What Are the Pros and Cons of Ridge Vents?

Bry'Ana Arvie
Written by Bry'Ana Arvie
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated August 30, 2022
Black air ventilation chimney on gray shingles
Photo: Inga / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Ridge vents offer ventilation and a sleek design.

  • But they aren’t for every home or budget.

  • The cost to install ridge vents ranges from $300 to $650.

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When you’re searching for the best roof vent for your home to keep the air flowing in and the moisture out, you’ll likely come across ridge vents. In this guide, learn the benefits of ridge vents plus their cons and estimated costs. 

5 Pros of Ridge Vents

Installing ridge vents has its advantages which we’ll cover below. 

Improved Airflow

A ridge vent is an exhaust vent that works in tandem with intake vents to help improve airflow in your attic. The intake vents bring in fresh air from a lower position in the attic, then the ridge vents help push that air back out from a higher location. The result? A properly ventilated attic with healthy airflow. 

Aesthetically Pleasing

One of the more appealing benefits of ridge vents is that they’re aesthetically pleasing and won’t take away from your curb appeal. Because of their design which allows them to be practically undetected (unless you’re looking for them, of course) on your roof, they can keep your home’s charm without sacrificing function. 

Proper Ventilation

Have you ever gone into your attic and gotten hit with what feels like a wall of hot air? That’s what happens when your attic doesn’t have proper ventilation. Besides the uncomfortable heat, poor attic ventilation can lead to mold, mildew, and a musky smell. Ridge vents, again, working in tandem with intake vents, help keep that air circulating so your attic can stay cool—and funk-free.

Extends Roof’s Lifespan

The cost to repair a roof is about $1,000, while replacing a roof costs between $5,700 and $12,000 on average. Needless to say that there are far better ways you’ll want to spend your hard-earned money than replacing your roof because of poor ventilation. With ridge vents, you can adequately vent your roof and eliminate problems such as mold and mildew that lead to rot and other roof damages. 

Prevents Insect Entry

If you have an older home, the roof vents installed on it might make it easy for insects to enter your attic. By upgrading to roof ridges, the seamless vents won’t allow little unwanted house guests to take up residency in your attics. Pro tip: pests don’t typically hang out in the attic unless they’re attracted to something in particular (like rotten wood). If you do spot bugs up there, you should hire a local pest control service to come take a look at the cause.

Cons of Ridge Vents

While there are considerable benefits to ridge vents, it does come with a few flaws to keep in mind. Let’s look at them here: 

Can Leak During Heavy Rain Storms

Since ridge vents have air space, they can let the wind through. But when it’s raining heavily, and the rain is shifting in the wind, it can potentially allow water into your house. All vents allow water to enter the home if the wind is driving at the right angle, but it’s rarely enough to cause damage. As long as the vents are properly installed, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you live in an area where extreme weather like this is typical, you’ll need to consider the risks of installing them.  

Not Suitable for Some Roofs

Your roof has to have the right shape for ridge vents to work effectively. Ridge vents work best with gable roofs but aren't a good fit for hip roofs. Ridge vents also aren't meant to be installed at multiple levels. Ideally, your roofer should put them along one main ridge at the top of the roof. If the roof has multiple levels and ridge vents are installed on different ridge lines, they will work against each other, and the airflow from the intake vents will not be optimal. This positioning could also create a current that may suck in snow from outside—and the last thing you want is a winter wonderland in your attic.

If a home doesn't have enough ridge to make ridge vents a viable option, you should consider installing power vents or solar vents.

Higher Upfront Cost Than Other Vents

The installation cost of ridge vents is slightly more expensive than other roof vents such as soffit, gable, and roof turbine. However, the damages they prevent can make them a cost-effective investment.

How Much Do Ridge Vents Cost?

A man caulking ridge vent
Photo: tinabelle / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

The average cost to install ridge vents is $300 to $650, including $2 to $3 per linear foot for the material and $45 to $75 per hour in labor fees. Here’s a look at how much other roof vents cost on average: 

  • Soffit vents: $315–$465

  • Gable vents: $60–$150

  • Roof turbine: $65–$250 

However, most roofing contractors won’t charge extra to install ridge vents if you are replacing the entire roof. If you need assistance with seeing if the benefits of ridge vents are right for you, contact your local roofing contractor

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