Adequate roof and attic ventilation systems are an absolute necessity for the structural integrity and health of any home. Soffit vents allow cool air to enter the attic and as it gets warmer up, hot air is forced up from the attic floor by convection to exit the home through ridge vents or other exhaust vents on the roof peaks. This helps regulate temperatures in your home and makes it more energy efficient.

Poor ventilation could lead to issues like mold and rot, increasing energy bills, ice dams, temperature swings, and even compromise your roofing structure itself.

In this short read, we’re going to introduce you to one of the most commonly used types of roofing vents known as turtle vents.

What are turtle vents?

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Turtle vents are probably the most commonly used type of vents used in home roofing. You’re likely to have seen them on the edge of roof peaks. Turtle vents are also commonly known as box vents or louvers, and are static exhaust vents.

Box vents are very easy to install, even on an already completed roofing project. They get their name from the round caps that are a part of their design, giving them a turtle-like appearance.


Turtleback vents are not very expensive, with the cost of each vent ranging from $10 and $50. The number of vents you need to install for efficient ventilation depends on the size of your roof. The general rule of thumb to install box vents is that you will need one square foot of venting for every 150 square feet of roofing.

Ridge vents, on the other hand, are more energy efficient, so you will need one square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of roofing.

How to install a louver

Installing static vents like louvers is a job usually best left to roofing contractors who have the proper knowledge and skills for the job. However, if you do feel up to the task, here is a quick look at the procedure.

Mark the locations

Choose a spot at least 2 feet down the peak of your roof and drive a nail in that spot to mark where you will install the vent. This will mostly raise the shingles, so you easily recognize the spot.

Clearing space

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You will need to clear space to install the vents. This part needs caution since you will need to use a ladder to get on the roof of your house from the outside. Use a claw hammer to loosen the shingles and cut them out with a utility knife. Use chalk to mark out the space to install the vent.

Cutting the roof

Use a reciprocal saw to cut through the roof, but not through any rafters. Make sure to wear protective eye gear so as not to get any sawdust into your eyes. Strictly follow the outline you had marked for the vent.

Installing the vent

Using a caulk gun, apply an even layer of adhesive around the hole you cut. Press the vent into place. Secure it using nails.

Start with the corners and then add a nail four or five inches apart. While some vents may come with holes for the nails, you may need to make them for others.

Read more: Ridge caps and vents

Pros and cons

Here are some of the advantages of turtle vents.

  1. They are low-profile vents, so they will not stick out on the roof and affect the curb appeal of your home.
  2. They are designed to help make your home more energy efficient by regulating your attic temperature. 

While we’re at it, let’s also take a look at its disadvantages.

  1. Being a static venting system, it relied only on convection to work. This makes it less efficient than other options.
  2.  Box vents are not as efficient as ridge vents.
  3. If not installed properly, they will be an entry point for water, pests, and wind-borne debris, which could damage your roof, roof deck, attic and more.
A brief introduction to turtle vents was last modified: January 3rd, 2023 by Narayan Shrouthy
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