Roof Vents: The Best Ventilation Systems For Residential Roofing

Read all about roof ventilation systems -- and how they help your home’s efficiency!

Why does a roof need vents?

All roofing systems need vents to let hot air escape and allow fresh air to circulate. Why? Hot air and appliance exhaust rise within a home, getting trapped in the attic. Without a way to escape, built up hot air and exhaust can damage the layers of your roofing system; excessive heat degrades the materials, and the accumulation of humidity causes mold, mildew, and further degradation. Reduced shingle life, mold or built up moisture in the attic space, and high utility bills are all signs your roof’s ventilation system isn’t functioning properly.

Types of Roof Vents

Roof Vent Detail Images

What is a ridge vent?

A ridge vent is a type of roofing vent installed along the uppermost crest of a roof. A ridge vent allows hot air to escape from attic space, and the position of a ridge vent creates a vacuum effect on escaping air. Ridge vents are an efficient, continuous style of residential ventilation. When installed by a professional, ridge vents are a reliable and streamlined way to provide continuous ventilation to a home, and to evenly distribute ventilation across the entire roof area.

What is a turbine vent?

Wind turbine vents are rotating, wind-powered vents that penetrate the roof. Much like energy turbines, these vents are powered by the air, and draw out stagnant heat and humidity in the attic as they rotate. Wind turbine vents do require wind speed of at least 5 mph to function properly, so this type of vent may not work in all regions.

What is a box vent?

Box vents are similar to wind turbine vents; they are mounted on the roof and allow heat to escape. Like the other types of ventilation listed, box vents work best with soffit vents; the soffit vents draw fresh air in, which pushes the hot air out through the box vent. Box vents are typically lower in profile than wind turbine vents; this design subtlety is important for some homeowners.

What are gable vents?

Gable vents appear much like shuttered windows, and are built into a home’s gables in the attic walls. Gable vents allow air to flow in and out, and are typical in homes that also have a gable fan installed. The combination of gable vents with a gable fan allows for excellent airflow through the attic space.

What are soffit vents?

Soffit vents are continuous intake vents, meaning they draw fresh air into the attic space. Soffit vents are installed in the eaves of a home, or the underside of a roof’s overhang. These vents are typically metal, constructed with a perforated-style pattern of holes, much like a window screen. This style of soffit prevents rodents, birds, and other animal pests from getting into the home’s attic. Soffit vents work best in conjunction with an exhaust vent that lets the hot air out.

Which roof vents are the best?

A home’s regional climate is the most important determining factor when choosing a ventilation system for your roof. High winds or areas that are prone to hurricanes, for example, can force turbine vents to spin far too fast, causing roof damage. An experienced roofing contractor can guide a homeowner through the selection process and help them make the best choice for their roof. Ultimately, roof vents are key in preventing premature aging of a roofing system, and to ensure that each layer functions properly. A well-vented roof results in lower energy bills and better temperature control inside the home, as well.