So, you’re replacing your roof. That’s awesome. Your contractor advises you to have a ridge vent installed as well, to lengthen the life of the shingles or to maintain your shingle’s warranty.
Are they just blowing you smoke? Or are ridge vents as important as they say? More importantly, what is a ridge vent and how does it work?
This and more questions answered. Read on.
What is a ridge vent?
A ridge vent is a non-mechanical vent that runs the entire length of the peak of your home. It is essentially a “mini roof” over a 2-3 inch slit in the peak of your roof. To work properly, a ridge vent system should be accompanied by soffit vents on either side of the roof’s edge. Compared to other roof vents, they blend well with the profile of the roof and are hardly noticeable.
What does a ridge vent do?
Like other roof vents, ridge vents function to allow rising hot air to release from the attic. Cool air enters the attic from the soffit vents, constantly moving fresh air under the roof deck as the hot, stale air is allowed to escape from the top. This circulation of air keeps your roof “cool” or as close to the outside temperature as possible.
Releasing this hot air extends the life of your shingles, prevents ice damming, lowers cooling costs, and regulates temperature extremes (like a cold main floor and a hot upper floor).
What other types of roof vents are there?
Other types of roof vents include box vents, turtle vents, and gable vents. Box vents are essentially a square hole cut in your roof. With the help of soffit vents, they allow hot air to escape the attic. Usually, you need more than one determined by your roof’s square footage and they are visible from the ground.
Turtle vents are non-mechanical curved vents (yep, like a turtle shell) that allow hot air to escape the attic space. If not used with soffit vents, they typically only release air where they are installed.
Gable vents are rectangles vents generally found on the front or sides of a house, below the roof ridge. Similar to a turtle vent, gable vents don’t really work without the help of a soffit vent and even then, generally only let some air escape, not all.
Should I replace my current roof vents with a ridge vent?
If your home already has box, turtle, or gable vents at the time of your roof replacement, you may be wondering if you need to install a ridge vent. The truth is, most experts agree that though other roof vents allow some ventilation (which is better than none), ridge vents are the most efficient and cost-effective roof ventilation system around.
Our recommendation is yes. Especially if you are installing a new roof, you want to extend its life as long as possible. A ridge vent system is the best way to do that.
Are all ridge vents the same?
Not all ridge vents are created equal. See what products your contractor uses and do some research. Some are more efficient, some more visually appealing, and some more expensive. Ask questions and for sample photos before you commit to anything.
How much is this going to cost? Is it worth it?
The average cost of having a ridge vent installed by itself is about $400-$500. If you have your ridge vent installed during your roof replacement, the price may be lower. All prices depend on your location.
Most professionals will agree that energy savings and roof repair savings outweigh the cost of installing a ridge vent. Of course, the final call is up to you.