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NTL1991 05-12-2012 04:28 PM

Ridge Vent with No Soffit Vents? Is it possible?
My home, built in 1948, has a 7/12 gable roof (there are no gable end vents) and an original 2.5/12 shed dormer on the back of the house. There are six skylights, three on the front 7/12 roof, and three on the rear shed roof. The house has a ridge vent, and there are three rooms with cathedral ceilings (converted in 1986 after a fire -- all before I bought the house) on the 3rd floor, which are insulated. The center hall, bath, and bedroom have flat ceilings. There is no attic access, so I'm not sure how much insulation is above the flat ceilings.

I called my roofer (who replaced my roof last year, and who also does siding) because I need to have my aluminum soffits re-secured/replaced along with the fascia. They weren't properly installed when the house was sided years before I bought it.

About five pieces of soffit have fallen down, and I noticed that I cannot see any evidence of a soffit vent. The house has a ridge vent. There are no other roof vents.

I imagine the roofer will be removing the soffit and replacing it because I think it would be hard to match the missing pieces, and if I find no soffit vents, should I have him install them in the soffit? I have never had any ice dams or anything ventilation-related, but I'd like to be sure I'm not sucking warm air from the 3rd floor up into the attic through ceiling outlets and the bath vent...

I'm also having him re-secure the front soffit as well. If I dont have soffit vents there, It'll be a bit more difficult because I'm not sure if there are insulation baffles in place in the cathedral ceilings for a continuous ventilation path up to the ridge.

Any suggestions on what to look for or have done? Thanks!

Here are some pictures which might with visualizing things.

Rear of the House - Notice the drooping fascia and missing soffit on the dormer. You can see where the siding was replaced after the kitchen fire on the 3rd floor.

3rd Floor Living Room. The kitchen is at the right rear of the house.

Roofmaster417 05-12-2012 07:28 PM

You can have Ridge Vent only as long as it contains an external baffle.

Is it ideal ?,,no.IMO a Ridge Vent only ventilation system is limiting the Ridge Vent from reaching max venting potential.

I would add a functioning soffit.

NTL1991 05-12-2012 10:15 PM

That's what I thought... You'd want to admit the air in nice and low, and exhaust it up high. That would ventilate the surface of the roof decking and prevent uneven pockets which would cause ice dams.

I hope to see adequate soffit vents when the roofer pulls the soffits down, but I can't imagine there isn't one in the ~7 foot section that I can see. The house is 30 feet wide, so that doesn't leave much room for an even distribution of vents in the soffit.

I've also read something about soffits below dormers... The article was explaining how soffit vents can allow cold outside air to enter the joist space in remodel dormers, but I don't think that'll be an issue on the front of the house (below the gable dormer) as its an original one. It'll be something to look out for, though.

Roofmaster417 05-13-2012 10:23 AM

Depending on the length of the gutterline and attic space in general I like to install 1 vented soffit for every 2 closed panels.

I have also vented sofits on dormers that have Ridge Vent.

gwa 05-14-2012 02:08 PM

The International Residential Code, as well as most other building codes, require venting at both the eave and ridge of the roof. Current research indicates that the square footage of venting be equal at each and should be a minimum of 1 sq. ft. of open venting per 300 sq. ft. of attic area.

You should definitely add soffit vents to maximize the life of your shingles.

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