Everything You Need To Know About Roof Penetration


A roof is a complex element of a building that requires proper waterproofing, roofing material, and penetrations. To remain in good condition, a roof must not only be protected from outside forces with strong, durable roof tiles, but it must also be protected from heat and moisture buildup, mainly through proper ventilation achieved through different types of roof penetration.

What Is Roof Penetration?

Roof penetration refers to the holes made in a roof to install vents, skylights, chimneys, and air conditioning units.

Types Of Roof Penetration

The main goal of different roof penetration types is to allow air and moisture to escape the home while maintaining a delicate balance between releasing too much and containing too much. There are different types of roof penetrations that serve different purposes.


Vents allow air and moisture to escape the interior and attic of a building. There are different types of vents geared towards different purposes.

  • Turbine vents are round and are designed to spin when the wind blows allowing them to actively suck the air out of the attic area. They are sometimes referred to as “whirlybirds.”

  • Hood vents work in kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans, through the roof rather than through the attic, to allow moisture to escape into the air rather than become trapped in the attic.

  • Ridge vents are installed into the ridge of the roof and then covered with ridge cap shingles to protect the vent and effectively hide them from view. This type of vent allows for continuous ventilation from the interior of the home and attic while protecting the vent from wind, rain, snow, and debris.


Skylights allow natural light to enter a home through the roof.

Mounting Hardware

Mounting hardware that is used to install satellite dishes, solar panels, and any other rooftop device is also classified as a roof penetration.


A chimney is used to release smoke,hot air, and gasses created by the fire inside the fireplace or stove, but it is also responsible for allowing enough air into the fireplace or stove to allow the fire to burn clean.

The Impact Of Roof Penetration On A Structure

Often, roof penetrations, namely vents, are responsible for managing the release of heat and moisture from the interior of a building. As hot air rises into the attic, roof vents allow it to escape, in order to create a more consistent interior temperature. This is especially important to control indoor temperatures as well as to reduce energy costs.

Roof vents also allow moist air to escape the building. Without a place to go, moisture can gather in the attic, especially above bathrooms that release hot, humid air from the shower. Without proper ventilation, moisture can damage the structural integrity of the building by creating mold and mildew. This can also lead to bad smells and health hazards.

In urban areas, the urban heat island effect can make urban areas hotter than surrounding rural areas, by as much as 22 degrees in some areas. Creating roof ventilation that allows the proper amount of heat to escape, along with other strategies like cool roofs and green roofs can help to mitigate these effects.

Other roof penetrations such as skylights and mounting hardware for solar panels can also help to reduce energy costs by allowing natural light into a space and creating solar energy.

How To Avoid Issues When Penetrating A Roof

The individual roof penetration details will determine the exact needs for installation. Flashings are required where roof penetrations enter the roof plane. Flashings are intended to prevent leaks and keep moisture from entering the roof and attic.

A cricket or saddle is required on the ridge side of a chimney or any roof penetration greater than 30 inches to further protect from moisture leaking under the roofing materials and into the attic.

Inspecting all roof penetrations to ensure they are sealed properly with flashing and waterproofing methods will help to prevent leaks from rain and snow.

Proper Penetrations Can Help Protect The Roof

Where roof penetrations are inadequate or improperly installed, heat and moisture can build up in the attic, causing damage to the wood framing, rafters, roof deck, underlayment, and eventually, the roof tiles.

To mitigate these risks, installing the proper ventilation and properly sealing all roof penetrations will help to keep the roof looking great and protect it from damage. Brava’s line of synthetic roof tiles allows for the installation of roof penetrations so your roof is protected against damage from heat and moisture.

Contact the experts at Brava today to discuss the best roofing material for your project.