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What is a Roof Ridge Vent? (& The Other Types of Roof Vents)

October 18th, 2021 | 5 min. read

What is a Roof Ridge Vent? (& The Other Types of Roof Vents)

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Roof vents come in different shapes and sizes. Because of this, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. 

One of the most popular types of roof vents we see today is a ridge vent. Even with its popularity, most homeowners don’t even know what a ridge vent is. 

How can you possibly decide if it’s the right type of vent for your roof replacement without knowing what it is? 

Here at Bill Ragan Roofing, we want you to have all the information you need to make the right purchasing decision. That’s why we’ll be using the knowledge gathered over our 30 plus years in the roofing industry to help you understand what a ridge vent is. 

After learning what a ridge vent is, keep going to learn about your other roof vent options. 

What is a roof ridge vent?

A ridge vent is cut into the ridge of a roof and runs the entire length of the ridge. Ridge vents are extremely popular because they’re not noticeable from the ground. 

roof ridge vent

There are two types of ridge vents, but the specific type your roof has depends on your attic’s ventilation system

For an active ventilation system, there’s a ridge vent with a baffle (chutes that provide a channel for airflow in your attic). For a passive ventilation system, there’s a ridge vent without a baffle (no chutes for airflow). 

While both do the job, a ridge vent without a baffle allows debris, rain, snow, insects, etc., to enter your attic. This is just something to keep in mind when choosing the type of vent you want for your roof replacement. 

However, we always recommend a ridge vent with a baffle to help homeowners avoid any problems. If you’re seriously considering a ridge vent, you can expect to pay around $7.00 per linear foot for labor and materials. 

The other types of active and passive roof vents

Now you know what a ridge vent is. But a ridge vent is just one type of vent you’ll see on roofs today. 

Let’s get to the other types of roof vents for both ventilation systems. 

Active roof vents

Active vents work by creating a drawing effect that pulls the air in with the intake vents and pushes it back out through the exhaust vents. Other than ridge vents with a baffle, there are 3 common types of active roof vents: turbine, power, and solar-powered vents.

Turbine vents

Turbine vents (also known as whirlybirds) work by using a drawing effect through convection (heat rising) to move the air in your attic around even when there is no wind.

turbine vent

As long as it’s installed properly, the air in your attic is moved around 10-12 times per hour. Because turbine vents have slats on them and are open-aired to the attic, there is a misconception that rain, snow, and insects can enter your home through them. 

However, they’re designed to avoid this unless the vent is damaged.

Power vents 

Power vents are circular-shaped vents with very low profiles you see on most roofs.

power vent

They’re installed near the ridge (top) of the roof and use electricity to pull the hot air from the attic. During the winter, you’ll want to run your power vents with a humidistat.

Otherwise, the humidity will build up in your attic, cause condensation, and shorten your roof’s lifespan. Be aware, power vent motors tend to fail, so be prepared to replace them at some point.

Solar powered vents

Solar powered vents are like power vents, but they use the sun as their power source.

Solar powered vent-compressed

These vents sound great from an energy saver standpoint, but the vent turns off when the solar powered battery is charging. The problem is that the solar panel won’t hold a charge long enough to run the vent all day due to the power needed to run the motor. 

So while the battery is recharging, you may wind up with your air conditioner running more, which will cause your energy bill to go up.

Passive roof vents

Passive vents use the natural forces of nature, such as wind and convection, to move the air through your attic. These vents have no moving parts, create no noise, and are virtually maintenance-free. 

Other than ridge vents without a baffle, the common types of passive roof vents are static and gable end vents.

Static vents

Static vents look like little boxes on your roof.

box vent

They work by allowing the heat to escape out of the roof through the convection method.

This means as the heat in your attic rises, the hot air is pushed out through the vents. You might also hear static vents called turtle vents or box vents.

Gable end vents

A gable end vent is a wooden vent installed on the exterior wall of your attic below where the two slopes of your roof meet. This vent relies on the wind coming from the outside to move the air in and out of your attic.

3 reasons why your attic’s ventilation is important to your roof and home

Now you know the roof vents you’ll see on most homes today. While your attic’s ventilation system is a key factor when deciding on which roof vent to choose, you also need to consider the look. 

If you don’t want to see the vents from the ground, a ridge vent is a great option. If you like the way turbine vents look, then go with them. 

No matter what kind of roof vent you choose, it means nothing if your attic isn’t properly ventilated. Without proper ventilation, you will have a multitude of costly problems and headaches in the future. 

That’s why every homeowner needs to know why proper attic ventilation is important to a roof and also a home. Because of its importance, we wrote another article breaking down the 3 reasons your attic needs to be properly ventilated.    

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in the Nashville area understand the importance of their attic’s ventilation system. That’s why one of the first things we check for during a roof inspection is proper ventilation. 

To learn how crucial your attic’s ventilation system is, check out this article on 3 Reasons Why Proper Attic Ventilation Is Important to Your Roof and Home.

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