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Types of Roof Vents Compared (Pros & Cons)

January 5, 2023

6 minutes read

You may have noticed varied vents popping up or sitting on the roofs of residential and commercial buildings while walking around your neighborhood. Besides extending the lifespan of your roof, vents come in handy in improving roof ventilation, making your home comfortable, and regulating your energy bills.

However, different roof vent types are more efficient than others, but each type performs the fundamental function of venting stale and hot air from your attic and allowing in the fresh air.

Therefore, if you seek to replace or install a new roof, it is essential to find the type of vent that best improves roof ventilation and matches your house’s design. 

Read on to learn about common roof vents, including their pros and cons.

Common Exhaust Roof Vent Types

As the name suggests, exhaust roof vents allow air to escape from the attic into the atmosphere. These vent types are typically installed higher on the roof, often on the highest pitches where hot air usually concentrates.

Here are the most common types of exhaust roof vents:

Turbine Vents

roof ventilation turbine vent type

Turbine roof vents, also called whirlybirds, rely on wind to spin the bowl-shaped cowl. Once the vent is activated by wind, it creates a vacuum effect, which sucks out hot air from your roof attic. While turbine vents require wind to spin, the hot air from the attic is sufficient to activate it.

Pros

  • Affordable and easy to install
  • Highly efficient
  • Suitable for any property size
  • Take up small space

Cons

  • It may create undesirable noise
  • Regular maintenance
  • Not discrete

Solar Powered Vents

Solar-powered vents run on solar energy, where an electric fan with a motor is installed in the vent that pulls the hot and humid air. The additional mechanical force offered by these roof vents significantly improves roof ventilation, possibly saving you cash in the long term.

This roof vent type is best suited for areas that receive sufficient sunlight, with the efficiency varying depending on the weather. 

Pros

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Effective attic temperature regulation
  • Minimum maintenance costs
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • Greater capital cost
  • Requires direct sunlight to operate
  • It may cause roof leaks

Ridge Vents

roof ventilation ridge vent type

Ridge vents are exhaust vents installed at the roof’s peak and run the entire length of the ridge, usually the meeting point of the two sloping roof parts.

The position of the ridge vents is strategic to trap the wind passing over the roof, which aids in continuously expelling hot air and moisture from your roof attic. When installing this roof vent type, an air slit is cut out of the roof’s ridge, which is replaced by the ridge vent.

Pros

  • Visually appealing
  • Curtails pests in your vent system
  • Minimizes indoor pollution
  • Discrete and complements your roof system

Cons

  • It may pose a leaking risk
  • Only suitable for sloping roofs
  • Have a relatively higher initial cost

Power Vents

Power vents are electrically-driven fans that help remove moist and hot air from your attic. The vents are installed near the ridge, where hot air typically builds up.

Most power vents come with humidistats for winter, helping to get rid of humidity build-up, which can shorten your roof’s lifespan.

Pros

  • Extremely effective
  • Relatively quiet
  • It may include adjustable thermostats
  • Not reliant on the weather

Cons

  • High installation cost
  • Regular inspection and maintenance
  • May increase energy costs

Box Vents

roof ventilation box vent type

Box vents, also known as flats vents, are usually installed near the roof line. The vents are considered static since they don’t feature moving parts and exclusively rely on natural convection to remove hot air from your attic. 

Therefore, as the temperature increases in the attic, hot air is expelled via the vents.

Pros

  • Economical and easy to install
  • Relatively discrete
  • Available in various styles
  • It fits all roof designs

Cons

  • Relies on convections to be effective
  • Must install more units to get preferred results
  • You may require extra fans

Common Intake Roof Vent Types

While exhausting hot air from your attic is essential for your roof’s longevity, achieving it isn’t easy. Hot air won’t leave your roof until it is forced out.

Nevertheless, you can allow cooler air into your attic and improve roof ventilation through intake roof vents, replacing the hot air that exits via exhaust vents.

Here are the common intake roof vent types.

Gable Vent

roof ventilation gable vent type

Gable vents are installed on the gable, the triangular part that supports the roof. The vents are available in various shapes and designs, supporting cross or horizontal ventilation. However, gable vents can also act as air outlets depending on wind flow direction.

Pros

  • Touch of design
  • Relatively affordable and easier to install
  • Low maintenance costs
  • It keeps your attic cool

Cons

  • Limited to gable-style roofs
  • Relies on the outside wind to cool your attic
  • Somewhat outdated

Soffit Vent

roof ventilation soffit vent type

Soffits are the most popular intake vents installed on your eaves. Various soffits vents come in different shapes and styles, but they all feature small holes to allow air into your attic.

You can opt for single or continuous soffit vents depending on your needs.

Pros

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Most effective at facilitating convection
  • Affordable and easy to install
  • No worries about leaks

Cons

  • Vulnerable to animal damage
  • It may suck moisture into the attic
  • Effective if paired with other exhaust vent types

Over Fascia Vents

Over fascia vents are well-fitting alternatives to soffits when your roof system lacks eaves. These intake vents are installed above the fascia board and gutter beneath the first row of shingles. 

The primary concept of fascia vents is to allow cooler air to enter the attic when the wind strikes the roof.

Pros

  • Suits hip roof designs
  • Affordable and easy to install
  • Minimum disruption to roof design detail

Cons

  • Covers limited space
  • Limited airflow
  • Relatively less effective

Bottom Line

It is no secret that proper roof ventilation offers extensive benefits to your roof and indoor environment quality. Now that you know the common roof vent types, you can choose the best fit for your needs.

However, regardless of the type of roof vent used, the most crucial consideration is that your attic is adequately ventilated. Otherwise, you will incur costly roof repairs, replacements, and hassles that come with poor ventilation in the future. 

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