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Beth777 07-05-2008 01:10 PM

Big trouble with gable vents!
*sigh* We're painting our masonry wood-sided ranch home, and wanted to replace our 2 rotted-out wooden gable vents with updated plastic ones.

Original gable vents installed were apparently hand-made of wood. Spacing and angle of slats has allowed birds and rain to come into our attic, which has allowed wet bird poop to roll down the inside of the attic wall underneath where they've perched. We've removed the dead birds and extra poop, and are trying to fix the problem.

So we ordered replacement plastic gable vents from Lowe's. 24" x 30"
$65 each. My husband thought the vents were both 24" x 30"...but he only measured one of the 2 vents. Surprise!...they are not both the same size!

Turns out one gable is 26 1/2" wide rather than 24" wide, so we have a fitting problem. Also, the 2 x 4 wood frame under the gable sits very deeply on the house, so that the plastic frame of the gable vent would be recessed pretty deeply in the house if we just nailed it in like that. Because wood is thicker than plastic.

Should we try to reframe the cut hole to make the vent fit? It might need kind of an extra window frame kind of work done to fill in the extra 1 1/2" where the vent is narrower than the cut hole. We are not replacing the wood siding, just painting it, so we can't make the plastic vent actually fit without some sort of extra framing. It might look a little strange when it's done, even if we can get a nice wooden frame custom-built for it...

Or should we try to hand-make our own awkward wooden attic vent to fit?

(Our house was orginally built as a demo sample home for a new subdivision...and has LOTS of very unfortunate cut corners in its construction. We have to keep on re-forgiving the big-time contractor every time we find a new irregular "detail" like this. Let's just say if we had known more about the house, we would have put a lower offer on it in the first place!)

clasact 07-05-2008 02:24 PM

I take it Lowes wont take it back and let you order the right size barring that I would find a good carpenter in your area I am sure he could box it in where you wouldnt even know it had been replaced or if you think your up to it go for it but it just sounds like it may be a tricky fit

Beth777 07-05-2008 04:43 PM

It's an odd sized opening that nobody makes vents for
Lowe's would take them back if we want to take them back...but the real problem is that nobody makes this odd size. So I can't order one that fits, from anywhere. :(

clasact 07-05-2008 04:48 PM

Is their a custom wood working place any where near you the would and could make it to fit perfectly if you dint know try a cabinet maker he would know where you could get it made if not your back to a frame

Ron6519 07-06-2008 01:51 PM

I would reframe both openings so the vents sat where they needed to be. The larger opening would need to have the wood siding redone around the area. This way when you were done, both openings would be a standard size.

Beth777 07-07-2008 12:00 AM

We'll get help with it
Thanks very much for the input!

Having tried our hardest to figure out a good solution that would not damage the wood siding, we're arriving at the dreaded conclusion that we're going to have to get help with this repair project!

Getting the wood siding replaced around the top of the house is too daunting a task for us at our current level of construction skills, so I'll begin inquiring tomorrow.

We're not so sure if we can find wood siding that will be close to matching what we have up there...will investigate help and supplies!

Ron6519 07-07-2008 08:36 AM

Wood can be profiled pretty easily with the correct tools. Any competant carpenter should be able to make it on site or in a shop.

4just1don 07-07-2008 11:40 AM

how about a rough opening change to right size,,,then filled in siding space,,,then some plastic lumber or other trim to COVER all the additional new siding,,,that hides and weather proofs it??

Aged1 07-30-2008 02:34 PM

I just finished re-siding our house. Our gable vents were 18 years old and the gable vents were both in terrible condition. I hunted and hunted for vents that matched the original fairly well (architectural covenants) and didn't like the look of those at Lowes. And I reallllly didn't want them to rot out like the originals so after I saw how simple the old ones were, I decided to build my own.

I bought PVC 1x4 lumber and cut all the slats to exact length. I cut a 45 degree bevel on the front edge of the slats (you can do this on the boards before cutting to length). I built a box and mounted them using by driving in galvanized nails with a finish nailer. (Hammer and nails work fine if not as fast. Stainless screws would work well also.)

I made the box with a 24" 1x4 across the top and two 30" 1x4s for the two sides. For the bottom sill, I glued and nailed two 1x4 boards and cut a bevel to so water would run off the edge.

The slats are angled and deep enough to prevent any water intrusion unless you spray from below.

I attached a screen wire (hardware cloth would work also) to prevent birds, squirrels and other critters out.

You can paint it any color you want.

Using a tablesaw it only takes a few hours to make.

This way, you can makeit any size you want and not have to mess with your siding which is not a fun job, not to mention cost.

Good luck.

Beth777 08-11-2008 07:32 AM

Update: Gable vent trouble is SOLVED!!!
We made the Lowe's vents fit, and it looks great!!! :) :) :)

Okay, maybe not as great as custom vents, styled to personal taste, still looks great, and is solidly weather-proof!!! Thanks so much for valuable advice here that kept us from making a mistake....and thanks to a creative friend and his tools!!!

The Solution:

1. Cut away a very small amount of exterior siding to make just enough room to sneak in the vent (nicely straight and even this time!!!)

2. Carefully loosen the edges of several siding boards, then put up extra flashing for the sake of confidence.

3. Slip the vinyl vent edges under the edges of the loosened siding boards, then nail down.

4. Put up a new wood frame around the vinyl vent, specially cut to fit, nicely level with the siding. All carefully caulked. Appearance blends nicely, nothing awkward!!!

I love happy endings!!! :)

As DIY newbies, we are learning a lot more than we bargained for when we decided to paint the house ourselves! The adventure continues...

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