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What is the Difference Between a Gable, a Soffit, and a Ridge Vent?

Replacement Roof Severn Maryland Home

When trying to gain an understanding of the parts of a roof, we can turn to Google for a basic definition of three exterior components.




  1. the part of a wall that encloses the end of a pitched roof
  2. a gable-shaped canopy over a window or door




noun: soffit; plural noun: soffits

  1. the underside of an architectural structure such as an arch, a balcony, or overhanging eaves

ridge vent



noun: ridge vent; plural noun: ridge vents

  1. a type of vent installed at the peak of a sloped roof which allows warm, humid air to escape a building's attic
  2. most common on shingled residential buildings

These 3 parts work together to cool or heat your home, depending on the season. They even allow air to permeate the entrances and keep your home more comfortable. Here’s how it works:

Soffit vents allow fresh air to gain entrance under the eaves. Then, thanks to the natural thermal effect, the hot, trapped air in your attic rises. And, rather than struggle to find its way out of small gable vents, it pours out of your ridge vent that runs along the top of your roofline.

Read more about ventilation in this blog post.

Let’s Consider a Gable

Most roofs, especially those in Maryland, have a gable. The pitch looks like a triangle on an A frame. It’s not uncommon for roofs like these to be covered in asphalt shingles. Professional roofers are well-versed in replacing the shingles on these roofs after aging or exterior damage from a storm.

Distinguish a Vented Soffit vs. Non-Vented Soffit

Every home has different ventilation requirements. A vented soffit has holes in it to allow more air to flow to the attic and under the roof. It’s very important to have a baffle in this case so that air can flow to the attic without getting stuck. In the worst cases this can build up moisture inside your home. Conversely, a non-vented soffit is solid and can be more restrictive of air flow. This can be effective for keeping the roof and the home warmer.

What is a Ridge Vent?

Ridge vents are installed to help air escape from the peak of a roof. They’ll commonly go from one side of the roof to the other and provide ventilation. Ridge vents are efficient and can be made of plastic or aluminum.

Your RoofPRO team can help you identify areas for improvement during your free estimate. Call 410 ROOF PRO to make an appointment!

Tags in this article: Roof and Attic Ventilation

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