makes it susceptible to the sun. If the loft temperature noticeably exceeds that of the main house, it’s because the current ventilation system is not allowing hot air particles to escape.

Smells – If there’s a musty smell coming down from the loft, this is often a clear indication ventilation is required. Especially potent in the summer or after it rains, large volumes of stale air will emerge from roof materials and become trapped in the loft space.

Condensation – Poor ventilation will result in a build-up of moisture, humidity and eventually mould. Mould spores thrive amongst condensation, causing damage to wooden beams and ceiling joints. If the loft has been converted, it can even risk the health of inhabitants.

Rust – Rust forms when too much moisture lingers inside the loft, damaging metal components in the roof such as nails, plumbing valves or venting duct straps. Again, ventilation reduces condensation on the inside of the attic that prevents rust forming.

Ice Dams – Without proper ventilation and insulation, an internal build-up of moisture can play a part in producing ice dams. Once formed, they’ll overhang on your property and cause major roof damage during the winter.

Does Your Loft Need Ventilation?

Your roof may look fine from the outside with none of the above warning signs being an issue. However, building specialists will still advise that roof ventilation is required to prevent long-term damage.

The roof is the area of the home most exposed to adverse weather conditions, both hot and cold. When moisture cannot escape the loft, the entire roofing system from the decking to the shingles can be damaged.

The type of property most likely to require loft ventilation are those constructed post-WW2 but before the 1990s. This is because their tiles were fitted almost completely airtight, meaning moisture effectively has nowhere to go. As noted, this can lead to all sorts of structural damage.

For more information on air pollutants, we’ve taken a look at just what is polluting the air inside your home.

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