Types of soffit vents

Updated November 21, 2016

Soffit vents allow air to flow into the attic. They help to prevent the build-up of ice on the roof in winter, and reduce heat in the summer. When an attic is not adequately ventilated, shingles will begin to weaken and curl, which can ultimately lead to water leaks and damage. soffit vents are available in two basic types, which are individual and continuous. The individual soffit vent is used most often because one person can install it, and there are multiple variations of individual soffit vents to choose from.

Individual Soffit Vents

The length and width of individual soffit vents vary, and the size of vent used is based on the length and width of the individual sections of soffit. The average widths of this type of soffit vent are 4 to 16 inches, but they can be up to 22 inches long. Individual vents are typically constructed out of wood, aluminium or PVC, but you can also find soffit vents constructed out of copper. The screen backing is designed to help keep pests, such as bees, out of your soffit.

Custom Shape Soffit Vents

Custom shapes are available with individual soffit vents. Round soffit vents range in size from 3 to 6 inches, and square soffit vents are available in sizes that range from 5-by-5 inches to 7 1/2-by-10 1/2 inches. These particular shapes are often found on custom homes.

Continuous Soffit Vents

Continuous soffit vents are long and narrow to accommodate homes that have extremely narrow sections of soffit. This type of vent is approximately 96 inches long, which is the length of a section of soffit, and 2 inches wide. The narrow width is designed to accommodate extremely narrow soffits. This type of vent is constructed out of PVC or aluminium.


There are options available when a home is built with soffit that is two narrow for any type of soffit vent to fit. The flat upper portion of the vented drip edge is designed to slide up under the first row of shingles, and the vented edge rests against the fascia board. This type of vent still allows proper air flow to reach the attic.

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About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).