Balanced Attic Ventilation
Beyond the Benefits Related to Prolonging the Roof, It’s Good For Business
by Paul Scelsi, marketing communications manager, Air Vent Inc.
(Editor’s Note: Paul Scelsi is marketing communications manager at Air Vent Inc. and leader of its Attic Ventilation: Ask the Expert™ in-person seminars. He hosts the podcast, Airing it out with Air Vent, and he’s the chairman of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association Ventilation Task Force. He is the author of the book, Grab and Hold Their Attention: Creating and Delivering Presentations that Move Your Audience to Action.)
Attic ventilation isn’t just good for the roof, it’s good for business, too. That’s what Kyle Pyatt, director of residential sales for Gen 3 Roofing Corporation, Centennial, Colorado, found out pretty quickly. “Applying our attic ventilation knowledge has directly been the difference in at least $150,000 in gross sales in the last 12 months,” said Pyatt. Research has shown the year-round benefits of providing residential attics with a balanced flow of intake ventilation and exhaust ventilation to help fight heat buildup in the warmer months, moisture buildup in the colder months, and ice dams.
To the individual employee and to the business overall, the positive results can be significant just by installing a new roof with proper attic ventilation. “If you told everyone on your team that simply by being well educated on proper attic ventilation you could potentially add $15,000 in your pocket, I’d said it’s pretty monumental,” Pyatt said. “Any additional revenue holds a ton of value, especially in challenging times when companies may have hit some hiccups that were not expected.”
The beauty of this additional revenue awaiting residential roofing companies is that it’s happening just by installing roofs the right way. “One of the most overlooked parts of a roof system as a whole is balanced attic ventilation,” Pyatt expressed. Because of this, roofing contractors like Gen 3 Roofing Corporation are reaping the financial rewards of doing things correctly, which means always factoring in the correct amount of intake airflow to match the exhaust ventilation. Also, that means not mixing different types of attic exhaust vents on the same roof above a common attic, which is a practice that can short-circuit the airflow, potentially causing inefficient airflow and weather infiltration.
“I had a customer who had box vents, a power fan, and wind turbines all on the roof and was very skeptical when I recommended we abandon all of them and instead cut in ridge vents at the peak of the roof when we install the new roof,” Pyatt explained. Because of his attic airflow knowledge, Pyatt not only knew mixing types of attic exhaust vents was problematic, he was able to recommend a superior category of exhaust, the ridge vents, to match the roof’s geometry and deliver better performance.
All photos courtesy of Kyle Pyatt
“About five months after we installed that roof, the homeowner called to thank us because the air conditioner no longer cycles nearly as much as it did previously,” Pyatt says. Proper attic ventilation helped remove the heat buildup the previous attic ventilation system could not. Not only did Pyatt and his team install the roof the right way, they also boosted their bottom line and saved the customer money.
Homeowners will notice the difference between roofing companies who explain proper attic ventilation and those who do not. “When you take the time to continuously learn and then explain your knowledge to the customer, you stand out,” Pyatt said. “We hear it very often from homeowners, and I think it’s the biggest difference between our company and others that don’t do this.” Not every homeowner will agree with Gen 3 Roofing Corporation’s attic ventilation assessment or be willing to pay the cost, which often appears to be higher than other estimates that did not factor in proper intake and exhaust ventilation.
“I think you have to further educate the homeowner at that point,” Pyatt continued. “Explain the negative side effects that can result by not properly venting the attic. Sometimes explaining the local building code requirements also helps the homeowner understand, too.” Those negative side effects include premature shingle deterioration. “Dark shingles in particular are probably 50º-60º hotter than ambient temperature,” said Pyatt. “Proper attic ventilation can protect against warping and cracking, and extend the overall life of your roof. The cost to fix the problems down the road is much higher than the cost to do it right up front.”
Another way to stand out is to help the homeowner with insurance claims. The majority of Gen 3 Roofing Corporation’s residential projects come through insurance claims due to hailstorms. Pyatt and his team have become very well versed in how to help the homeowner get a new roof with up-to-code intake and exhaust ventilation. “That can be the difference between the homeowner choosing one contractor over another. You might be the only contractor who brought it to the homeowner’s attention on how they can get insurance to pay for balanced attic ventilation and the roof,” Pyatt explained.
There are times the roofing contractor can be flexible with the price while still providing proper attic ventilation with the new roof. Pyatt says that pricing flexibility can also include offering financing options with as low as 0% interest. “I think at some point you have to take some responsibility as a contractor and make sure you’re doing the right thing,” said Pyatt. “Maybe for this project your margins are lower, but you’re still installing a quality roof and serving the customer’s needs.”