Wildfire Prevention Tip #5 – Screen the Ridge Vents

November 14th, 2013


Roof and attic spaces are vented by a variety of different types of vents. The more common ones are soffit vents installed in the eave soffits (usually horizontally installed under eaves); end-gable vents (usually vertically installed in the vertical end gables of a roof); turbine attic vents (usually installed vertically on the sloped portion of the roof); and roof ridge vents (along the horizontal peak of the roof ridge). This article will address roof ridge vents.


There is quite an extensive selection of roof ridge vents ranging across metal, plastic, wood, compressed synthetic material, and roof shingle materials. A Google search for “roof ridge vent” returns information illustrating many of the manufactured roof ridge vents. A few of those vents show screens in the vent edge area, but they are made of expanded metal and appear to have fairly large openings. To protect from ember intrusion during a fire event, guidelines recommend use of metal screening material with 1/8” or smaller openings.

To see if your roof ridge vents are wildfire-resistant, first inspect your roof ridge vents along the opening slot on both edges of the vent on the roof to determine if it has the metal screening described above. Then using a flashlight, check the inside of the attic space to see if the ridge vent opening is visible and if it has screening there.

The roof ridge vent is primarily a long covering or “hood” bent over the length of roof ridge that allows air to vent out of the attic or the insulated roof construction space itself. The vent space is usually right under the hood and leaves a 1” to 2” slot where the air exhausts out of the attic. This long slot on each side of the hood length can be open into the attic space, have a synthetic material, or have a screen. If it does not have a metal screen with 1/8” or smaller openings, it is suggested that such a screen be installed along the length of the slot. For composition shingle roofs, stapling the screen to the shingle is a simple attachment method, or if the vent has vertical struts holding it up from the roof, screwing the screen to the struts is also an option. Because wind-blown embers can accumulate in such spaces, it is best to have the screen as close to the edge of the hood as possible, thus reducing the area for embers to be deposited. (NOTE: Also be sure that the ends of all ridge vents are closed. There are several end pieces in the Google search information mentioned earlier.)

If you want professional assistance, the internet information referenced above identifies several manufacturers / companies as contacts. There are also several roofing specialists in Austin who would be able to help in this effort. Ensuring that the roof ridge vents are protected is vital to making your home wildfire-hardened.

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