Types of Roof Vents for Attic Ventilation


Turbine roof ventWhen most of us think of attics, we think of that unfinished, dusty, and humid space we keep our winter/summer clothes. But attics and the ventilation they get (or don’t get) are so much more than that. As a homeowner or commercial property owner, knowing that attics rely on ventilation systems to move air in and out of the space can help you protect against damage, increased costs, and moisture.

The type of roof you have, attic square footage, and local climate are all important facets to keep in mind when thinking about attic ventilation.  We are here to help you understand what’s available and how to properly utilize an attic ventilation system.

What is Roofing and Attic Ventilation?

Ventilation is intentionally allowing outdoor air into a space. Therefore, roofing and attic ventilation purposefully introduces air into the attic with the purpose of controlling temperature and/or removing moisture in the home.

The often-underutilized attic is an enclosed area of the home that affects several aspects of a home. During warmer months, built-up humidity in the attic can put stress on your air conditioning unit causing it to work harder than it needs to. Not to mention, resulting in higher utility bills.

The colder months offer different obstacles such as an imbalance between the warm air within the home and cold air outside. Any unknown areas of outdoor exposure or simple daily water use (such as bathing) can let in moisture and if left ignored, can lead to mold, and cause long-term effects.

The use of attic ventilation takes those variables and makes them controllable.

Choosing an Intake Vent and Exhaust Vent for your Home

The purpose of an intake vent is to pull outside air into the attic to moderate temperature while evaporating moisture. Intake vents should be placed along a roof assembly’s lowest eave at or near soffits or eaves.  

  1. Soffit Vents: often plastic or aluminum, these vents install in your soffit or eave area.

  2. Undereave Vents: vents installed at the eaves.

  3. The Edge Vent: vent installed underneath shingles; meant for home with little or no soffit.

  4. Vented Drip Edge: a combination between drip edge and intake vent; meant for home with little or no soffit.

Exhaust Vents

With the intake vent forces air into the attic, the exhaust vent is an outlet for warm air, odors, and moisture to release. Exhaust vents

  1. Static Exhaust Vents

    1. Ridge vents: running along the roof’s peak, blending into the surface of a roof making it more attractive due to its camouflage capabilities. Ridge vents are dual-purpose and act as intake vents and exhaust vents.

    2. Hip vents: installed along the hip of the roof to allow for maximum airflow.

    3. Roof louvers: a small vent placed evenly across the roof that often comes in a round or square shape.

  2. Powered Exhaust Vents

    1. Roof-mounted: motor-driven vent that is connected to a power source and in some cases can take away from your home’s air conditioning and be less cost-effective.

    2. Gable-mounted: motor-driven vent that is also connected to a power source but installed within the attic. Gable vents are dual-purpose and act as intake and exhaust vents.

  3. Mechanical Exhaust Vents: uses a turbine-powered by outdoor wind.

Requirements for Residential and Commercial Attic Ventilation

Installing insulation on your attic floor typically requires the attic to be vented which comes with some rules and regulations. The standard formula to determine your needs is 1 square foot of net free ventilation area for every 300 square feet of attic floor if you have both vents at the soffit and ridge. If your home only has soffit vents, it’s typical for codes to require 1 square foot of net free ventilation area for every 150 square feet of attic floor area.

In case you need some assistance calculating your ventilation needs, take advantage of a ventilation calculator.

Attic Ventilation Specialists

All homes and buildings are different which means every ventilation system is unique. With the varying options and considerations, a quality roofing company can assist in creating a balanced and trustworthy attic ventilation system. If you need any assistance in calculating your ventilation requirements or installation, please reach out to one of our roofing professionals today.

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