Metal Roof Ventilation: Gable Vents Versus Ridge Vents

Metal Roof Ventilation: Gable Vents Versus Ridge Vents

trio of gable vents against a brick wall

Metal roofs, especially those lighter in color, can have a significant positive impact on your home’s energy efficiency and air conditioning costs in warmer climates. However, in order to maximize the cooling benefits of a quality metal roof, proper attention must be paid to the installation process, specifically ventilation. 

When ventilation is not properly taken into consideration, heat and moisture can build up in excess within your home’s attic – this can potentially cause damage to your insulation and also reduce, or fully negate, any benefit to climate control that may have been possible with the conversion to a metal roofing system. 

Two of the more common types of vents are Gable and Ridge. Each has its pros and cons, and it could be valuable to combine the two. While we always suggest first consulting a professional on any metal roof installation, here are some of the ways Ridge vents differ from Gable vents, and what you might want to take into consideration when deciding on which to go with. 

Gable Vents

A Gable roof looks like an “upside down V” and comes to a point at the top. The way these roofs slope away from the home make them beneficial for shedding water, ice, snow and other buildup of debris from collecting in one specific area – causing a higher probability in damage over time. 

Gable vents are located in front of Gable roofs and can be accompanied by fans to assist with the distribution of airflow between the roof and the attic. However, some Gable vents are purely decorative. 

Ridge Vents

Unlike Gable vents, Ridge vents are always installed with a purpose. In fact, they are located at the top of Gable roofs, typically hidden under the roof overhang with the intention of providing airflow ventilation while adding an extra layer of protection against the entry of rain. 

Should You Install Gable and Ridge Vents?

Since Gable vents can be used decoratively, they can be used in conjunction with Ridge vents. However, the benefit of Ridge vents becomes somewhat useless when coupled with a Gable vent that is not sealed off – since the benefit of a Ridge vent over Gable is the added protection against water entry. 

Choosing and Installing a Vent Type

Before committing to a style or installation of vent system for your metal roof, it is recommended to first consult with a licensed professional. In addition to offering free estimates, the team at RPS is on standby for any question you may have about the process.

How Metal Roofs Can Protect Your Home During High Wind and Hurricanes

One of the very best ways you can protect your home in strong winds and hurricanes is to install a metal roof. Metal roofs have been proven to withstand up to 140 miles per hour gusts of wind, and they can hold up against heavy rain, snow, and hailstorms. It’s for this reason that locations that are prone to heavy wind and hurricanes are having metal roofs installed. The demand is rising because of the evidence that is stacking up, showing that metal roofs are among the best protection against hail storms, embers from wildfires, and hurricane wind.

Other materials? They don’t hold up so well. Slate shingles have a Class A rating, but they don’t withstand fire and wind in the same way as metal roofs. Materials like asphalt deteriorate from the moment that it is installed, which will mean paying for re-roofing every decade or more.

Why Metal Roofs Withstand High Winds Best

It doesn’t matter where you live; metal roofing is an excellent decision to make for your house. They have an ability to resist the uplift from wind and water at the same time. This is because of three critical factors:

  • Design. Metal roofs come with two systems: hydrostatic or hydrokinetic. Hydrostatic is for low-sloping roofs, and they protect against any water due to the pressure. Hydrokinetic is for steep-sloping roofs, and they facilitate water shedding.
  • Installation. A significant factor of metal roofs working well is in their installation. You need to protect your house from wind, and with the correct installation, you get the uplift resistance that you need. It’s why the industry requires all installers to follow the installation instructions to the letter.
  • Properties. Steel is the best metal roof for hurricanes because it has the best strength to weight ratio of any other roofing material. It’s why it will work exceptionally well under the pressure of a storm. The metal itself doesn’t degrade, and when it’s exposed to the elements, you still get the benefits of longevity. Steel sheets and tiles can be coated correctly with zinc or even aluminum to prevent rust.

Those who live in areas where severe storms are frequent will benefit from metal roofing, but they’ll also be the best option no matter where you are. The resistance to the weather, water, and wind, as well as fire, is enough of a reason to get a metal roof installed onto your home.

How to Choose the Right Metal Roof Color for Your Home

Choosing the right color of metal roof for your home can be dependent on a number of different factors. Which color you ultimately decide upon may not only be an aesthetic choice. Energy savings, maintenance and other factors such as your neighborhood’s HOA may come into play.

To begin taking the right factors into consideration from the start, here is a list of items to consider when making a decision on the color of your metal roof.

DESIGN

A quality-fabricated, properly installed metal roof can combine well with any home style. However, the color you choose can make a big impact on how well your metal roof fits the overall aesthetic of your home.

A more vintage or victorian-style home may not be the suitable canvas to try exuberant or flashy colors. Staying with something more muted or era-appropriate will help keep the look of your metal roof in line with your overall home’s curb appeal. 

However, a more industrial-looking or modern-style home may offer the flexibility of experimentation with bolder, brighter colors. 

When looking at metal roof samples, it is also good to compare them during different times of day. A color that really blends well in the evening may be a little too contrasty at night, for example. 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Which color of metal roof you choose to install can play a key part in the energy efficiency benefits to your home. This especially holds true in warmer or more tropical climates.

