Hi, I'm in Toronto Canada. I've just been appointed property manager
for a small church (the fact that I know absolutely nothing about
building maintenance didn't seem to faze the congregation). The
building dates back to 1889, and it badly needs a new roof. I've
received quotes from four roofers. Of the two I'm considering, one
recommends a ridge vent while the other recommends no vent at all.
There is a flat ceiling, so there is obviously "attic" space between
the ceiling and the roof ridge. There has never been any venting, so
the one roofer said you've gotten along without it so far, you might
introduce problems by venting it now. He didn't say what problems there
might be. The other said a vent would help preserve the roof longer.
Which one is giving the better advice? Any thoughts. Many thanks in
advance for your help.
If it had no venting and was sealed tight it would not have lasted 116
years, The beams would have rotted away there would be mold on the deck
and beams, there is air movement somehow, whether by the sheeting being
loose or planks used for roof decking air is moving through. Will there
be new sheeting, what is there now. You might change something if new
sheeting is used requiring more venting. Or the construction has so many
air leaks in the attic it just vents. Get more bids, a paid inspector
should go over everything with you.
Usually, I agree with Mr. Meehan & Phisherman.
In this case, I would not be so quick to add ventilaiton.
(The Canadian Home builders' Association Builders' Manual 2000 does
seem to endorse venting attics in new construction.)
(The Building Science Corporation web site has useful climate specific
suggestions for venting.)
I would at least look at the condition of the attic to see what may
have happened over time.
If it is in reasonably good condition, I would not change the venting
It's possible that it is unintentionally vented to the interior for
Perhaps you could enlist the help of a forensic architect or engineer
or an architect who deals with older buildings.
A church might recieve a break on the fee. They certainly do in my
| Hi, I'm in Toronto Canada. I've just been appointed property manager
| for a small church (the fact that I know absolutely nothing about
| building maintenance didn't seem to faze the congregation). The
| building dates back to 1889, and it badly needs a new roof. I've
| received quotes from four roofers. Of the two I'm considering, one
| recommends a ridge vent while the other recommends no vent at all.
| There is a flat ceiling, so there is obviously "attic" space between
| the ceiling and the roof ridge. There has never been any venting, so
| the one roofer said you've gotten along without it so far, you might
| introduce problems by venting it now. He didn't say what problems there
| might be. The other said a vent would help preserve the roof longer.
| Which one is giving the better advice? Any thoughts. Many thanks in
| advance for your help.
Dating back to 1889 the roof would most likely have been cedar shingles over a roof strata wherein the boards/planks were not butted against each other except at the ends. The result would be a roof that is naturally vented via the spaces between the planks.
New roofs that use ply for the covering also do not include spacing between the sheets. This is why venting is required on them.
If the roof is not sheeted and you are putting up cedar, you most likely will have no need for venting.
If the roof is sheeted or you are putting up asphalt shingles, add venting.
Somewhere in the church there should be a trap door for accessing the attic. Have a look to see what you really have.
What's the roof itself made out of? Asphalt shingles?
Slate? Sheetmetal? How long did the last roof last?
(I'm inclined to agree with the first guy. If it's
lasted 115 years with no venting, it can't be that
much of a problem.)
115 years using labor and materials from 115 years ago. No guarantee it
will last that long next time. Are you sure it never was serviced during
that time? Likely, just forgotten.
Venting is SOP on almost every roof I have seen. In the summer it equalizes
the attic temp so ice damming and other freeze thaw problems are reduced.
In summer it lets excess heat and humidity escape helping to keep the space
benieth more comfortable and extending asphalt roof lifetime.
A ridge vent is best as it has the most open area but vents in the gable
ends wouldn't be too bad. Stacks would look bad on a church.
I would confer with the manufacturer of the product you are installing and
if your roofer is a top level company they will be in the manufacturers list
of companys to deal with. You should get a warranty from both.
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