A functional, weatherproof roof consists of many different parts, each with their own distinct purpose. A ridge vent is one such part; without one, some roofs and the structures they cover can suffer. Although some roofing services feel that ridge vents are not required as long as there are other roof vents, science itself proves that ridge vents are more functional for most roofs. Therefore, as part of regular roof maintenance, it is recommended that homeowners have their roofs checked to ensure there are ridge vents and that they are clear; if none exist, consider having ridge vents installed.
What Is A Ridge Vent?
A ridge vent is an air vent along the very top of a pitched roof, either under the ridge cap or as part of the ridge cap. The ridge is the point of the roof that should always be covered by a ridge cap. The ridge cap is a layer of shingles or roofing material that covers the length of the point of the ridge, protecting the ridge and the entire roof from moisture. Ridge vents are placed along the length of the roof either at the ridge, covered with shingles like a standard ridge cap; or installed as a one-piece unit that functions as a ridge vent and cap all in one.
What Is the Purpose of A Ridge Vent?
Ridge vents allow heated air to escape the attic space in a house or building with an attic and pitched roof. This is important for numerous reasons. Attics that get too hot increase the chance of condensation inside the roof in cooler weather. This causes all sorts of other problems like mold, shingle damage, damage to the roof decking and rafters, and more. Attic ventilation is actually more important in cold weather than it is in warmer weather, making ridge vents an essential element for good roofing. The most efficient way to keep a home climate controlled while avoiding roofing problems is with good attic ventilation, combined with good attic insulation.
Ridge Vents or Gable Vents?
Although this is an ongoing debate, most roofing services today find that ridge vents function better than gable vents for many reasons. Ridge vents are more effective because they are placed at the highest point on a roof; since heat naturally rises, warm air finds its way right to the vents. Gable vents, even when correctly paired with soffit vents, tend to circulate air that is only close to the gable vents themselves and not throughout the entire attic. Gable and soffit vents can also be negatively affected by air pressure in the attic, making them less functional.
Although specific circumstances relating to climate, roof construction, and architecture can sometimes mean that gable and soffit vents are adequate for a specific home, most roofers now agree that ridge vents are more functional and recommended than gable and soffit vents. Even in climates where there is a high amount of snowfall, a great number of roofers find that ridge vents function better without getting blocked by snow. Except in extreme cases of snow or ice buildup, wind, combined with the effect of warm air escaping the vents, keeps them clear enough to function.
The consensus with most roofing services is that ridge vents are preferable and more functional than gable vents, so it is important to have them installed and properly maintained. Regular roof maintenance should include the inspection of ridge vents to make sure they are not blocked or leaking and can perform as designed. In situations where no ridge vents exist, they can be added quite easily during a roof installation or at any time after that!