Metal Roofing and Siding Blog | McElroy Metal

What are the Best Options to Vent a Metal Roof?

Written by McElroy Metal | May 7, 2024 2:00 PM

Like opening a window to let the breeze waft through on a summer's day cools the room, a roof needs a way to cool down when the sun is beating down on it all day too. More than that, the combination of hot air and cooler surfaces can create condensation in a metal roof that can mean moisture buildup underneath the outer skin.

A well-ventilated roof offers improved temperature stability and lower risk of condensation, but it has one more benefit that is becoming more important every day: energy efficiency.

With the roof ventilated, the interior is less prone to heating up, which means less need for HVAC systems to be running at capacity. That saves energy, and as we all know, that means saving money, and as energy gets ever more expensive, the savings grow even more!

It is clear that airflow is crucial for the long-term performance and stability of a metal roof. Unlike other roofing options, there are several ways to ventilate a metal roof, but which is the best?

Read on to learn popular methods to address venting requirements for your metal roof.

Ridge Vents

Probably the most efficient option is a ridge vent. Here, air is drawn in through the soffits and as heat rises, is drawn out again at the ridge, taking the heat with it. This prevents heat buildup and avoids condensation. Simple installations with no moving parts require little to no maintenance.

You can expect great compatibility and color performance with vents made from the same material as the rest of the roof. It is worth noting that larger roofs may require fans and other equipment to draw air through and out of the vents, meaning that they can cost more than other systems.

Gable Vents

In its most basic form, a gable vent is a hole cut into the gable of the property to allow hot air to vent from the roof space. Once the hole is cut, an aesthetically pleasing cover (often of louvered material) is placed over the opening to address both watertight and cosmetic issues.

In some property designs, gable vents can also be used as the intake for airflow in a metal roof with ridge vents. They tend to be a low-maintenance, low-cost option for venting a metal roof.

Which one is Best for You?

That depends on where your property is located, the size of the roof, the property type, and other factors. Large commercial roofs may need fan assistance to obtain enough airflow, whereas a smaller house might be just fine with the passive airflow generated by a soffit and a roof vent system.

Similarly, if your property is in a location prone to high winds and storms, adjustable ridge vents that can be locked down may be the best option to avoid water leaks.

Roof design and aesthetics also factor into your decision. High-visibility projects often use a low-profile ridge vent since it can be indistinguishable from a regular ridge or hip flashing.

Which roof vent option is best really depends on your unique situation. From the simplest option to complex, fan driven ventilation solutions, there is something for every budget and ventilation needs, and a professional roofing company can guide you in the right direction.

Making the Choice

A professional roofing company should provide guidance for roof ventilation during the design and installation process, however, if you have a roof that you think would benefit from ventilation, start with these questions:

  • What type of Roof vent do you need?
  • Where should they be fitted?
  • What material should they be made from?

A qualified professional roofing company can help you with this. Expert assessors can determine the amount of ventilation required and offer advice on the style of vent that would work best. Additionally, by using a roofing contractor you can enjoy peace of mind from warrantied work and manufacturer-approved installation.

Do you Need a Roofing Contractor?

The short answer is yes, but it is important to understand why. Any vent in your metal roof is essentially a hole and must be dealt with correctly to avoid leaks.

Every aspect of the process, from the precise location, installation, and sealing of a vent, impacts the performance of the vent itself and the roof. Getting it wrong can have catastrophic consequences for the property and lead to expensive repairs or worse.

Having a professional install your roof vents ensures that you not only get the right venting to suit your situation, it also means that your roof will continue to perform as it should.

With so much at stake when adding ventilation to a metal roof, it makes sense to use professionals who can provide a warranty and the peace of mind that goes with it for your roof ventilation needs