Changes in Bathroom Remodeling: Bathroom Ventilation 101

Bathroom ventilation

Avoiding Mold, Mildew & Mayhem

Throughout the winter months most species of outdoor molds go dormant. Nevertheless, you’ll find that your bathroom’s shower has the makings of an active biosphere—especially during the winter. Modern bathrooms have fans that remove the cause, which is moisture in the air. These fans are standard in bathroom renovations today, but many of these installations are counterproductive. Some contractors set the ventilation up incorrectly, causing moist air to spill into the attic. Before the codes changed, this was commonly done; many older bathrooms are still ventilated this way. You’ll find in these older bathrooms that the ceiling, windows and walls are damaged by mold. Cleaning and repainting are only short-term solutions; you’ll find this do-it-yourself maintenance to be both expensive and time consuming. If a bathroom’s ventilation system ends where your attic space begins, mold and mildew will ensue in more places than the shower.


Preventing Moisture Damage to Your Roof

If a bathroom has a serious mildew problem, despite there being a functioning fan on the ceiling, the external structure of the vent could be damaged or its exhaust hindered. Moisture starts to damage the under layer of roofing material inside your attic. Left untreated, this damage will threaten the integrity of your home’s structure (inside, and potentially outside). Likewise, if you notice waves or irregularities on an aged roof—on or around your bathroom’s air exhaust—you might be experiencing severe internal moisture damage. Older homes needing roof work, especially those with a misdirected or inefficient bathroom vent, are opportunities for homeowners. Taking the initiative to set aside some of your budget for installing a roof vent will save you countless hours and future expenses. Not only can outdated bathroom ventilation cause embarrassment or time-consuming maintenance, it can erode attics or put homeowners at risk of illness.


Now What? The Bathroom Ventilation Checklist

It’s essentially simple: a blocked, dysfunctional—or in some cases—a nonexistent vent, will result in mold, mildew and mayhem. Consult this checklist to insure that your bathroom’s ventilation is optimized:

  1.     Check the aspect ratio of your vent, ensure it’s a sufficient size for your bathroom
  2.     Search your attic for mold, rotting boards or other signs of moisture damage from a vent
  3.     Look at your roof, searching for dips, damage or obstructions that would hinder ventilation

For more information on moisture, condensation or bathroom remodeling, consult previous posts like:  “What is Humidity and How Does Moisture Get Trapped in Tight Spaces?