A Guide to Common Types of Roofing Vents

Proper ventilation helps prevent damage to the roof caused by trapped heat and moisture, which makes vents a key part of a properly-built roofing system. In today’s post, The Great American Roofing Company takes a look at the roof vents that you’d typically find on a roof.

Why Do Roofs Need Vents?

To better understand the purpose of roof vents, let us first take a quick look at how roof ventilation works. Since warm and humid air naturally rises, they end up accumulating at the highest point of a building, which, in a sloped roof, would be the attic. Trapped heat and moisture in the attic can cause problems such as moisture damage to the roof framing and mold growth. During the winter season, it can contribute to the formation of ice dams.

A standard roof ventilation system has exhaust vents located at the roof’s highest point and expels warm and humid air. The resulting difference in air pressure creates airflow that pulls cool and dry air through the soffit vents located at the soffits, or the roof’s lowest points.

The Different Types of Roof Vents

Since soffit vents are pretty much built the same way, the following are the different types of exhaust vents.

  • Ridge vents. Ridge vents are the most common type of passive vent, and also the simplest. To prevent moisture infiltration, roofers install ridge caps over the vents.

  • Box vents. These are louvered vents that work like ridge vents, but are covered by raised enclosures made of stainless steel or aluminum. To reduce their impact on the house’s curb appeal, box vents are typically installed on roof slopes facing towards the back.

  • Turbine vents. Also known as whirlybirds or metal pot vents, these structures also use passive ventilation but are far more efficient, as they can release hundreds of cubic feet of air per minute. However, many people find the onion-shaped turbines unflattering.

  • Gable vents. Some roofs have vents at the gables that also serve as decoration.

  • Powered vents. As opposed to passive vents listed above, powered or mechanical vents use exhaust fans to forcibly vent air out of the attic. To reduce their impact on your utility bills, choose solar-powered options.

To determine the best type of vents for your roof, schedule a free consultation with The Great American Roofing Company. Give us a call at (201) 825-2955, or fill out our contact form to get started.