Understanding Different Roof Vent Types and Their Impact on Your Roof’s Lifespan

There are several different kinds of roofing vents, but they all have the same purpose. They are meant to release heat from the attic. This may seem counterintuitive if you are trying to keep your house warm in winter, but not venting your attic carries some pricey consequences. 

Why Vent the Roof?

In winter, heat in your home rises until it reaches the attic. It builds and begins to cause melting of snow and ice from underneath the piles on your roof. Water forms and rolls down toward the gutters, but because it’s cold outside, it freezes and creates ice dams. Ice dams in turn cause a ton of shingle damage and eventually water damage to your roof. If your roof vents are doing their jobs correctly, the heat escapes quickly and ice dams can’t form. No ice dams mean no damage to your roof, and no damage to your roof means your roof lasts longer.

Types of Roof Vents

There are ridge vents, which sit on the top of a roof ridge and run the entire length of it. These are advantageous because the heat escapes from the top-most point of the roof, thereby preventing melting of any snow and ice down the slopes of the roof from the ridge. 

Soffit vents are installed underneath the overhang of your roof (i.e., where the soffits are). Heat that escapes this way helps protect the soffits and the overhanging structures of the roof. 

Box vents are just as they sound; box-shaped covers over vents in your roof. They have no moving parts or fans involved with removing the excess heat from your roof. They are installed higher up on the slope of a roof and release heat through an open vent port. The “box” prevents debris and wildlife from getting into the vents. They are the most common because they are the most cost -effective vent option, but not always the most efficient.