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kjjb0204 12-12-2011 03:23 PM

Is my ridge vent actually venting?
Hi all. New member here. I'm finding out so many things about our house that it's becoming very frustrating. Typical colonial in New England, hip roof, blown fiberglass in the attic. The problem is the major ice dams forming every winter that have forced me to repair several ceilings and walls throughout the home over the past couple of winters. Anyhow, I have soffit vents and a ridge vent, but I'm doubting if either are installed properly. There is no light coming from the soffit areas in the attic, so I pulled off a couple soffit vents, pulled back the insulation and can now see plenty of light coming through. The problem now is that the ridge vent doesn't look like I think it should. The gap is there but it looks like it's completely sealed with what I think are shingles? I held an incense stick all around the ridge vent and there is no air movement whatsoever. Could it be the builder just didn't cut out the paper or shingles above the opening and I can do that? I'll try to add a photo later when I'm home.

As a result of my horrible attic ventilation, I have horrible ice dams on the outside and plenty of signs of moisture inside. Home built in 2002. Lesson for me here is that I did not have an inspection done when we bought it because we had already lived here for 3 years as renters and my agent said I probably would have noticed any issues after living there so long.

Anyhow, any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

oldognewtrick 12-12-2011 03:57 PM

You should be able to see light from the sofit when the suns out. Yes it is entirely possible that the vent was never cut out, was not cut out properly or the shingles were run up and over the ridge. You should see the bottom of the plastic vent, not shingles.

Oh, and :welcome: to House Repair Talk!

kjjb0204 12-12-2011 04:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks. Here's a pic of the vent. The black material looks like those green 3m scrubby pads, only black. Underside of the shingles?

oldognewtrick 12-12-2011 04:14 PM

No that looks like the bottom of Cobra roll vent. I don't like that type of vent, our experience with it is that it doesn't work well.

kjjb0204 12-12-2011 05:21 PM

If it's the Cobra vent, would it be normal then for there to be no actual gap anywhere along that cutout between the black material and the plywood? I've only cleaned up 4 of the 60 soffit vent spaces, so maybe once I open them all up I'll notice some air movement up and out the ridge vent? Right now the smoke from the incense stick just hovers when I hold it up there.

kjjb0204 12-12-2011 05:25 PM

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Sorry, not sure if I should post this here or in the insulation topic thread. Figured since it's all part of the same attic venting problem it might be ok here. You can see where I've removed two of the soffit vents and pulled the insulation back so now I can see light coming through. Any reason why I shouldn't just do that all the way around?

nealtw 12-12-2011 06:44 PM

What you need is some batt insulation to hold thoses shoots in place and stop the loose insulation from falling into to soffit area.

kjjb0204 12-12-2011 08:13 PM

There actually is some batt insulation in there, it's just buried under the loose stuff. It's just one small piece between rafters at the end. I think they tried to do it the right way when the built the house, but I'm just going to take out all of those vents and pull any insulation away from the soffits. If that doesn't fix the poor ventilation then it must be the ridge vent. I find it amazing that the house is only 9 years old and wasn't built to more exacting specifications.

nealtw 12-12-2011 10:14 PM

I get that your trying to get the vents working, but when you have that solved you still need insulation above the outside wall or you will cause ice damming and roof leaks. To check for air movement I would think a couple 100 watt lights close to the ridge for a few hours would cause enough heat to do the test with smoke. Even with good venting air dosn't always move, adding heat will help.

BridgeMan 12-13-2011 02:17 PM

A few years ago, my neighbor in Colorado had a similar situation. He complained about his ridge vent not doing much venting, even on a warm, windy day with lots of sunshine. I went up into his attic, where it had to be more than 125 degrees F., like an oven. The underside of his vent looked identical to yours. Soffit vents were open, with deep baffles in all of them to keep the insulation from blocking air flow. On the roof, there was no sign of any warm air exiting the ridge vent.

I suggested he buy a few rectangular box vents to install at each end of the roof. He bought either 3 or 4, and the next day I made the sheathing cut to install the first one. When the plywood broke free, the face full of sawdust and blast of hot air told me that the ridge vent hadn't been functional at all.

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