Updated Nov 9, 2022
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Efficient air circulation throughout your attic is vital to prevent issues with moisture in your roof, among other common roofing system issues. While multiple roofing ventilation solutions are available today, not every option is suitable for each home. Roof ridge vents are one of these solutions – they work perfectly for some homes, but they might not be the best choice for every home.
This article reviews roof ridge vents to help you decide whether they’re suitable for your home, so continue reading to learn more.
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A roof ridge vent is a slot that runs parallel to the peak of your roof and serves as an exhaust, allowing air out of the attic space. These vents are particularly popular, as they’re unnoticeable and blend seamlessly into your roof and shingles.
To install a roof ridge vent, contractors cut a slot in the roof deck alongside the roof’s peak under the soffits and eaves. The ridge exhaust vent fits into the new air slot, creating an exit point that promotes adequate ventilation. An attic ventilation system requires an air intake and exhaust to work correctly, and a ridge vent covers these bases.
Unfortunately, roof ridge vents don’t work for every home, as they require plenty of ridge lines to install a vent. If the ridge line isn’t long enough, installing a ridge vent might not offer enough ventilation for the attic ventilation system to function properly.
Before you commit to a specific type of roof vent system, it doesn’t hurt to weigh the pros and cons of your options. The chart below outlines the pros and cons of ridge vents to help you decide if they’re the right solution for your home.
For many homeowners, a roof ridge vent is a perfect way to keep the attic ventilation system working correctly. These vents offer a range of benefits, from improved energy efficiency to reduced indoor air pollution.
For example, roof ridge vents can help balance the temperature in your home. These vents help balance the exchange of hot and cold air in your home. As the hot air rises through your home in the summer months, the vent allows it to escape. This helps even out the temperature of your home. In the winter, the vents use the pressure of cooler air to trap warm air inside your home, which can help you save on heating bills.
Rodents, insects, and other pest infiltration can damage your attic, so selecting a roof vent that prevents them from entering is essential. Ridge vents are long, narrow, and high on the roof’s peak, so access and entering are tricky for these pests.
On top of that, ridge vents offer natural air movement through your attic. You won’t need additional systems to keep air circulating, as wind moving over your roof helps pull out hot, moist air. Changes in air pressure keep drawing fresh air through the underside of the vent and pushing warm air out, helping maintain consistent and natural airflow in the space.
Maintaining a regular cycle of fresh air throughout your home can be incredibly beneficial for the air quality in your home. Many folks spend the majority of their days inside their homes, which causes air pollution inside the space. As the ridge roof vent continues drawing in the fresh air and pushing out old air, air pollution levels in your home may drop.
In addition to their usefulness, these vents are hard to see from the ground level. They blend seamlessly into your roof, allowing you to reap the benefits of an effective ventilation system without having a clunky, noticeable vent on the roof.
While ridge vents can be the ideal ventilation solution for some homes, they’re not the best fit in every case. In some homes, ridge vents might not be enough to offer adequate ventilation. This isn’t a practical solution if there’s no air movement toward the vents.
In addition, these vents may leak during heavy rain, as the rain could blow right into the vents, dampening your attic. So, if your area regularly receives heavy rain and strong wind, these vents might not be your best option.
Or, if you live in a warm climate, this option might not be ideal, as these systems work best in cooler climates. Generally, the cooler your environment, the more beneficial an attic ventilation system is. While you could install this type of ventilation system in a warm climate, other options are cheaper and more effective.
Ridge vents tend to be pricier than other forms of ventilation systems. They usually cost considerably more upfront, so they might not be suitable for every budget.
Since budgeting is often an essential part of home improvement projects, it’s important to consider the average costs of each ventilation system option. The table below outlines potential costs associated with roof ridge vents, so you’ll know what to expect from an installation.
|Average Cost Range||$300 to $650|
|Average Cost (General)||$500|
|High-End Cost||$2,000 (multiple units)|
|Cost Per Linear Foot||$2 to $3|
Every home is different, so the cost to install a ridge vent varies from one project to the next. Several factors can affect the cost of your ridge vent, including the following:
The size of your roof plays a significant role in the final cost of your roof ridge vent. Larger projects typically cost more, as extra materials and labor are necessary to complete the project. So, if you have a larger home, you will likely pay more than someone with a smaller home.
Some roof vent installations are trickier than others, especially those with complex layouts or steep slopes. Complicated roof vent installations generally cost more than straightforward projects, so you can expect to pay more if your home has a tricky roof.
While labor costs are often reasonably straightforward (the longer it takes, the more it’ll cost), some areas have higher labor costs than others. You can usually expect to pay more if you live in a larger city with a high cost of living, although this may vary from one location to the next.
If you are getting a new roof, your roofing contractor may give you a discount on a ridge vent along with your roof replacement. They can also provide other ventilation products or a different type of vent.
|Roof Ridge Vent Type||Summary|
|Ridge Vent With Baffle||These vents feature a baffle integrated into the design, which helps actively move air through your attic.|
|Ridge Vent Without Baffle||These vents don’t have a baffle and instead rely on passive airflow to maintain circulation throughout your attic.|
These ridge vents are one of the most common types of attic ventilation systems. They feature a long cut in the roof that extends parallel to the roof’s peak across the entire ridgeline. They have a baffle consisting of chutes that offer an airflow channel. The baffle helps move air through your attic, serving as an active form of ventilation.
Some vents feature a filter, which helps keep insects, debris, snow, and rain out of the attic. Those that don’t feature a filter can allow these to enter the attic, creating issues in the long run.
These roof ridge vents serve as a passive ventilation system. Like their baffle-featuring counterpart, these vents are cut into the ridge of the roof, extending the entire length of the ridge and under the roof line.
However, as the name implies, these vents don’t have a baffle. These vents can create issues for your home, as they may allow debris, snow, rain, insects, and other pests to enter your attic.
Once you decide on a ridge vent system to ventilate your attic, it’s time to install the new system. While you can install the vent(s) yourself (it is doable for experienced DIYers), hiring a roofer or contractor might make more sense. Even if you follow the installation instructions, it may still be too hard for you, and you might not have the tools to complete the project.
To buy a ladder and the necessary tools (if you don’t have them), you could end up paying more than you would for the complete professional installation. So, if you don’t have a ladder, circular saw, or fall protection kit, it might be best to leave this project to a professional to ensure proper ventilation.
Properly ventilating your roof is essential for a properly functioning attic and roof. While air circulation is vital to reduce heating and cooling costs, poor ventilation can lead to moisture-related issues, including rot, mold, mildew, or a build-up of moisture.
Unfortunately, ridge vents are prone to leaking, especially during heavy rain and high winds. While they usually don’t allow much water through the attic when properly installed, they can be problematic when there are issues with the installation (using the wrong nails, not overlapping sections, not under the peak of the roof, etc.).
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