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How Important Are Baffles in Your Attic?

The Importance of Baffles

Well-insulated attics need airflow, as much as that might sound counterintuitive. Airflow for your attic comes from outside your home and pushed up underneath the roof and out of a vent. The baffle provides a space for that air to flow without being blocked by insulation. How common is this? It is one of the most common issues found during home inspections.

How do I know I need baffles?

The simplest way is to look. They should be towards the end of the roof on all sides of the house. They are typically pink or beige foam and are stapled to the roof joists. But, getting up into the attic is usually not everybody’s favorite activity, so you can look at your roofing nails for more clues.

How do roofing nails show proper air circulation?

The nails that are holding your shingles, penetrate your roof deck and show through into the attic. If you shine a flashlight on them, you can see if there are signs of proper airflow.

If you see dark circles or signs of water, that means that there is not enough sufficient airflow in your attic and missing baffles may be the culprit. Wait until a particularly cold day and do this – reach up and touch one of the nails. Is it wet? If it’s wet, the issue is still present. If it’s not wet, the issue may have been resolved in the past, but should still be something to keep an eye on.

How difficult is it to fix?

The good part is, baffles are cheap and easy to install. You can usually install them yourself, keeping in mind that you should be careful when performing any work in your attic. One wrong step can send you down through your drywall.

Baffles are made to slide in between insulation and the roof deck and be stapled on the side. Be sure to slide the baffle far enough in that they get around any insulation.

Another good item to note: you must have proper vents such as an edge vent or soffit vent as well as box vents or a ridge vent for this to work. Baffles alone will not solve your ventilation problem if you don’t have anywhere for the air to come from or flow to.

Why would baffles be missing?

The wind can blow up through the soffit and push insulation or baffles around, causing blockages.

What type do I need?

Manufacturers make them in 14.5-inches and also 22.5-inch sizes to allow for 16-inch and 24-inch on center rafter spacing. Baffles usually come in 4 feet long increments and can easily be trimmed with a razor if necessary.

If you have questions about your attic airflow or have seen some roof nail condensation spots, be sure to call the Pros at Pro Home Improvement for some help at 888-776-1998 or visit our estimates page to schedule an appointment. As always, the estimate is free but the advice is priceless.