12 Roof Ridge Vent Pros and Cons

If you own an older home, then there is a good chance that there isn’t any roof ventilation. The reason this does not create an issue is that these houses aren’t as air-tight as the modern structures are, which means they have adequate air movement despite the lack of any vents.

When you move to upgrade the energy efficiency of these older homes with better window insulation, weather-stripping, and similar features, then you create a ventilation problem for the home. You must have adequate roof ventilation available through a vent when you live in a high-efficiency home.

Without this feature on the roof, you will have condensation begin forming on your windows, especially during the winter months. Moisture can get into your roof too, which freezes into an ice dam as the weather changes.

These are the pros and cons or roof ridge vents that can help you manage these concerns while improving the overall value of the home.

List of the Pros of Roof Ridge Vents

1. They balance out the temperature of the home.
When you have a new home built, or you’re replacing a roof, then installing a ridge vent helps to balance out the transfer of hot and cold air. You’ll always find the upstairs and attic to be warmer in the summer months, no matter how strong your air condition systems are, because of how hot air rises. Because there are vents installed in the roof, the warmer air can escape the home naturally, which balances out the temperatures below.

Then in the evening, or during the winter months, the design of the vents allows the pressure of the cold air outside to prevent all the warmer inside air from escaping. That process allows you to save some on your utility bills each month.

2. The design of a roof ridge vent works with the look of your home.
Roof ridge vents offer a sleek design which is difficult to notice from ground level. The pitch of your structure remains unaffected by this design element. If you have enough intake, it is possible to install them along every ridge of your roof, which provides your home with a maximum level of ventilation.

That’s why some homes circulate the air better than others when using this product. If you don’t have enough of an intake area, then there isn’t enough space to draw in the air needed.

3. Rodents can’t get into your attic through roof ridge vents.
Squirrels, rats, raccoons, and other pests all love to try getting into your home whenever there is a point of access. If you use the older-style of roof vent to provide air circulation, then you must install traps or blockage points that prevent them from nesting in your attic’s insulation. This protection feature reduces the amount of air that moves, which defeats the purpose of the older designs in the first place.

The shape, size, and location of roof ridge vents make it impossible for rodents to access your house. You receive the ventilation necessary for the home without creating a higher risk of damage.

4. It allows air to move out of the attic naturally.
The wind which blows over your roof will help to draw the hot, moist air out of your attic when roof ridge vents are installed correctly. This happens because of the change in air pressure. The inside air moves through the ridge vest underneath the cap shingle to escape from the side and into the general atmosphere. You can then draw fresh air into the underside of the vent, which freshens the environment of the home.

5. Roof ridge vents can reduce indoor air pollution levels.
The average person spends about 90% of their time indoors each day. About two-thirds of that time happens at home. The only problem with this lifestyle is that the quality of your indoor air can be up to 5 times worse than the outside air. There are some homes where the indoor air quality is 100 times worse.

Indoor air pollution is ranked as one of the five most dangerous environmental factors we face today. By having roof ridge vents installed on your home, you can improve the quality of your indoor air. That means you can reduce the risk of several pollution-related symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and sinus infections.

6. They don’t need to be used with other systems.
Roof ridge vents do work well when there are soffit vents or box vents that help to draw air into the attic. You will also discover that this product can work by itself to release moisture from the house, which is especially useful during the winter months. That means you have a lower risk of mold or mildew development.

When you live in a high-moisture environment, such as the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and Canada, then removing this issue from the air stops mold and mildew from forming inside the home too. If you have condensation on your windows, then your frame will develop mold growth over the winter. This product helps to reduce this issue.

7. Weather changes do not affect a correctly installed roof ridge vent.
This product is designed to work all year, every year, to provide adequate ventilation for your home. Because it blends in well with the roof, the weather changes which occur in your geographic location have less of an impact on it. You’ll be able to move air throughout the attic without the use of fans or turbines when enough space is given to this vent design.

List of the Cons of Roof Ridge Vents

1. Ridge vents do not always provide the proper ventilation in some homes.
The effect of ridge vents for the roof depends upon the energy-efficient nature of the structure. You must have air movement toward the vents to make it an effective solution. If the rest of the home does not receive circulation, then this option will not work as intended. Some older homes still need to have the older-style vents installed to give it the ventilation levels that are necessary.

If you don’t have baffles installed with the vent, then this option may create zero ventilation even when the flow of air is correct. You must prevent outside air from crossing over this product for it to work effectively. That’s why most installations place shingles over the roof.

2. There is a chance that they could leak water during heavy rains.
Some homes are in the path of storms where the wind strikes the roof in such a way that rain blows in right through the vents. If you find yourself in this situation, then you must inspect your attic for water damage frequently. The only way to prevent the issue is to take the vents out, replacing them with a product which offers a more water-tight experience for your roof. If you have insulation in your attic, then the dampness caused in this situation creates even more challenges to face as a homeowner.

3. The initial cost of roof ridge vents is usually higher.
Roof ridge vents provide a costly system of ventilation that may not be suitable for the checkbooks of some homeowners. This option might be the updated system which most newer homes use, but if you have an older home, then you might need the soffit vents too.

The soffit vents act like the air intake for the home. That means roof ridge vents are like the exhaust system. They allow the house to breathe correctly. Expect the installation of a ridge vent to run about $500 on average if you’re not touching the rest of the roof. Complete replacement may be over $1,000 on some roofing types.

4. It doesn’t work well in warmer climates.
Roof ridge vents (and other forms of roofing ventilation) work better when homes are in colder climates. The general rule of thumb is that the colder the climate, the more your attic benefits from the use of ventilation. This option can still reduce your hot air during the summer months in a warm climate, but there are cheaper and more effective ways to handle this solution.

If you do live in a colder environment, then make sure you have rigid insulation in place to prevent condensation from forming on your roof sheathing. This thermal barrier will work to prevent common forms of moisture damage from affecting the home.

5. You must install it at the peak of your roof.
If your home has a flat roof, then you will not benefit from the use of a roof ridge vent. This product works best on homes with a slanted pitch to the roof – but not too steep, of course. The shape of the roof impacts how much air comes through the system, which means this vent must always be placed at the peak of the roof along your ridges. You may opt to only have one ridge utilized for a vent if there are multiple options on your roof, but that can reduce the effectiveness of this system too.

These roof ridge vents pros and cons are essential to review when you’re thinking above a roofing upgrade. Some homes don’t need them, especially if you have soffit and gable vents. Others will benefit from this unique design structure without needing to worry about the composition of their roof. They are easy to install, maintain, or replace as the shingles protecting them wear out over time.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.