The roof is one of the most significant parts of any structure, but it often remains one of the most underrated. Although people are aware that it is essential to get a sound structure above their heads that is basically where their knowledge in roofing system ends.

For homeowners with asphalt shingle roof systems, getting good shingles is only the first step to having a longer lasting roofing. One of the things you should remember in roofing is that ventilation can make or break the lifespan of your roof.

Proper ventilation has three primary benefits: it extends the roof’s lifespan, cuts down energy costs, and prevents extreme indoor temperatures.

When your roof is not adequately ventilated, the asphalt shingles might bake from the intense heat of the sun and become brittle, or ice dams can appear during winter and damage the entire roofing system. Ventilation also helps maintain a comfortable temperature in your home so that your air conditioning or heating unit won’t working extra hard to cope.

Here are 6 best practices for installing and maintaining a ventilation system that will help your asphalt shingle roof last longer:

  1. Install intake and exhaust vents in their right places.

Intake vents should be placed at the eaves or the lower parts of the overhead structure (or attic) while the exhaust vents go in the upper portion of the roof or the ridge.

  1. Ensure airflow in the entire attic.

Look for the intake and exhaust vents to make sure they are in the right place. Check the airflow inside the attic and see if the vents run from the eave to the ridge. If you’re using static vents, ensure that they are equally spaced and are near each other for proper ventilation.

  1. Balance the exhaust and intake system.

This can be achieved by opening intake vents until they provide 50 to 60 percent of air while the exhaust vents are at 40 to 50 percent. In all cases, intake should be higher than the exhaust.

  1. Have sufficient ventilation space.

This should be based on the standard building code in your area. Some set it to 1 square feet free venting area for every 150 square feet of attic space. Others allow 1 square feet free venting area for every 300 square feet if there are other ventilation features like vapor barriers are installed.

  1. Replace static vents and other ventilation devices when reroofing.

Static vents, ridge vents, and other ventilation devices should always be replaced during reroofing jobs for optimum ventilation of the roofing system. However, contractors may retain existing and well-functioning intake and exhaust vents that are not within the field of the roof.

  1. Strictly follow vent manufacturers’ product installation guide.

Although this should be pretty obvious, some contractors and homeowners need to be reminded about the importance of following vent manufacturers’ product installation instructions. This will help prevent mishaps during or after installation. Doing so is also compliant with their area’s building codes.