Gable Vents vs Ridge Vents

A house with a gable roof
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When you have a gable roof construction you will want to vent the attic area with either gable vents or ridge vents. There are pros and cons to both. Here are the basics of each type of vent to help you choose the best option.

What are Gable Vents?

A gable roof is one that comes to a point at the top. It looks like an "A" or an upside-down "V." The roof is sloped toward the home to stop water, snow, and other debris from pooling on top. These roofs are classic for a reason—by shunting off precipitation, they resist mold, mildew, and rot. Gable vents are located in the front of the gable roof and facilitate airflow in and out. Fans can be attached if needed for added circulation. Some vents serve industrial exhaust purposes, others are purely decorative.

What are Ridge Vents?

Ridge vents are installed on the peak of the gable roof. They are small and hidden from sight by shingles. They allow airflow while directing rain away from the attic space.

Installing the Vents

Installing the vents can become a major production. Gable vents are usually chosen for their visual appeal, but can also serve as an exhaust vent. Installing functional gable vents can take some time, as you will need to fit them into the gable end of the roof. Ridge vents are much easier to install because they sit on top of the roof at the peak. You merely have to climb up to the roof and place the ridge vent. It will run the entire length of the gable roof peak. A few screws and some shingles will easily attach the ridge vents to the roof.

Working Together

If you install ridge vents you will need to seal off the gable vents because they will cease to be effective. If you have the gable vent attached and working as an avenue for exhaust, you would be throwing away money for the higher electric costs and the escape of heat from the attic.

Steep Gable Roofs

If you own a home with a steep peak, you will run into some issues with the vents you need to use. A high-pitched gable roof is best suited for gable vents because gable vents come in many sizes and some can be trimmed and modified for a proper fit. Ridge vents will not provide enough ventilation.

Reliability and Wind Change

Gable vents with no fans are only effective as long as the wind is working with the vent. If there is no wind or the wind changes direction, you will find that the gable vents stop working. Air and moisture will remain trapped in the attic, which can cause several issues such as mold and mildew. Ridge vents are not affected at all by wind change.