What You Need to Know About Roofing Ventilation Systems
August , 2022 | 6 min. read
By Kevin Mills
Have you ever looked at the roof on your home and wondered “what is that strange spinning fixture?” If you have, congratulations! You’ve just discovered your whirlybird roofing ventilation system. The good news here is that you have a system. Now, if you’re someone who’s thought “hey, why don’t I have that?” you either A: don’t have a roof ventilation system or B: have a different type of system not as prominent as a whirlybird.
Ventilation system? Whirlybird? We know, this probably sounds like gibberish to you. Bare with us, as we’ll explain all of the different types of roof vent systems in this article. At RoofCrafters, we’ve been installing and repairing vent systems on residential roofs for nearly 30 years, so it’s safe to say that we’ve got a knack for this sort of thing.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering what you need to know about roofing ventilation systems. You’re in the right place because, in this article, we’ll explain what exactly a roof vent system is, the different types of vents on the market that RoofCrafters installs, and why they’re important to have. Let’s jump right in!
What is a Roof Ventilation System?
Roofing ventilation systems are designed around the fact that anywhere you go, if you’re on Earth, that is, warm air rises. The same thing happens within your home. This is the reason why basements are generally cooler, and the upstairs rooms and attic tend to be warmer.
During the heat of the summer months, the sun causes the air within your attic to become extremely hot. Your air conditioning inside the home will help to cool this hot air down. Vice versa, in the winter months, the cool air trapped in your attic will be heated by the temperature from the inside of your home.
During either season, a good ventilation system will allow the cool air, either coming naturally from outside or inside from your AC, to enter the attic near the eaves (edge or overhang of your roof) and exit near the peak. Traditionally, some of the vent areas will be lower, and the rest will be higher.
Ultimately, the goal of your ventilation system is to make sure the temperature, as well as the humidity levels outside, match those that occur within the attic space. Not only is this important for your home as a whole, but think about the longevity of your beloved decorations you keep stowed away up there. The last thing you’d want is Grandma Carol’s 80-year-old angel figurines that never see the light of day to melt in the heat of August, right? Okay, don’t answer that. You get the point.
What Are the Different Types of Roof Vents?
There are many different types of roofing ventilation systems on the market. The vents that RoofCrafters works with specifically are called:
- Ridge vents. These types of vents are installed on the peak of a roof. They help to provide continuous and uniform exhaust ventilation at the highest portion of the attic and are designed to help resist heavy and wind-driven rain.
- Off ridge vents. Off ridge vents are not only UV-resistant, but they’re a static system as well. This type of system is suitable for installation on sloped roofs.
- Gable vents. Gable vents are usually installed on the exterior wall of your attic, and unlike the other venting systems, they’re meant to be seen. They add an architectural element to your home and create the proper air circulation needed.
- Mechanical vents. As the example of the whirlybird that was mentioned above, mechanical vents use the power of the wind to help remove excess heat and moisture from your attic.
- Power vents. Power vents use your homes electricity to power the fan. Or solar power fans are available to provide the attic circulation and ventilation needed.
The ventilation system that you have already installed, or needs to be installed in the future is going to depend on the type of roof you have, as well as the square footage of your attic. A professional roofing contractor will conduct a thorough inspection of your attic and roof and help you make the ultimate decision. Or feel free to use the GAF ridge vent calculator to determine the amount of ventilation needed for your house.
Why is a Ventilation System Important?
Not only are vent systems mandatory for the sake of warranties, but they’re also important for several different reasons. These reasons include:
First and foremost, a ventilation system is important for the overall longevity of your roof. We’re talking majorly important. If you have asphalt shingles installed on your roof and neglect to install a vent system along with it, your roof will not last you 15 to 20 years.
Without proper ventilation, your attic will become so hot during the summer months that your shingles will literally begin to cook. Not only will you have to dish out more money for a new roof installation, but this could potentially start a fire. Homeowner’s insurance will not cover these costs, as this would fall under neglect.
Heating and Cooling
Just how you and I breathe, your roof and attic need to do the same. Blistering heat and sunlight make your attic less than bearable. Grandma Carol’s figurines told us so. If your attic isn’t breathing properly, this hot air builds up after a while. All of this being said, there needs to be an “inhale where cooler air enters your attic through vents and pushes the warm air out. The comes the “exhale”, or the escape of the hot air.
With proper ventilation, not only will your attic space remain at a moderate temperature, but so will your entire home. When the temperature is controlled, you’ll be at a lesser risk of trapped moisture and everyone’s least favorite, roof leaks.
That’s right, proper ventilation is cost-efficient. Although it’s a bigger investment upfront, it will pay off in the long run, we promise. With a vent system, you won’t have to worry about paying as much on energy bills, as your attic would be leaking hot air throughout the rest of your home. Sayonara, hefty utility bills!
Not only will your AC not have to work as hard, but you’ll be saving the money you’d have to spend on attic and roof repairs if you didn’t have a ventilation system installed. All in all, save yourself stress and money and make sure your home has the proper ventilation system installed.
Should I Invest in a Roof Ventilation System?
Magic 8-ball says, “all signs point to yes”. Seriously, it’s so important. To recap, you’ll be saving money, your roof will last you years to come, and your entire home will be temperature controlled. What’s not to love? RoofCrafters resonates with the fact that vents can be a larger upfront investment, but we promise it’s worth it in the long run.
Coming into this article, you probably didn’t know what to expect. Unless you’re some type of roof-vent-guru. In that case, thanks for joining us. If you’re not a pro, at the very least you should be feeling pretty relieved that your roof ventilation system is hard at work, and you’re now well-rounded on the subject.
If you’re feeling even worse than before you read this article because you don’t have a properly functioning roof vent system, or own one at all, don’t panic! Take a deep breath, and drop RoofCrafters a line. One of our friendly experts will reach out to you to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out our article on roof ventilation basics.
My name is Kevin Mills, and I am the lead estimator for RoofCrafters’ Tampa division. I’m originally from Michigan, and I enjoy hunting, fishing, and spending any free time outdoors. What I’m most passionate about, though, is helping business owners and homeowners alike achieve their roofing goals, all while providing a seamless customer journey.