How to Replace a Roof Turbine

By Denise Brown

A tremendous amount of heat can build up inside the attic of your home. Continuous ridge and soffit ventilation passively allows overheated air to exit your home. A roof turbine that spins gently in the wind is a more active system to remove stale, overheated air. A replacement roof turbine with sealed ball bearings that enable it to spin freely in the wind will move air more effectively than a creaky, old unit. Turbine, or whirlybird, vents are simple to replace if you have basic carpentry skills.

List of Items Needed

  • Pry bar
  • Putty knife
  • Jigsaw
  • Handheld cutting tool
  • Roofing cement
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  1. Pry up the bottom of the shingles that are lying over the top of the roof turbine base, using a pry bar. Be careful not to damage the shingles or you may need to replace them.

  2. Scrape away any roofing tar that remains over the nail heads holding the old turbine on the roof, using a putty knife. Pry up the nails with a pry bar. Pull the old turbine off of the roof and discard it.

  3. Check the size of the hole in the roof sheathing to make sure it is large enough for the new turbine. If necessary, enlarge the hole with a jigsaw or a handheld cutting tool.

  4. Spread roofing cement on the underside of the new turbine base and set the base over the opening. Position it so that the upper portion of the base slides under the shingles you pried up. The lower half of the base should rest on top of the shingles that lay below the turbine.

  5. Turn the top section of the turbine base so that it is parallel with the roof ridge. Set a carpenter’s level on it as you turn the base to level it. Attach the locking bracket that holds the turbine at the proper angle with the screws that come in the assembly kit. Seal the inside seams with roofing cement.

  6. Drive roofing nails through the holes in the turbine base into the roof’s sheathing, using a hammer. Place the nails every 4 to 6 inches. Cover all nails with roofing cement.

  7. Set the whirlybird portion of the turbine on the base and align the connecting holes. Connect the two pieces with screws from the assembly kit. At this point the turbine should spin freely. Bend any fins damaged in transit to fix a turbine that doesn’t spin properly.

  8. Examine the area around the installation. Add roofing cement to any exposed area that might possibly leak.

Tips and Warnings

  • One 12-inch turbine roof vent can move 347 cubic feet of air per minute at a wind speed of five miles per hour.
  • Use caution when using a ladder and working on the roof. Wear safety glasses if you need to do any cutting.

© Demand Media 2011