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ALPS 06-10-2006 09:20 PM

attic needs vents!
Didn't see any subtopic for attics but this one had the most posts, so...

A year before I bought this house (it's 100 years-old this year), it had a new roof installed. That was 3(?) years ago. No vents were put in the attic. Yes, ice builds up in the winter. Yes, the second floor gets quite warm in the summer. Something needs to be done soon.

Some have said a ridge vent is the only way to go, but recently I was told that if the snow builds upon it (Im in NY) then it stops venting. Also, there are no vents under the soffits to allow air to flow in. So those need to be cut in too and that doesn't look like it'll be an easy job. When I remodeled the 2nd floor, I did put the styrofoam baffles in between the rafters and kept the insulation off the plywood for the roof, planning for this venting job.

The reason I say it dosen't look easy is because there isn't a flat surface to get a saw on. The soffits are not horizontal, they run up, parallel with the roof. And if I remember correctly back to the ceiling job, there may be a 2x4 nailed between each rafter at the ends. Hard to describe, but it's not like you can use a hole saw and pop in some round vents.

I don't want one of those spinning silver vents either, Too ugly. What are my options? I had one guy stop and look. He said ridge vent/soffit vents and also gave a rough esitmate (weeks later through a second party) of $6,000! No surprise he sout of business now. I'm estimating I have 120' of soffits and 100' of ridge. Over half the soffits can be reached from lower levels (porch roofs).

I'm trying to do a lot of the work on this house myself,but I'm not too keen about climbing on the steep roof 2 1/2 stories tall.

Any thoughts??

Square Eye 06-11-2006 12:53 AM

Gable vents.

1 on each end.

Maybe one of those electric fans.

The theory that gets the most argument at the company I used to work for;
Gable vents should not be used with vent-a-ridge. Soffit vents and ridge vents create a draft that gable vents disturb. I agree. Either gable vents or ridge vents, to go with soffit vents.

Soffit vents will not do anything with blocks at the end of the rafters. Don't waste your money there. Gable vents will do more than you think.

Daryl in Nanoose 06-11-2006 08:50 AM

Squareeye is right, install gable vents, you will be surprised how well they work. Another thing comes to mind about your soffitts.
Is it vesible to remove the soffitts, drill holes in those 2x4's and put new soffitts or go into the attic and put some holes in the 2x4's, put some screening over the holes and then go out side with one of those sideways drills and drill into you soffitts for those round venting.

ALPS 06-11-2006 03:44 PM


Originally Posted by Daryl in Nanoose
Is it vesible to remove the soffitts, drill holes in those 2x4's and put new soffitts or go into the attic and put some holes in the 2x4's, put some screening over the holes and then go out side with one of those sideways drills and drill into you soffitts for those round venting.

That may be possible, but it sound like a lot of work. It is an option.

I was told I'd still need to vent the soffits even with gable vents. I realize that the heat would be let of of those vents, but wouldn't it stll need a lower place to draw cooler air in?

I have two ridges intersecting at right angles. From above it would look like a cross or like +. Would I install a vent in each of the four gables?

Square Eye 06-11-2006 04:31 PM

You could go 4 sides. You could just do the sides of the house if you don't like the looks of them on the front.

When I was working for my Dad in the 80s, we had to vent the attics of houses that qualified for government programs. These houses had every imaginable variation of rafters and soffits. We usually put gable vents in just because there had previously had been NO ventilation. Gable vents are quick and easy, inexpensive and effective. When you have more than one in a house, preferably one on either end, they can enable a directional airflow.

Together with soffit vents would be better, but weigh the benefit against the trouble of installation and decide if it's worth it. If you do one and it works out well, do the soffit vents all around.

Gable vents alone would be a huge improvement over nothing.

inspectorD 06-11-2006 07:12 PM

Use the gable vent ideas, with the cross type of roof you will end up with minimal soffit vents anyway.
It sounds like you cannot vent half the roof with valleys in the way due to no air flow in these areas.

Go with gable vent's and stick some fans on the inside of the vent's. These will get makeup air from the interior of the house or the leaky soffit areas hopefully. Make sure all areas to the living space are sealed and insulated very don't want to suck all that conditioned air into the attic.

Or you take the really expensive path and do it soffits and ridge.

Most of all..try this and monitor it. If you start to get miosture buildup, or mold...time to get a pro.;)

Kerrylib 07-17-2006 01:06 PM

Glad to see this topic.

I'm looking at redoing my roof and seeing these opinions it helpful. I have only gable vents on each end of the actic. However, no fans to actually move any air.

I figure when the new roof goes on, I want to install a ridge vent and have soffit vents put in. Also vent out the two bathrooms that currently vent into the actic space.

Good to know about the gable fans disrupting airflow for ridge vent/sofit combination.

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