Roof vents

Published on November 4th, 2013 | by Henri

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Proper roof venting helps keep house cool

Q.    I live in a split-level home where the upstairs rooms are always cooler than the living and dining rooms on the main level during the summer. The upstairs level has soffits and three roof vents but the lower level has no soffits and only one roof vent. I suspect that little, if any, air movement is occurring.

I want to install an attic fan in the lower level’s roof and know I need to provide outside air for proper flow and ventilation. I plan on installing a soffit vent where the outside wall of the house abuts the attic but I’m wondering if cutting soffits into the roof’s eave is more effective.

A.    Better than an attic fan (which can draw conditioned air whenever it is running), why not try a combination of continuous ridge and soffit vents?

The cap shingles of the lower roof should be removed carefully and, if possible, reused over Shinglevent II — an externally baffled ridge vent. The roof sheathing will need to be cut back two inches on each side of the ridge before the ridge vent can be installed. Since you mention cutting into the soffits, you should have enough room to install 2-inch wide, off-the-shelf, perforated metal soffit vent strips.

Make sure there is a corresponding air space of at least 1-1/2 inches between the soffit and ridge vents to allow for an adequate air flow. You should also consider adding insulation in this attic; it would go a long way to keep solar heat at bay. You may even want to do the same in the upper roof.

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