Do I really need roof vents / venting ?
I'm about to commence a total tear-off and re-roof on my 1880's upstate NY Victorian. From the HUGE attic, the original slats and underside of the cedar shakes are still visible (and beautiful, *sob*). It is my understanding that these original cedar roofs were able to "breathe". None of the older homes from this period or earlier that I have owned had venting of any kind. Of course, the cedar can no longer breathe, since 4 layers of shingles have been nailed on top.
The roof has 4 large gables. Two contractors have quoted the job, and both included ridge vents, but no soffit vents. I called one back and he'll add 24 3" vent disks to the eaves for $325. But I've just come from the attic and there's floor boards right to the edge of the roof all around, so the eave vents won't fly without cutting though the floor as well, and I feel things are getting out of hand.
I store all kinds of stuff up there. We've lived here for a year now, and it looks like this attic has done fine for 125 years without vents. There's a temp/humidity-controlled window fan with flaps installed, but it only runs on 90-degree+, sunny days in summer, and the only source of air for the fan is are the leaks in all the windows up there and a vent installed thru the attic door that pulls air from the house. We have no A/C, so there's always open windows during the summer.
So, back to my original question: Do I really need ridge and soffit venting? My research indicates I shouldn't have one without the other. I'd love to save the money and put it in the garden where I'm sure to enjoy it more!
And if I DO need venting, any ideas for alternatives to these round eave vents that might not work for me? And please, not box vents? I think they're ugly. It's a beautiful home!