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Roofing Terminology

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Ridge Vents

Ridge vents are ventilation devices that a roofing contractor can install at the peaks or ridges of your roof. They allow air to circulate in your attic space and can benefit your home in several ways. If you have ridge vents, you should have them inspected on a regular basis to ensure they're working properly. If your home doesn't have them, installing the vents can make your home more energy efficient and help keep your roof in good condition.

Ridge Vents and Attic Ventilation

Ridge vents work best when used with soffit or gable vents to provide air circulation within your attic. The vents are installed by cutting back the roof sheathing at the ridge of the roof and are covered with shingles so they blend in with your roof surface. Air circulation within the attic can:

  • Lower cooling bills. Proper attic ventilation can lower summer attic temperatures in your home and reduce the cooling load for your HVAC system.
  • Prevent condensation buildup. Circulating air helps reduce the amount of condensation that can build up on the underside of your roof sheathing. Excessive condensation can cause your sheathing and even your roof framing to fail.
  • Reduce ice damming. Heat buildup in the attic during the winter can cause excessive snow melt on your roof, increasing the potential for ice damming and possible roof leaks.

Not all roofs are candidates for ridge vents. If your roof doesn't have them, a roofing contractor can do an inspection to determine whether they can be installed. A contractor may also suggest other types of roof ventilation that might work better for your home. Homes that already have ridge vents should be checked at least once a year by a roofing contractor for any debris that may be preventing adequate air circulation.

Roofing Terms