Soffit Baffles Protect Your Attic from Mould & Moisture
Soffit baffles, or rafter vents, are an essential part of keeping your home well-ventilated and reducing the moisture on top of your house. Soffit Baffles prevent vents from getting clogged by insulation and ensure a clear channel for outside air to move into the attic through soffit vents.If you want a well-ventilated attic that doesn’t regularly grow mold for you to remove, you’ll want to make sure your home is properly aired out.
Even well-insulated attic spaces require air circulation. That means drawing air in from outside the home and allowing it to push through the attic. Baffles provide a channel for air to flow through certain parts of the attic. Baffles are also called wind baffles, venting chutes, rafter vents or insulation baffles. Typically made from polyvinyl chloride, rigid foam board or cardboard, they can be installed with a few staples.While there are many projects for your roof that professionals should handle, attic venting baffles can be installed by anyone. This makes it a perfect home improvement project for those who love caring for their home themselves.
Roof turbines used to be very popular for venting the upper section of your attic. Most professional roofers do not use these any more as the are known for allowing rain and snow to enter your attic. Typically a mushroom type of vent or with louvers, which do not allow snow and water in, are used today. When I pull up to a home inspection the first place I look at is the roof, if there are newer shingles and old style turbines I know that I am going to find issues with the workmanship involving flashings, nailing and caulking.
When you are faced with installing new shingles, which is about every 15 years for fiberglass shingles, ensure your contract specifies whether you are getting new vents, flashings, valleys and cover flashing or just reusing existing material.
Natural Attic Ventilation
Many home owners do not understand why anyone would allow cold air to enter the attic through vents, cold has alwayes been associated with poor insulation. During the winter months allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps keep it cold, which reduces the potential for ice damming (snow that melts off a roof from an attic that is too warm and then re-freezes at the gutters, causing an ice dam that can damage the roof). Proper insulation and air sealing also keeps attics cold in winter by blocking the entry of heat and moist air from below. In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves super-heated air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house.
Attic ventilation works on the principle that heated air naturally rises, primarily utilizing two types of vents:
- Intake vents, located at the lowest part of the roof under the eaves, allow cool air to enter the attic.
- Hot air exhaust vents, located at the peak of the roof, allow hot air to escape.
Taking advantage of this natural process, referred to as passive ventilation, is the most common way to vent an attic. In order to facilitate this exchange of warm and cool air, the general rule of thumb suggests installing at least 1 sq. ft. of vent for every 300 sq. ft. of attic floor. Building codes vary, though, so do check with your local building authority for the specifics that pertain to your community.
Older Homes Soffit Vents
Just because you have vented aluminum soffit installed around your home does not always mean you have good ventilation. Many times home renovators may install the vented soffit over existing wood soffit without installing any ventilation holes. Most contractors will rip a strip of plywood along the entire soffit area to ensure fresh air can enter your attic. If you are unsure of whether your soffit is working as it should, just take a powerful flashlight and put it up to your soffit while someone looks in the attic to see if any light penetrates into the soffit. If there is no light then there is no venting.
Venting Roof of Finished Area
Rafter vents, or insulation baffles, install in any rafter space to create narrow gaps that direct fresh air from the soffit vents to the peak of the roof. These specialty vents do not affect the finished look inside the remodeled attic. Instead, fresh air still flows in through the soffit vents and travels along the underside of the sheathing until it reaches a ridge vent or can be vented with another type of exhaust vent