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Vented Vs. Unvented Attic: Which Is Better For Your Colorado Home?

image of a finished attic that's unvented

It is time to upgrade the attic in your home. Perhaps, it has been a neglected floor of the house, freezing in winter, sweltering in summer. Maybe you try not to go into the space as you know there are issues, and you’re not sure what to do about them. Like it or not, you are still paying for that space in utility bills, and you might even be missing out on usable floor space. You want to get organized to come up with a plan. One decision you will need to make is whether you want a vented vs unvented attic.

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What To Consider When Upgrading Your Attic

Planning for an upgrade to your attic should include ventilation and insulation. If you want to keep your options open for using that space, now or in the future, take the time to explore the differences between vented and unvented attics. The following points will help you have an informed discussion about your home with a reputable construction professional.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to the question about venting attics; in fact, some of the advantages overlap. However, there are several factors for you to consider in determining what is the best solution for your house. You will want to start with basic information.

Related Article: What Happens To The Old Insulation In The Walls When Adding Foam Insulation In Fort Collins?

Vented Attic

image of attic loft insulation and fiberglass

Traditionally, attics were vented and insulated with cellulose or fiberglass. For the ventilation system to be effective, there needs to be a balance of intake and exhaust vents. The intake vents are positioned in the soffits or eaves, and the exhaust is near the top of the roof line. Usually, this is a static system, relying on the natural movement of warm air rising. However, some buildings incorporate mechanical assists such as power vents.

Advantages of a Vented Attic

  • Lowering attic temperature
  • Reducing air conditioning costs
  • Removing excess moisture or condensation
  • Reducing the possibility of mold and mildew
  • Minimizing the potential for wood rot
  • Optimizing the life of the roofing
  • Many single warranties and local building codes require attic ventilation
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Disadvantages of a Vented Attic

  • Possible extreme temperature changes in the attic depending on outside air
  • Regular monitoring of vents to ensure they are working properly
  • Attic space is not conditioned, which limits use; e.g., no HVAC equipment

Unvented Attic

image of an attic upgrade

A growing awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency has popularized unvented attics. Energy audits always include an assessment of attic construction and insulation. This has led to a more comprehensive look at attic space and its potential. Many homeowners want to find ways to use the square footage more effectively.

Advantages of an Unvented Attic

  • Sealed house envelope, making it more energy efficient
  • Reduced energy bills, e.g. warmer in winter, cooler in summer, reducing furnace and HVAC load
  • Moisture resistance
  • Protection for any mechanical systems in the space
  • Prevention of ice dams that can ruin the roof
  • Additional options for using attic space, e.g. more living area, safe storage
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Disadvantages of an Unvented Attic

  • The increased expense to insulate properly
  • Possible voiding of shingles warranty
  • Possible non-compliance with building codes (although this is changing across the country)

Considerations for Making a Decision

In order to make the best decision possible about upgrading your attic, you will want more information in certain areas. Some of this has to come from professionals, and then there are more personal factors to consider.

  • Assessment of the attic as it is: You need to know what you are actually dealing with. This means bringing in an experienced local building company for an assessment of your attic. Most reputable companies will do this for free. A professional representative will come on-site, look the attic construction and layout, any vents, insulation, and HVAC systems, answer your questions, recommend options and prepare a quote for the work to be done.
  • Typical options: The two major options are usually whether or not to vent and what kind of insulation. Traditionally, vented attics have been insulated with cellulose or fiberglass. However, even if you are maintaining the vents, a change to spray foam insulation might be economically practical and more effective. In an unvented attic, spray form insulation provides a good air seal to make the entire home more energy efficient. This insulation also protects HVAC and duct systems in the attic.
  • Motivation: Another consideration for making a decision about an attic update is your motivation for doing it. There are typically three main reasons you are calling in the professionals.
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Related Article: Can Foam Insulation Be Painted In Fort Collins?

Typical Reasons For An Attic Update

Below we discuss some of the typical reasons homeowners opt to upgrade their attic space.

Energy Efficiency

efficiency rating depicting energy efficient home

First, you want energy efficiency. This has become a common phrase to apply to any building or renovation project in the last several years. You might even have taken advantage of government-subsidized energy audits or upgrades to your home.

Energy efficiency has an impact on:

  • Costs of utilities: Whether it is an upgrade to your attic vents and/or insulation, the monthly bills for electricity or heating fuel will certainly decrease.
  • Environment: Any savings on energy consumption mean a reduction on your carbon footprint.


Secondly, you want to safeguard your family’s health. Even if you do not want to do away with all attic vents, just upgrading them and installing appropriate insulation greatly decreases the possibility of mold and mildew. In turn, this maintains good air quality throughout the home, decreasing health hazards.

Household’s Comfort

A third motivator is usually the household’s comfort. Good insulation and seals prevent drafts and allow the HVAC systems to work to their optimal capacity. This means everyone is comfortable in a consistently conditioned environment.

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Next Steps for Attic Upgrade

You have now informed yourself, had serious discussions with professionals and know what is most important for your household. You have a quote in hand for options for an attic upgrade in your home. Make sure the quote includes all supplies, equipment, and labor and is good for at least 30 days. Take up to that 30 days to consider everything and then make a decision that is right for you and your family.

Vented Vs. Unvented Attic Fort Collins CO

When it concerns air sealing or upgrading your home’s insulation, consulting with a professional is always the best option. However, not all insulation contractors will offer the same quality of service and pricing. Always work with the best one in your area. Residents of Fort Collins and the neighboring area can call Ascend Construction for superior service.

Ascend Construction specializes in insulation removal and installation, air sealing, energy conservation, energy audits, whole-house fan installations, and much more! You can count on us to provide you with service that outshines the rest!

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Contact Ascend Construction for a free consultation today. We can provide you with practical solutions to address the problem areas in your Fort Collins home. All of our services are affordable, and our work is guaranteed. Click here to contact us, or click the button below to give Ascend Construction a call. We offer free, no-obligation, in-home consultations.

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Ascend Construction
301 S Howes St #1241
Fort Collins, CO, 80521
(970) 420-5495