Ridge Ventm, but no Soffets?

dstoneNovember 25, 2013

I've got an 1880's colonial. Someone suggested that I put in a ridge vent on the higher roof (left of the picture). However, I don't see any soffets or other vents that would allow air to flow up and out.

I don't really understand how all this works, but aren't soffets necessary for ridge vents?

There is a semi-finished attic under the roof. The "living" area has a plaster ceiling. There are knee walls with raw space behind them. Kind of like this:

http://www.energysmartohio.com/uploads/content/HalfStoryAFTER_600.gif

But I don't see any spaces for the air to flow up around the "living space".

any thoughts?

This post was edited by dstone on Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 10:45

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HandyMac

Ridge vents operate on the warm air rises principle.that means they need area for air to be drawn into the attic space to function.

The space between rafter tails is usually utilized when the rafters overhang the sides of the structure by utilizing soffit vents. If soffits are part of the roof design but no venting is provided, vents can be cut in the soffits and covered with griloles.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 10:51AM
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live_wire_oak

Without soffit vents, the moisture will stay in the attic and rot it from the inside out. Attics MUST be vented properly. Cathedral ceilings can have a bit less insulation, but they've got to have air flow over that insulation and out the roof. If it's not done properly, the home will suffer.

The other option, if you are in a warm humid climate like the South, is an unvented attic. But, it has to be done properly, with the vapor barrier on the right side of construction, or again, the home will have moisture issues that will cause mold and decay.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 11:29AM
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energy_rater_la

have you looked at soffit area to see if
ventilation can be added?

is there access at exterior into attic
where holes can be cut & screens/grills
installed?
a ridge vent without soffit vents won't work
well with out soffit vents.
is there no ventilation in attic at all?
no gable end vents?

any signs of excessive moisture in attic?

cold climate or hot climate?

beautiful home btw.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 4:11PM
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dkenny

ok..call me a pemissist.
the house was built in the 1880's
not ridgevent..not sofit vent..

WHY do you need a ridgevent? oh..because someone thinks you do..
well..um..for the last 100+ year it didn't have one..why?? does it suddenly 'NEED' one?

do you still have gable vents?..keep them..forget the ridge vent..
its my opinion they don't work as well as claimed..they don't keep the attic cool.
sorry..I research into the matter..and to date..I've found no good evidence that ridge vents/soffit vents work.got a link?

we built our house in NC 18 yrs ago..it has ridge vents and soffit vents..100%
but the electric fan for venting still runs..its set for 115F..??
is runs after adding refletex insulation to the bottom of the rafters..

got links..to show otherwise..I'd like to see them.

forget the ridge vents..a waste of money on a 100+ year old house.
want to save money..insulate the upper floor ceilings..R38 or more.
walls? R15 or more
floor?? R19 or more
seal the air leaks..

-dkenny

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 5:03PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

You need a roofer that understands ventilation and how to make your system work as compared to just "putting in a ridge vent".

You do need soffits to make the ridge work but that doesn't mean that its the right application for your home.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:53AM
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renovator8

The purpose of attic venting differs with the climate. Because we don't now where the house is located we can't provide a specific answer to the question.

In general, roof insulation is more effective than any kind of venting for cooling an attic.

In general, a ridge vent is more effective than gable vents or mechanical fans for reducing moisture in an attic.

Of primary concern is the possibility that strong venting will create a negative pressure and draw conditioned air into the unconditioned attic space.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 9:34PM
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