Bathroom Vent Soffit Vs. Roof: Things You Need To Know

It is usually difficult to decide what type of vent to install in the bathroom when designing bathrooms. There are several types of vents available for use in bathrooms.

Example of such includes: wall vents, wall to ceiling vents, soffit, and roof vents. The two most popular being the soffit and the roof vent.

With the way homes are built and designed in modern times, there is usually not enough room for ventilation, even though it is important to consider. Thus, getting either one of these vents is highly recommended.

Is There A Difference Between Soffit And Roof Vent? 

Many people have been asking whether there is a difference between a soffit and a roof vent. While they may both perform similar functions, there is a difference between the two items. 

The purpose of the soffit and roof are similar, but they are different in performance. The soffit takes away moisture from the bathroom in a downward motion while the roof vent takes the moisture upwards. 

Again, soffit is easy to install, and anyone can fix it. On the other hand, a Roof vent requires a person skilled in installing it at home. 

Keep reading to find out more.

Roof Vent

Some bathrooms may not have windows, or the space may not be enough for air circulation. Roof vents are metal vents installed on the roof of bathrooms to aid air circulation. Thus, the roof vent regulates the temperature in the bathroom.

A great way to tie your bathroom remodel together is by installing custom vessel sinks. These sinks are very modern and a great addition to any bathroom update.

The moist goes through the roof. Usually, the roof venting removes the moisture and takes it out of the house. It is a popular venting method for many.

Naturally, air and moist usually goes up. Therefore, roof vents make it easy for the humid air from your bathroom to escape into the atmosphere.

This venting system is quite challenging to install, but the roof vent remains inconspicuous if installed properly. It does not necessarily ruin the structure of your house.

Examples of roof vents are ridge vents, off-ridge vents, box vents (aka louver vents), hard-wired powered attic vents, roof turbines, etc. It is also advisable to get an expert opinion when installing any of these vents.


Not everyone likes the idea of opening their roofs for any reason. It is why you will find many people opt for soffit vents for their bathroom fans. Not only is it easy to install, but it is also easier to maintain.

Soffit is like an underbelly designed to circulate air through the attic from the bathroom. Soffits drain hot, humid air and moist into the attic. It will also bring back fresh air through the insulation, which is more like a vacuum.

Note that some soffits are installed into the ceiling, like roof vents. However, unlike the roof vents which open on the outside, soffits may be channeled into the ceiling or the attic.

Pros And Cons Of A Roof Vent 


  • Heat and moisture naturally seek to rise, so going through the roof is easy and keeps the dampness out of your bathroom
  • Keeps the dampness away from walls, windows, etc
  • There is also a lesser chance of growing mold, mildew in the attic.


  • Can be clogged with heavy snow, fallen leaves, bed nests, etc.
  • Roof vents are not easy to install, so if you are normally a DIY person, this is one area where you may require a skilled professional.
  • Leakage may be encountered if not installed properly. Nobody likes a leaking roof, thus having splatters of raindrops in your bathroom due to leakage may be something of a nightmare for homeowners. Not to mention the cost that will go into repair or fixing damages caused by the leakage.

Pros And Cons Of Soffit 


  • Easy to install: It is easier to install the soffit vent, unlike the roof or wall vent. If you love do-it-yourself installations, the soffit vent is your best match. Installing it yourself would save the money you would have spent hiring a professional to install it.

However, the soffit vent is not legal in all states. You should confirm the local law applicable in your state before you install. Otherwise, you might attract fines unknowingly.

  • No worries with leaks: Soffit vents drain naturally downward and do not open outside, so there’s no chance of leaking in your house. It drains into the attic. You do not have to
  • Lesser worries about blockages: Unlike roof vents, soffits have a lesser likelihood of getting clogged. It is also easy to clean and drain. You may not have to worry about clogging for a while.
  • Preferable in cold weather.


  • The major issue about the soffit vents is they might not be effective in removing the moisture and air from your bathroom. Because the ventilation is static, it only recirculates and redistributes it around the attic. The air does not leave the bathroom completely. It only filters it and returns it.
  • It could cause mold to grow on the walls of the bathroom and the attic.
  • The humidity could also soften and weaken the wooden part of the attic and cause it to collapse. The moisture and humidity could also find their way back into your bathroom or house, thereby giving it a damp smell.

Do People Prefer Soffit Or Roof Vent? 

According to the Canadian Contractor, a vent in the roof is often cited as the better option, but a soffit is the better option in colder areas where there is heavy snow. Yet, others believe that it is easier to vent through the roof than through the soffit.

While each side has given their reasons for choosing either option (check the pros and cons stated earlier), it seems the choices are a 50-50 thing among contractors and homeowners.

The bottom line here is that people use either one of the two. In the end, it is more of a question of ease, accessibility, location of the house, and type of house.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Bath Vent

There are certain things to consider when choosing a vent for your bathroom. These factors will invariably determine whether you go for a roof or soffit. Some of these factors include:

  • Size of the bathroom: For spacious bathrooms with enough windows, it may be necessary to choose soffits over roof vents. The most important thing is to ensure there is proper ventilation and circulation of air within the bath.

But where the bathroom is small with little or no window, you might need a roof vent to get all that damp air out of the room.

  • Size of the roof: As mentioned earlier, you can install some soffits beneath the roof. Roof vents, on the other hand, are made solely for the roof. Thus, if the portion of the roof covering the bath area is small, installing a roof vent may not be practical.

In that case, a soffit becomes the best option. If the roof is spacious enough to contain a roof vent, you still get to decide what is best for you.

  • Location: For houses located in areas with heavy and long periods of snowfall, Soffits are the best options as there will be fewer incidents of being clogged with snow. Whereas houses located where there is less snowfall can opt for roof vents.
  • The number of outlets in the bathroom: Just like when we talked about the size of the bathroom, many windows will mean going for a soffit. Lesser windows make a roof vent desirable.
  • Materials used in making the roof vents or soffit: Soffits are made of different materials such as vinyl, wood, aluminum, steel, or fiber cement. Steel and aluminum are non-inflammable, whereas vinyl is easy to clean and maintain. The material you choose will determine where you will install the soffit.

The roof vent is mostly made of metal, and the type of metal will determine the part of the roof to fix it. Sometimes you may find that the material a roof vent is made of may not match with the roofing of your house, and this may inform the decision to go for a soffit instead.

  • Local laws: Some states in Canada and the USA have specific legislation regarding the type of ventilation system installed in a home. Some legislation goes ahead also to choose a specific soffit material. Kindly check with your local authorities before deciding which one you want.


Using either a soffit or roof vent is a question of choice. Arguments have swayed either for or against both sides, so it depends on a homeowner’s choice. Another thing to consider, however, is whether the house is located in a cold or mild thermal region, as this will play a huge role in determining the best option. There are also the local laws of a place when making such a decision.

Now that we have considered the ups and downsides of installing either soffit or roof vent, which do you prefer?

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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