Ventilating your attic can benefit you in a number of ways by preventing ice dams on your roof and decreasing your heating and cooling energy costs. In addition, your will prevent costly repair bills by preventing moisture build up in your attic which affects the insulation and in the end the lifetime of your shingles. Typically, the more air flow in from outside the better but not in all cases!

In the same series of articles:

Why ventilate your attic?
How to Control Moisture in Attics
Attic Moisture and Your Climate
How to Fix a Water Stain on a Ceiling
How to Prevent Icicles and Ice Dams on Roofs
Why and how to install an attic vent
13 possible spots for your roof leak
20 point roof inspection check list
How to replace faulty roof shingles

Regardless of the fact that we have to deal with a new construction or on old house, here are the steps to follow:

Determine the number of vents required

Typically the number of vents should be determined using the following formula: Number of vents = Attic Area / 300

Check building code for your area

Confirm the number of vents with your local building code requirements. For additional information read Attic Moisture and Your Climate.

Determine the location of vents

Layout and measure the location of the vent between the attic rafters. Go to the attic and make sure you properly mark the position of your new vents by either taking measurements from the eavetroughs or from the ridge.

Mark and cut opening for vents

Great piece of advice: measure twice cut once! Make sure you do not inadvertently cut the roof, otherwise you will provide yourself more work to do. You can use a utility knife to cut the shingles and then a reciprocating saw to cut the wood underneath.

Mark and Cut

Appy Caulking

Apply a generous amount of caulking between the roof and the vent.

Mark and Cut

Secure the vents

Place the vents above the openings and secure them with galvanized nails or screws.

Nail Vent

Caulk around the vents

Make sure you properly caulk around the newly installed vents by using an appropriate caulking material for your roof. Do not overlook the nails or screws! Carefully apply caulking on top of all of them.

Mark and Cut

Important Tips:

  • Work on the roof in calm and dry weather
  • For your safety, the ladder should be angled 1/4 of the ladder’s length away from the wall
  • Keep the ground area clear in case something falls off of the roof
  • Avoid power lines and TV antennas while on the roof! You want to install vents on your roof not to get in the news
  • Be aware of footing on the roof. Wear rubber soled shoes and take notice of rotten decking or slippery or loose shingles. You do not want to get yourself in your attic, do you?
  • Make sure you have in-take and out-take vents. Both necessary for a proper ventilation system
  • Leave at least least an inch between the top of the insulation material and the underside of the roof sheathing so the insulation will not block the air flow.

Required Materials:

  • Local building codes
  • Extension ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Screws and driver
  • Calculator
  • Attic vents
  • Drill and drill-bit
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Caulking material for roofs

In the same series of articles:

Why ventilate your attic?
How to Control Moisture in Attics
Attic Moisture and Your Climate
How to Fix a Water Stain on a Ceiling
How to Prevent Icicles and Ice Dams on Roofs
Why and how to install an attic vent
13 possible spots for your roof leak
20 point roof inspection check list
How to replace faulty roof shingles

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