Ridge Vents and 2nd Floor Conversions

February 12, 2011 | Filed under: Home Ventilation, Misc, Roofing Answers

A homeowner from Tennessee wrote and asked me:

Q: I have ridge vents for a metal roof that I had installed this past year. To prevent wasps and leaves from coming in, the roofer told me he’d put metal screens in the vent. However, a man he sent over put in a black foam that he claimed was made just for the purpose. I’m worried that it won’t vent. There didn’t seem to be any air movement up there when I stuck my hand in. This will be a big problem, because I’m putting a room up there myself. Under the roof, there will be a space and then insulation and a sheetrock ceiling. What do you think? How should debris and insects be kept out without negating the venting of the roof?

My response is as follows:

A: Congrats on your metal roof. You are smart to be making sure it functions properly.

And, if you’re going to turn this area into a living space, you want to make sure that you have good ventilation to carry out unwanted heat and moisture and also, if you live in a cold climate, to help keep the roof deck cold and minimize the risk of ice damming.

Too often adding rooms in an attic can result in problems with these things.

There are a variety of materials that could work as filter media in your ridge vent. Additionally, some ridge vents just have small perforated holes and do not need filter media at all.

One of the first keys to what you have is to make sure you have adequate soffit vents for intake. You want to be able to bring in as much fresh air as your ridge vent is capable of exhausting.

Obviously, I cannot answer whether the material they added allows for airflow. However, if things are working properly, you should be able to hold a piece of tissue paper or tape or a smoke pen up by the ridge vent and see evidence of air flowing out of the vent.

If not, then I would have the contractor come back and examine things. Also, if you need another opinion, Milton Tunnell is the smartest metal roofing guy I know of in your area.

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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