In regions with lots of direct sunlight and warmer climates, lighter colors are recommended. These colors include, white, beige, light bronze, light blue, light green or peach. Choosing a lighter, Energy Star rated color & material in these cases can lead to energy savings of up to 30% over darker colored shingle and tile roofs. 

If you live in a cooler region with less direct sunlight, or have an impeccably well-insulated attic space, then darker colors can be chosen with less of a concern of impact to energy expenses.

NEIGHBORHOOD 

Depending on your neighborhood and if you need to abide by the rules of a Homeowners Association (HOA), you may be limited on the color options at your disposal. 

However, even if you do not have an HOA or other regulatory body governing your color choice, it is still a good idea to adhere to the general trends and aesthetics of your neighborhood. A color that sticks out too much from the pack and can create an eyesore and potentially even limit the interest in your home should you ever decide to sell. 

Maintaining a Metal Roof: the Do’s and the Don’ts

Choosing to invest in a quality metal roof is a decision that can result in many benefits as the owner and resident of your home or business. Energy efficiency, longevity, fire resistance and insurance savings are just a few of the rewards of owning a metal roof over standard materials such as slate shingles.

But as is the case with any quality investment, taking the time to familiarize yourself with and commit to very basic recurring maintenance can go a long way to getting the most out of your metal roof, both functionally and aesthetically.

Do’s for Properly Maintaining Your Metal Roof

1. Regularly inspect for dirt, stains and other buildup

A few times per year should suffice, but unaddressed buildup can lead to permanent abrasions and/or stains. You can choose to scale a ladder to get an up close inspection or simply use a pair of binoculars.. 

2. Use gentle washing practices and materials

Soft cloths and sponges are suggested as they are less abrasive. Additionally you should be using water and lighter cleaning solvents. One quarter cup of detergent with one gallon of water along with a soft bristled brush or non-abrasive pad should do the trick for lighter buildup and stains. 

¼ cup of bleach along with ¼ cup of dish soap and two gallons of water will help remove tougher buildup such as algae or mold while still being gentle on your roof’s surface.   

3. Keep branches clear of your roof

Regular pruning of trees and branches that grow near or over your roof will help avoid damage due to scratches from high winds and debris. A distance of at least six feet is recommended. 

4. Do touch up any scratches or abrasions

When doing a regular inspection and washing dirt or other debris, touch up any abrasions or scratches with a manufacturer-approved paint or sealant. Untreated scratches can attract more debris and cause abrasion-based damage to grow over time. 

Don’ts to Avoid When Maintaining Your Metal Roof

1. Don’t Use Harsh or Abrasive Cleaners

Gritty, powder-based cleaners can be great for agitating and lifting tough stains, but they also can result in scratches and/or paint damage to a metal roof. To maintain the integrity of your roof’s color, sealant and appearance, these cleaners should be avoided for any standard maintenance. 

2. Don’t use spray paints near your roof

This especially includes painting your home with a sprayer. But even spray painting other items should be done at a safe distance from your home or under the cover of your garage where wind cannot carry over spray. 

Any spray painting that comes in contact with your metal roof will be nearly impossible to remove. 

3. Do not walk on your metal roof too much

Metal roofs are sturdy enough to withstand walking around on, but extended periods of stress from walking can cause raised metal roofing panels to dent if you are untrained or not careful with how you are distributing weight when walking. 

Are Metal Roofs Hotter Than Shingles?

ARE METAL ROOFS HOTTER THAN SHINGLES?

No, metal roofs are not hotter than dark shingle roofs made from asphalt or other standard materials such as slate, for example.

That said, metal roofs, just like any other roofing material, will heat up in direct sunlight. But due to the reflective nature of metal, especially in lighter colors, any heat absorption is much more quickly dissipated than in asphalt, slate or ceramic shingles – all of which retain heat over a longer span of time. 

Additionally, most metal roofs are treated with Energy Star finishes which, when coupled with paler colors, can result in surface temperatures up to 50 degrees cooler than shingles. 

WHICH METAL ROOF COLORS ARE THE COOLEST?

Lighter colors tend to be more reflective and are typically the right choice when it comes to picking an energy efficient color for your metal roof. Colors such as pale blue, light green, white, beige and lighter bronze are especially good options if you live in a region that has lots of direct sunlight and a hotter year-round climate.

Additionally, the EPA has an entire list of Energy Star-certified roofing products and information available at https://www.energystar.gov/productfinder/product/certified-roof-products/

WHAT OTHER FACTORS SHOULD I CONSIDER TO KEEP MY HOUSE COOL? 

How hot your home gets from heat hitting your roof has a lot more to do with factors besides just color, finish and material. If your metal roof sits directly over a non temperature controlled room such as an attic, then insulation and ventilation will be an extra important step to ensure that heat is not gathering in a contained space.

Another benefit of proper insulation is that it will prevent your metal roof from becoming too noisy during heavy rain, hail or other inclement weather. 

Lower cooling costs are just one of the benefits of choosing to invest in a quality metal roof over shingles and other older material. Head over to our FAQs page for additional questions related to metal roofing or comment below for answers from our team. We will also use your questions and requests for future posts.