Ridge Vents vs Turtle Vents: Which One is Right For You?


Whether you’re installing a new roof or upgrading your current roof, ventilation needs to be part of the conversation. You’ve likely heard of ridge vents and turtle vents, and perhaps you’re stuck deciding which one is the best option for you. In the roofing world, this is a hot topic because there are many conflicting opinions.

Before you decide which one is best for your project, let’s do some Ventilation 101. You need one of or both of these vents to properly ventilate your attic and roof in order to:

  • – Regulate temperature in your home or building
  • – Reduce moisture buildup (this can lead to mold and mildew)
  • – Prevent ice dams in the winter (We wrote an entire article on the importance of preventing ice dams).
  • – Enhance energy efficiency (this puts money back in your pocket)


Should You Invest in a Ridge Vent or a Turtle Vent?

What is a ridge vent?

A ridge vent is a narrow ventilation system that runs along all ridge lines, inside the warm exterior walls, allowing each truss section its own ventilation unit.. The continuous line of ventilation ensures complete air circulation within your attic and allows for proper exhaust of hot air, working in unison with the intake from the soffit and gable vents. Below is an example of a ridge vent from Metal-Era’s website.

Pros of Ridge Vents

  • – Aesthetically, ridge vents are often preferred because of their low profile design. They are designed to blend into the roof and not be visible from the ground, giving the roof a seamless appearance.
  • – Since a ridge vent covers the span of the roof peaks, they are less likely to experience leaks.
  • – Ridge vents create an airflow pushing hot air from the attic, that naturally rises from the house, out of the roof. This helps cool a home efficiently, increases longevity of the roof, and decreases the need for maintenance.

Cons of Ridge Vents

  • – Because they need to be a continuous line, ridge vents do not fit easily on roofs featuring ridges or intricate designs.
  • – For those living in snowy climates, like Wasatch County, ridge vents are not foolproof against snow and can sometimes allow snow to enter into an attic.
  • – Ridge vents carry a higher upfront cost than a turtle vent and can be a complex install process, so you’ll want to be sure to work with a professional.

What is a turtle vent?

Turtle vents, also referred to as box vents or louvers, are small, box-shaped vents often found on the back of a roof. The appearance is akin to that of a turtle shell. Below is a picture of a turtle vent from Lowe’s website.

Pros of Turtle Vents

  • – If you live in a city with frequent rain and snowfall, turtle vents do a much better job at blocking snow and rain from entering the attic space.
  • – Turtle vents are less likely to form snow dams or become blocked by snow buildup. (If you experience snow buildup on your roof vents, you may experience ventilation issues).
  • – Turtle vents are a more budget friendly option than a ridge vent.

Cons of Turtle Vents

  • – They are visible on the roof, although most people opt to place them on the backside of their home to avoid this issue.
  • – Your roof will require more turtle vents than it will ridge vents. For example, best practice is to install one turtle vent for every 150 sq ft of attic floor space versus one ridge vent for every 300 sq ft of attic floor space.
  • – These are also a challenging install, so be sure to contract this out to the professionals.



If you want a professional’s opinion on which vent is best for your home or building, drop us a line here. We can provide you with expert advice (we’ve worked with both types of vents on various projects) and help with the install, since both ridge vents and turtle vents are complex install projects and should be completed by a professional.

A headshot of Viotell's COO and Partner, Anthony Ortega.

Anthony Ortega, COO & Partner

Anthony Ortega is a dynamic and results-driven executive with a proven track record of fostering growth and innovation. With extensive experience in business operations and high-functioning business acumen, Anthony has consistently demonstrated his ability to integrate and optimize complex business processes.

As the Chief Operating Officer of VIOTELL, Anthony oversees all facets of the company’s operations, finance, fabrication, vendor relationships, and client success. His strategic leadership and expertise in operational excellence have been instrumental in driving the company’s sustained growth and competitive edge.

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