Roofers In Calgary | Fire codes are essential in ensuring the safety of homeowners and their property. However, they can also have unintended consequences that may adversely impact the structure and integrity of homes. One example of this is the way fire codes are now affecting ventilation systems in homes. This is not just a problem in Calgary, but in other cities as well.
With land prices skyrocketing, builders are trying to cut costs by building houses closer together which reduces green space. This has resulted in a situation where if a house catches fire, the flames can spread to other nearby homes via soffit air intake. To prevent this, the fire code requires that soffits, which are the lifeblood of ventilation systems in attics, be sealed off to prevent fire from spreading. However, this solution creates another problem: poor ventilation in attics. Which can also be a main contributor to mold and other moisture-related issues.
The Suggested Remedy
The solution to this problem has been to install box events. Which are air intake vents on the top of the roof that brings in air and direct it through the attic. While box vents may be effective at preventing air intake fires, they’re not without their own set of problems. For one, they don’t catch air very well and can become buried beneath the snow, causing the restriction of ventilation. In addition, ice dams which are common in Calgary during the winter months, can build up around the box vents and completely tear them off, causing leaks to find their way into your home.
This doesn’t help the situation much if additional problems arise as a result of using box vents. Calgary and other cities are in dire need of a better solution.
The issue with poor ventilation in attics also leads to an increase in condensation and humidity-related problems, especially in newer homes that are more airtight. The humidity has nowhere to go but up, where it will eventually permeate through the vapor barrier and stick to the plywood. Causing a whole heap of mold and rotting issues as a result.
It’s important to note that not all vents are created equal. The vast majority of homes have box vents as outtake vents. Some box vents come with weather stoppers, which help prevent snow from drifting inside the house but can also restrict ventilation further. The solution to installing box vents as an air intake for Calgary homes hasn’t proved to be effective thus far.
A way more effective solution for Roofers in Calgary and homeowners alike would be to install tall vents. Tall vents can be the aesthetically less-than-pleasing alternative to choose from but they work much better than low profile box vents. Tall vents are suitable for all roof types, and they don’t have issues with getting buried beneath the snow.
In relation to poor ventilation and the number of problems that can arise from a poorly vented attic space, we wanted to get in touch with somebody who has experience in building to get more context. Local company owner Logan Cross of Logan Cross Construction in Calgary had this to say about having box vents as air intake on new homes.
“As far as I know there are lots of options for the vents on roofs. I do more of the soffit end of the work, and the overhanging part of the roof. What we have seen on intake is when the change was made to go from circumvented soffit to solid soffit down the sides of the houses, there started to be more issues with the roofs. So, they started adding more and more vents into the attic which created more water penetration problems.
I think the problems stem from that one issue where they are trying to control the fire, sparks, and embers in case something happens, and it is just creating more of a problem as it snowballs and gets bigger.”
“I always think back to Mike Holmes saying, “A single pinhole can lead to a cup of water coming in,” and a cup of water coming in continuously can lead to a lot of damage to a home. If you are having these holes in roofs open up, then you’re having attic insulation problems which can lead to having to remediate the insulation.”
“Among other things that are being done when builders build is adding a layer of poly above the living quarters but below the attic airflow. So, when you get your attic insulation it’s actually sitting on top of a plastic sheet just to prevent water from dripping down. Again, they are trying to combat the problem in different ways, and it still doesn’t really fix the problem.
As a result of properties being built so close together, Logan Cross Construction is also feeling the pressures associated with building in close proximity to adjacent properties. The number of changes being made to building fire codes all seem to come back to trying to prevent fire which, if we weren’t building so closely, wouldn’t be such an issue.
New Market Solutions
When thinking about new market solutions for the build-up of ice dams and freeing up space for box vents to breathe during the winter months. A new product is also making an impact in the marketplace.
Armour Guard Canada has a revolutionary product that can assist with the buildup of ice dams during the winter months and can even potentially keep your box vents free from snow coverage. The Ice Armour gutter systems have a heat trace cable through the front of the aluminum base of the product. Allowing gutters to remain free of ice and snow during the unforgiving winter months in Calgary. The Ice Armour gutter heating system can be directly integrated into the thermostat of the home for convenience and ease of use, or the panels can be simply plugged in whenever the homeowners want to de-ice the roof gutters.
Another exciting product and potential solution for the buildup of ice dams is the Armour Guard Valley Heat Panel. Roof valleys are one of the main areas of concern for homeowners in Calgary. Valleys are where you will see the most buildup of snow and ice during the winter months. These areas are usually where problems begin to arise after a particularly harsh winter. The amount of weight from the ice sitting on your roof for an extended period of time can result in the loss of shingles which can potentially lead to roof leaks. Often, large ice sheets begin to melt when the weather starts to warm up, causing the ice sheet to slide down the roof of the home and into your gutter system which will result in damage to the home’s gutters. A whole list of other roof-related problems can arise from ice and snow buildup on the roof of your home.
Armour Guard’s Ice Armour Products have proven to be an effective solution for keeping critical points of your roof free of snow and ice, protecting your investment over the long term.
Another Great Solution
A new solution that Calgary Roofers have discovered is the Lomanco Eave End Venting System. This Eave Vent is not only more aesthetically pleasing but also more effective in bringing air into the attic. However, installing these vents after the roof has been installed can be costly as it requires Calgary Roofing Companies to rip off five layers of shingles which can cost up to $5,000 on your average home. In reference to a home that is worth half a million dollars or more, this is a rather small price to pay for the protection of your home.
On the other hand, if you happen to have the Lomanco Eave End Venting System installed during a roof replacement, the cost ends up being rather minimal. In conclusion, the Lomanco Eave End Ventilation System is a great product to look into purchasing while having your roof replaced if you’re facing fire code conditions, as well as the installation of a high capacity, tall vent for an outtake. Brace yourself however, if you have to bypass your soffits you will have to dig them out on occasion if you get snow build up. The Roofers in Calgary at No Payne Roofing would be more than happy to have it ordered and installed for you.
Additional Fire Code Specs
Overall, while fire codes are necessary for safety, there are unintended consequences that need to be addressed. Poor ventilation in attics can cause moisture-related problems, which can be costly to repair. The Lomanco Eave End Venting System is a new solution that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly effective at bringing air into the attic. However, it is important to consider ventilation when building or renovating a home, to ensure that the attic space is optimal for ventilation, that is why you should hire us for an in person attic inspection to see if this is a good fit for you.