Clearing the air

Considerations for attic ventilation

Proper attic ventilation can be an important consideration when designing high-performing, steep-slope roof assemblies. For example, with some asphalt shingle products, proper attic ventilation may be a warranty requirement. Following is a review of code requirements and NRCA's guidelines for attic ventilation in steep-slope roof assemblies.

Code requirements

Code requirements for attic ventilation have varied between the International Building Code® (IBC) and International Residential Code® (IRC) and have changed with each edition up to the 2015 editions.

Beginning with the IBC's and IRC's 2015 editions, both codes require the net free ventilating area (NFVA) to be at least a 1:150 ratio of the space being vented. Any blocking or bridging in attics must not interfere with air movement, and an air space of at least 1 inch must be provided between the bottom of the roof deck and any attic insulation. Vent openings must protect against the entrance of rain and snow and be installed according to manufacturer's installation instructions.