A Roof Needs to Breathe – Proper Roofing Ventilation

Knowing Your Roof

Whether you are considering a new roof or have been living under the same one for a decade, understanding what goes into your roof is important. It does more than just keep off the rain, snow, and all the rest: it also regulates temperature, and protects the house from the nastier sides of the elements. There is a lot that goes into making a roof reliable, but fortunately, it all has a logic to it. While every part of the structure is important, there are a couple aspects that stand above the rest.

anatomy of a roof

One such aspect of roof durability is ventilation. Just like any other part of your home, you want to make sure that nothing (aside from memorabilia) is building up in your attic. Everyone has seen what happens to a forgotten Tupperware of leftovers in the back of the fridge, no one wants the same thing to happen to their house. Therefore, proper insulation and airflow are key to making a roof effective at dealing with moisture and temperature. As an added bonus, the temperature-regulating properties of a well-made roof will also reduce energy consumption.

diagram of air circulation and ventilation in a roof

Alongside ventilation is a more visible aspect of the roof: the shingles. There are many options available, but the right material for you will depend on your location and personal taste. Although cedar shingles may accentuate the rest of the house perfectly, the climate of your area may be the deciding factor that turns you towards metal. Some types of shingling are more expensive than others, some are more heavy, but a good contractor will be able to help you narrow it down. If indecision is playing a role in getting your house reroofed, remember: asphalt shingles are just as good as anything else. There is a reason why they are the most popular type on the market.


Even the most enduring roof will break down eventually. After all, part of its job is to take a beating. A strong roof can typically be relied upon for around ten years, but as with anything else, it is good to check up on it regularly. Just because there are not any wet spots on the bedroom ceiling does not mean that something might be compromised. Fortunately, though, a damaged roof is easily noted. Shingles that are buckling, lacking the roughness lent by their built-in granules, or that are missing altogether are some common indications that a roof needs attention. Rotted or curling sections of roofing are also reliable signs. When in doubt, get a professional examination. It is better to be sure than to worry about a leaking roof every time rain rolls through.

Exterior Siding Has a Tough Job to do in Minnesota’s Tough Climate

Considering how much surface area of your home it covers, exterior siding can be considered just as important, if not more important, than roofing for keeping water out. Especially in the harsh range of weather conditions we see here in Minnesota. There‚Äôs quite a bit of overlap between roofing and exterior siding’s purposes and in terms of function and in terms of maintenance. Luckily, just like with a roof, it is generally pretty clear when siding needs to be addressed.

Most signs of degraded siding can be noticed at a glance. Fading, rotting boards, and frequently chipping, cracking, or bubbling paint are two such examples. However, other indicators are not quite as obvious and require closer forms of examination. For instance, the paint job might be staying intact, but a quick poke around with a screwdriver or a finger might reveal that the material underneath is going soft and that rot or mold is present.

diagram of how much moisture it takes to rot or mold housing substrate
Diagram of how much moisture it takes to rot or mold housing substrate.

It is also important to understand that siding, just like roofing, helps insulate your house, and regulate its temperature. If you notice that heating or cooling the house is becoming more difficult, or that your energy bills are increasing for no apparent reason, you may want to have an exterior siding contractor checked out your home.

exterior siding ventilation diagram
Exterior siding ventilation diagram.

When getting your siding replaced, there will be a range of materials available with which to do so. Wood, which may be what you have already depending on the age of the structure, will give a good look to your house. However, just like your roofing, your siding is intended to take a beating from the elements. As such, wood siding requires considerable maintenance, so you may want to opt for a more durable material. Two popular materials that fit the bill are vinyl and aluminum. Each is much more durable than wood, and vinyl in particular is on the more affordable end, but each has its own caveats. Aluminum can experience oxidation, resulting in fading and colored runoff, while vinyl is vulnerable to cracking in the bitter conditions of winter. However, treatments and textures are available for both that can help to mitigate these issues to help keep the water barrier intact.

diagram of exterior siding repelling rain
Diagram of exterior siding repelling rain.

If none of those seem appealing, there is another popular option available: cement siding. While on the more expensive side of siding, it earns its price point. As the name would suggest, it is highly durable, but it imitates the appearance of wood siding, and is produced from recycled materials. To top that all off, it is also low maintenance, so if it fits your budget, it should certainly be considered. The material you choose to run with will ultimately come down to your preferences, but a good contractor will be able to help you consider your options thoroughly.