Does adding a ridge vent add to longevity of your roof? You have purchased an older home knowing it will need a new roof soon. You do your due diligence and shop for a roofing company by obtaining a few bids and are now ready make a decision. Almost all of the estimates include a ridge vent which will have to be added. What is a ridge vent and is it really necessary? Although this seems like an easy question there are a few variables.
For instance, it may depend on the age of the home or whether it has a well- constructed attic that is still in adequate shape. If there is not proper ventilation any warranty on new roofing that includes using shingles could become invalid. A Ridge vent consists of a long strip that runs along the peak of the roof. To install it there needs to be an opening cut of about 2″ to 3″ across the peak to expose the attic. The ridge vent will then straddle the opening which will permit airflow into the attic.
The ridge vent itself is only half the venting system. To be effective a ridge vent needs a continuous flow of air from the bottom of the roof on each side supplied by soffit vents. By adding soffit vents it allows cooler air to enter the attic and using heat from the sun, it sucks air up under the roof helping it to maintain a temperature equal to the outside. This type of roof venting began in the 1970’s, is quite efficient and is still used today in most new construction.
If you live in cold country there may be some concern about snow blocking the ridge vent keeping it from operating efficiently, but typically those concerns are unfounded. Although most people believe this type of venting is to provide cool air in the summer, the primary purpose is to control weather issues in the winter. The reason the ridge vents remain effective in the winter is due to the warm air working its way into the attic causing the snow covering the ridge vent to melt. This does not discount that there can be severe conditions where a layer of ice-encrusted snow blocks the ridge vent but these situations are very rare.
Once you have decided to add vents to your roofing system you should take a look at the different products on the market to determine what will work the best for your situation. All ridge vents are not the same. Like in every industry there have been advances with the product and ridge vents are no exception. One of the newer products introduced on the market in 2014 by a leading manufacturer was a ridge vent “with the highest air flow and and Net Free Vent Area (NFVA) in the industry”. Their new ridge vent also comes with an enhanced snow screen and an exterior weather filter that will take care of rain or snow blowing into your attic.
The overall consensus is that if you are investing in a new roof, ridge vents are probably the way to go in the long run.