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What are the Different Types of Roof Ventilation?

Andrew Kirmayer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Roof ventilation, also known as attic ventilation, comes in various forms. Comprised of intake and exhaust vents, the basic roof ventilation system can be found in a few forms, including turbine vents, low-profile vents, and ridge vents that are specially designed to accommodate specific roof shapes. Energy-saving solar-powered vents and skylights are also available.

An important roofing element, the ventilation system lowers the difference in temperature between the attic and outdoor air. Moisture and heat are removed from the attic, putting less strain on the roof and helping to make roofing materials last much longer. Accumulated moisture can cause enough damage that roof replacement may eventually be required. Parts of the roof and items stored in an attic can easily be damaged in temperatures up to 150°F (65.5°C), that occur within improperly ventilated attics.

One type of roof ventilation is the turbine vent. A roof turbine, known also as a rotary vent, has a spinning top that serves as the exhaust mechanism. It is affected by wind, but the wind doesn’t have to be blowing for the unit to work. This type of vent is high profile and, while considered to be very effective, is not always a desirable choice.

While the roof turbine has a more protruding design, there are various choices for low-profile roof ventilation. These are generally less expensive and are available in materials such as steel, plastic, and copper. Various shapes and styles accommodate different roofing types and design choices.

Another form of roof ventilation is ridge ventilation, which is suitable for peaked roof systems. This kind of system is composed of a vent and ridge cap that install along a slot that is cut down the roof ridge, forming a continuous ventilation system. It can have a shingled-over design to make it match the shingles on the roof, while there is also a system with a single-piece vent and ridge cap that installs along the roof ridge.

More modern forms of roof ventilation include the solar attic fan, which is basically a vent fan with a solar panel attached to it. Power and cooling costs are saved when using such a system. Skylights also provide natural light that can warm the home inexpensively, and include vents that can offer sufficient roof ventilation. Depending on the type of roof you have and your stylistic preferences, there are usually a few choices to consider for roof ventilation.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Andrew Kirmayer
By Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer, a freelance writer with his own online writing business, creates engaging content across various industries and disciplines. With a degree in Creative Writing, he is skilled at writing compelling articles, blogs, press releases, website content, web copy, and more, all with the goal of making the web a more informative and engaging place for all audiences.
Discussion Comments
By mobilian33 — On Oct 27, 2014

I need a roof ventilation option that does not let animals enter my attic. After finding a snake in my attic last year, and having squirrels up there the year before that, I want to close off the vents I have in the attic now. The vents are on the side of the house and somehow the animals manage to get in through them and spend the winter in my attic where they can stay warm.

By Sporkasia — On Oct 27, 2014

@Feryll - If you are not using your attic as living space then lowering the temperature enough to protect the items you store there and to prevent the growth of mold shouldn't be too difficult. I once owned a house that also had a hot attic. As soon as you walked up there the heat overwhelmed you.

We were able to install a couple attic fans that pumped out the hot air and the difference was unbelievable. The attic vent fans are not very expensive, and installing them is also not expensive, so we were able to avoid potentially expensive and damaging problems like mold and not break the bank doing this.

By Feryll — On Oct 26, 2014

Our house is almost 100 years old, and it had been vacant for almost a year when we purchased it, so as you can imagine there were some issues, some things that needed immediate attention. One of the places we have had to concentrate many of our efforts is the attic.

In addition to having a couple small leaks, the attic does not have a good ventilation system and it gets unbearably hot up there during the summer. This makes the space a perfect environment for mold to grow and the extreme temperatures also make it more difficult for us to keep the house cool and not spend a fortune on energy bills.

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer, a freelance writer with his own online writing business, creates engaging content across various...
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