Roof vents

Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Henri

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Best design for ridge vents

Q.     What do you consider to be the preferred design for ridge vents? Do you recommend a specific brand?

A.    The only types of ridge vent one should use are those with an external baffle to deflect the wind over the ridge of the roof. Unfortunately, many ridge vents on the market do not have an external baffle so when the wind blows, it actually stops the exhaust of attic air, thus also stopping the intake of air through the soffit vents. Some unbaffled ridge vents are prone to admitting rain and snow into the attic or become plugged by snow when the wind blows strongly enough to drive these elements up the roof.

Externally baffled aluminum ridge vents have been around for a very long time and were the only type available for years. Their only shortcomings are that they are not very attractive, are fragile (I have seen many crushed by someone walking on the roof to clear snow), and they are not compatible with steep roofs.

Years ago, when my friend Clark Wolfert was the CEO and chief engineer of Air Vent, Inc. (AVI), before it was sold to one company after another (now owned by Gibraltar Industries Company), we discussed this shortcoming as steeper roofs became more popular. I offered him a design for the installation of AVI’s aluminum vents on a steep roof which was incorporated in their literature until molded plastic ridge vents came onto the market. AVI developed Shinglevent, then Shinglevent II, both designed for any pitch roof and to be covered with shingles.

There are several manufacturers now making externally baffled plastic ridge vents, so it is worth shopping around.

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