IL (847) 278-2272
WI (414) 662-9550
metal roof with ventilation

6 Types Of Roof Vents & Why They’re Important (Homeowner’s Guide)

Proper roof ventilation isn’t just essential for cedar shake roofs.

While roof replacement is often a result of damage to shingles, water damage, or simply an aging roof – most older roofs are likely to have improperly installed (or poorly installed) ventilation systems. 

While ridge vents may still be present, they are more likely to be too small to properly move air flow. This situation is even more common in old cedar shake roofs. 

This guide will shed light on these common vent types and their functionality within your home’s roofing system. Among the countless roofs we’ve replaced, poor ventilation has been a common issue. It’s important to consider ventilation systems when dealing with a new install, as they are integral to the longevity of the roof.

Types of Roof Vents

house roof with vents on against sky

There are several types of roof vents that homeowners should be aware of for effective ventilation in their homes. These include turbine vents, power vents, solar-powered vents, exhaust vents, intake vents, passive roof vents, drip edge vents, soffit vents, gable vents, fascia vents, and static vents.

In short, there’s a lot of different types of roof vents out there on the market.

Another distinction is between active roof vents (active ventilation) and passive roof vents (passive ventilation).

Active ventilation products on the market require no energy utilization to function. These are less common than passive roof vents. They either create a pressure differential between the ventilator and attic space (tower vent) or use wind to make the turbine turn, exhausting air (turbine vent).

Passive ventilation is much more common. This is also commonly referred to as natural ventilation. This involves letting air naturally rise and move through the attic space, passing through the vents. These are typically composed of soffit vents related to the entry of fresh or cold air (intake roof vents), and passive vents letting the hot air escape. These ensure proper attic ventilation.

Each type serves a specific purpose and contributes to energy-efficiency and reduced moisture retention.

Turbine Vents

Known as “whirly birds,” roof turbines are a popular form of roof ventilation especially beneficial for attics. These unique devices operate through convection, utilizing a drawing effect to stimulate air movement in and out of the attic space.

The revolving mechanism of turbine vents relies on wind power, making them an energy-efficient option for homeowners. Their function is crucial in promoting proper air circulation within the residential building’s roofing system.

This type of vent effectively wicks away excessive heat and moisture, ensuring prolonged lifespan of roofing materials and overall structural integrity, thus safeguarding homes against potential water damage and mold growth caused by poor ventilation.

Power Vents

Power vents, also known as attic fans or exhaust fans, play a critical role in improving the ventilation of your attic. Using an electric motor, these types of roof vents actively circulate air to remove hot, stale air and excess moisture from your space.

Available in various sizes and configurations, power vents can be adjusted to fit different roof types and attic spaces. Investing in power vents is particularly advantageous for homeowners who live in hot climates because they help reduce both the indoor temperature and overall energy costs.

To optimize performance, these units can be operated with either a thermostat or a humidistat.

Solar Powered Vents

Solar powered vents contribute significantly to maintaining a suitable temperature within residential buildings. These types of roof vents use the sun’s energy, converting it into electricity to facilitate airflow and dissipate excess heat from your attic.

An eco-friendly option, solar powered vents not only reduce energy consumption but also can potentially save homeowners up to 30 percent on power bills. Manufacturers have recognized their popularity among homeowners due to environmental benefits and cost-effectiveness, making them readily available online and in-stores.

Roof Ridge Vents with Baffle

Roof ridge vents with a baffle are an essential component of a well-ventilated attic. These types of roof vents are designed to sit at the peak of the roof, extending across the entire roofline.

They effectively remove hot air and moisture from the attic, preventing damage and mold growth. One significant advantage of ridge vents with a baffle is that they provide extra protection against rain and snow infiltration.

The baffle acts as a barrier, keeping out unwanted elements while still allowing for proper airflow. This ensures that your attic remains cool and dry, ultimately helping to extend the lifespan of your roof and reduce energy costs.

Ridge Vents Without Baffle

Ridge vents without a baffle are a popular choice among homeowners because they offer effective ventilation without protruding from the roofline.

Unlike ridge vents with a baffle, which use an external barrier to deflect rain, wind, snow, insects, and debris, ridge vents without a baffle do not have this protective feature.

However, it’s important to note that these vents may allow unwanted elements like leaves or pests to enter the attic space. Despite this drawback, many contractors still opt for ridge vents without a baffle because they can be cut directly into the roof instead of being installed on top.

Static Vents

Static vents, also known as box vents or turtle vents, are a common type of passive roof vent that plays a crucial role in attic ventilation. These vents work by utilizing the natural airflow and pressure differentials to exhaust hot air and moisture from the attic space.

These simple yet effective roof vents are typically installed near the ridge line of roofs to allow hot air to escape while preventing rainwater from entering. They are designed with louvers or slats that open outward to let warm air out but close when it rains to keep water out.

Static vents promote proper airflow throughout the entire roof system, helping to prevent mold and moisture buildup which can cause damage over time.

The Importance of Roof Vents

corrugated metal roof with vents

Proper roof ventilation is of utmost importance for every homeowner. Roof vents play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and longevity of your home. They help to remove excess moisture, heat, and stale air from the attic space, preventing damage to the roof and reducing the risk of structural issues.

When your attic is not properly ventilated, it can lead to a range of problems such as mold growth, ice dams formation, and even premature deterioration of shingles and insulation.

These issues can be costly to fix and may require extensive repairs or replacements.

Proper ventilation helps to maintain good indoor air quality by promoting fresh airflow throughout the entire roofing system.

Benefits of Proper Roof Ventilation

Proper roof ventilation has clear benefits, and is often a minor part of roof installation. It dramatically extends the lifespan of the roof, by reducing heat buildup and preventing damage from ice dams.

Prevents Mold and Moisture

Proper roof ventilation is essential for preventing mold and moisture buildup in your home. Without adequate airflow, excess humidity can accumulate in the attic space, creating a breeding ground for mold and causing structural damage to your roof.

Mold not only poses health risks but also leads to costly repairs down the line.

By ensuring that your roof has proper ventilation, you can effectively control moisture levels and prevent mold growth. The ventilation system allows trapped air to escape, reducing the risk of condensation on the underside of the roof deck.

This prevents water from saturating insulation and sheathing, which can lead to rotting wood and compromised structural integrity.

Extends Lifespan of the Roof

Proper roof ventilation is crucial for extending the lifespan of your roof. With a well-ventilated attic, your shingled roof can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, significantly longer than roofs without adequate airflow.

The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof ranges from 10 to 30 years, depending on the type of shingle used. By ensuring proper air circulation in your attic space, you can protect the structural integrity of your entire roof system and avoid costly repairs down the line.


Understanding the importance of roof vents seems insignificant, but is an essential consideration for homeowners looking to maintain a healthy and energy-efficient home environment (and keep their roof for decades to come). If you’re making such a big financial investment, wouldn’t you want it to last?

You can count on Shake Guys to handle proper roof ventilation. It’s incredibly easy for our specialists to pinpoint the best type of intake and exhaust vent for your roofing system, supporting your new roofing system. Contact Shake Guys today to discuss your new roofing and ventilation system — get a free quote!

Schedule a Free Inspection & Consultation