3 min read

What are the Different Kinds of Roof Vents?

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If you haven’t noticed what kind of vents are on your roof, take a moment next time you walk outside or are in your attic to look for them. 

Maybe you don’t know what you’re looking at or for, but that’s why we wrote this blog! 

Attic ventilation is super important to get right, for a variety of reasons, ultimately determining how much life you’ll get out of your roof. 

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of attic ventilation, the different kinds of vents, and talk about why it’s so important. 

Let’s get started! 

What is Attic Ventilation?

A diagram showing the correct way to ventilate an attic._WebP

Attics are ventilated by allowing for warm, older air to exit the roof, and letting colder, fresh air come into the attic. This is very often done by placing intake vents near the bottom of the roof, and exhaust vents near or at the top of the roof. As cold air comes in through the intake, the warm air will exit, and establish the airflow needed to keep your attic properly ventilated. 

What are the different types of attic vents?

Intake vents

Intake vents should be placed at or near the bottom of your roof, as you want the coolest air possible coming into the attic as the hot air rises. 

Soffit Vents

Soffit Vent_WebP

For an intake, soffit vents might be the most effective. They let air in through the underside of your roof’s soffit, which hangs over the edge of the home. This means that your fresh air is coming in through the lowest point possible on the roof, which means that it’s the coolest it will be as it heats up and rises. 

Drip edge vent

drip edge vent_WebP

A drip edge vent functions similarly to a soffit vent, but they aren’t as efficient at getting cool air in, so they aren’t the preferred option. 

They are a bit harder to install than soffit vents and are primarily only used on homes without enough soffit space to use other kinds of ventilation there. 

Exhaust Vents 

Exhaust vents are designed to let warm air out of the roof, and they should be placed at or near the top of your roof to allow the maximum amount of warm air out as possible. 

Ridge Vents

ridge vent on the top of a gray shingle roof_WebP-2

Ridge vents are becoming the most commonly used type of exhaust vent. For homes that have enough ridge-line for it, they do a great job of letting out warm air because they provide an opening at the highest point where that warm air collects. They also have a very low profile and don’t attract much attention to themselves. 

Box Vents (Roof Louvers)

box vent_WebP

Box vents, also known as roof louvers, are also a fairly low profile way to let out a solid amount of air in homes that don’t have enough ridge line for a ridge vent. These can typically be placed in an inconspicuous area of your house to avoid affecting the look of your roof from the front. 

Gable Vents

gable vent_WebP

Gable vents are installed at the peak of the roof’s gable, which is a part of the wall where two slanted roof sections meet. They are good for homes that don’t have a ton of other options for space, and homeowners that don’t want their vents on top of the roof. 

Turbine Vent

turbine vent_WebP

Turbine vents operate by harnessing the wind to actively suck out the air in the space below it. The wind will need to be blowing at least a few miles per hour to operate it effectively, but once the turbine gets spinning it can move some serious air. 

Powered Vents

powered roof vent_WebP

These vents are typically powered through your homes electricity, or through a solar panel attached to it. Powered roof vents work by using a fan to pull out the hot air near the top of the attic, and out the roof. They are some of the more expensive vents to install and operate, as they require electricity and are faced with the same issues as any other mechanical device: repairs. 

Why is attic ventilation so important? 

Attic ventilation is one of the most important things we can do for our roofs, so it’s imperative that we get it right. But why is it so important anyway? 

If your attic isn’t ventilated in the right places, or isn’t ventilated enough, the heat that comes from the sun beating down on your roof will cause the air to become stale and warm, heating up roof more than it should be and wearing out your roof’s shingles. 

In the winter, the warm air from our home will rise, get trapped and start to condense against the cold roof, causing water damage to the roof decking, and your roof’s wooden frame. If left for too long, that water damage can really mess up the structure of your roof, and be a massive headache to repair. 

On top of all that, having your attic properly ventilated can help your home’s energy efficiency, as it won’t be heating up the space below it, and your air conditioning won’t have to work quite as hard. 

Want to know if your attic is properly ventilated? 

So now that you know how important it is, and what kinds of vents you have on your home, you’re probably wondering how to know if your attic is properly ventilated. This can be tricky without knowing exactly what is on your roof, but most manufacturers have information about their products, and how much ventilation they provide, on their websites. 

If you need some help figuring out if your attic is properly ventilated, reach out to us using the Contact Us button below! 

We’ve replaced and repaired over 15,000 roofs in the Triangle area, and have been in business for over 30 years, so whatever your roofing project requires, we are happy to help! 

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