Old Types of Roof Vents

Roof vents historically were not only functional but also added to the look of a home. When restoring or renovating older homes, many people prefer to keep the original architectural look but add efficiency. Luckily, roof vents can be purchased today that have the old style look but are more efficient in ventilating roofs and attics.

Cupola Roof Vent

  • The Family Handyman website states that “In the days before roof and ridge vents, a cupola was the most effective way to ventilate a stable, barn or even a house and with new, rot-resistant materials they still work well.” Cupola roof vents were common on older homes and farmhouses in the 1900s. Today they can be bought new to mimic the old-fashioned roof vents of yesterday. A cupola roof vent is not only functional, it is considered to be an architectural accent to a home’s look and is available in styles ranging from very simple to ornate.

Gable Roof Vent

  • Gable roof vents are traditionally positioned just under the roof, leading into an attic. The Aubuchon Hardware website states: “As a rule, gable vents are the least effective type of vent, because air circulates only near the gables and does not wash the entire roof.” However, it is possible to purchase decorative replicas of the old style gable roof vents for older homes that are being restored.

Turbine Wind Vent

  • The advantage of the old style turbine roof vents is that they do not require electricity because they use wind to ventilate the roof. The Old House Web website states that “If you live in an area that tends to have hot, still summers, turbine vents probably won’t get the job done.”

Eyebrow Roof Vent

  • Eyebrow, or half round roof vents, became popular in American in the late 1900s and were created by architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The Richardson eyebrow version of the roof vent includes a window to bring not only ventilation to the roof and attic but to also add light. Simpler versions of this old style roof vent do not include a window.
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