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Old 03-05-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


My husband and I are in the process of getting proposals to have our roof replaced and we are totally confused.

We live in Maryland and have a 30 year old Colonial 2 story house. Our house has (I believe this is the correct term) lots of hips, 2 peaks and valleys.

Currently the house has two ridge vents (one over the "house" and one over the garage) and 1 electric attic fan (house) that was retro-fitted by the previous owner.

We have had two different proposals submitted to us that gives us completely conflicting information.

Roofer #1 (GAF Master Elite cert - offering Golden Seal Pledge): Says that the ridge vent and the attic fan are too close to each other and completely cancel each other out. He says to completely seal the ridge vent and he will install a new fan. He says he is sure the previous owner had the attic fan retrofitted because the house was not built with the appropriate amount of ridge vents.

This company has been in business for 5 years. They are showing on GAF's website as a Master Elite company. This company is the most expensive and had one of the worse presentations of information and materials.

Roofer #2 (GAF Master Elite cert - offering Golden Seal Pledge): Says that the ridge vent and the attic fan are too close to each other and completely cancel each other out. He says that he wants to remove the attic fan and seal that area up. He says that the Golden Seal Pledge will not be eligible if the ridge vent is sealed (will double check to be sure). He also says we would need a lot more fans in order to properly vent the home. He says that the home has plenty of ridge vents but its possible that the soffits(?) are/were clogged with insulation. he says he'll make sure the soffits are clear per code.

This company has been in business since 1969 (as far as I can tell). They are also showing on GAF's website as a Master Elite company. This company is the least expensive and had the most detailed and nicest presentation of information and materials.

Both companies have high ratings on sites like Angie's List. Maryland does not require roofers to have licenses unless modifying. Neither company seems to be a member of National Roofing Contractor's Association.

Help. We're so confused.

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Old 03-05-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


Got some pictures of the outside of the house?
Any cathedral ceilings.
With propper amount of soffit vents most often all you need is a ridge vent.
Any other venting will will cause the ridge to be useless. It will get it's make up air from the vent instead of the soffits.
The air needs to be sucked into the soffit vents and washed along the underside of the sheathing and out the ridge to remove all the hot moist air.

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Old 03-05-2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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It took me a while, but I located one!

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Old 03-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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Ok, I just got off the phone with Roofer #2. He said he spoke to GAF and they're telling him that the standard is 16' of ridge vent is the normal code BUT we only have 11' (due to the build of the home). He said that GAF would give him a pass on that because there's no way to get the extra 5' of ridge vent.

He also said they told him w/o the ridge vent GAF would require 3-4 dome vents (which we do not want).

Sadly, he can't tell me what having the less amount of ridge vent AND the lack of the attic fan will do to the interior of our home.

Dang! This is getting more confusing, not less.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:30 PM   #5
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


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Sadly, he can't tell me what having the less amount of ridge vent AND the lack of the attic fan will do to the interior of our home.
The issue is about balancing the VOLUME of air coming in with what can go out.
Some more reading: LINK
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


The Dome vents would be placed on the backside of the home and garage, and you would never even notice them. It is a take or leave. With the ridge vents, if you have soffits, you better make sure that there are baffles in place along the edge, to keep any insulation product up in the attic away from the vent line, otherwise, soffit vents are useless.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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I think...I need to go do some serious math.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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The Dome vents would be placed on the backside of the home and garage, and you would never even notice them. It is a take or leave. With the ridge vents, if you have soffits, you better make sure that there are baffles in place along the edge, to keep any insulation product up in the attic away from the vent line, otherwise, soffit vents are useless.

Well, the back of the garage is actually a family room. It is the only room with high ceilings (rest are standard height) and it has skylights. So all the dome vents would have to go on the back of the "house" portion. I don't think we have enough roof space for that. It's all at an angle.

Re: soffits
Should we have the attic inspected, first?
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:31 PM   #9
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Well, the back of the garage is actually a family room. It is the only room with high ceilings (rest are standard height) and it has skylights. So all the dome vents would have to go on the back of the "house" portion. I don't think we have enough roof space for that. It's all at an angle.
It would be what is called a Cathedral ceiling.

Quote:
Re: soffits
Should we have the attic inspected, first?
It should have been done when you had the Home Inspector in to look over the property before you signed any documents.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:36 PM   #10
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


Yes, have the attic inspected. The attic fan/ridge vent combination is not a good idea, the attic fan can suck air directly through the ridge vent.
With that short of a ridge I would probably not use ridge vent, but if I did I would make sure you get one with the highest NFA possible, with GAF I believe that is snow country.
If hes claiming GAF would give you a warranty even though you have less then the required ventilation, I would get it in writing, from a GAF rep. It is my assumption you will have trouble getting that.

You could look into the new hip venting products, I cant comment on them specifically because I have never used them.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:14 PM   #11
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Personally I would find another contractor. I went with one that our realtor recommended, and did a good job. We had some other stuff needed to be done, and he was on top of it and cheaper than having anyone else do it, and it was by far better workmanship. Now we are having him remove an old chimney, due to it would be more to tear down and rebuild, than have him remove, replace the rotted timber up there, cover with #30 felt and shingle, plus have our other guy install a direct vent water heater than again having someone else do it.

All together both will come out cheaper than anyone else in our town. So just stating, find another guy, that does not have the largest add in the paper, knows what they are doing, not just second guessing, or having to call the company that manufactures the shingles to tell them how to do their job. My guy is just a four man operation and can do a roof in less time than the companies with crews of ten or twenty, for a 1/3 of what the others cost in my town.

As for the Ridge vent, it does not matter how long the roof line is, as long as you have proper soffit venting at the bottom, the ridge vent will do its job as it should, with no extra vents or a fan on the roof.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:17 PM   #12
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Ridge Vent vs Attic Fan?? Different info from pro roofers


BTW, what is making you want to replace the roof? Is it starting to show too much particle shed off of the face in the gutters, cracking real bad all over, bad hail storm or wind storm recently, rot up in the attic? Just asking what brought on this decision. BTW, if you go with anything, go with the Elk shingles, since they have the tar at the bottom underneath edge not at the top middle face half, which makes it harder for them to come up during a wind event, plus they hold up better to stuff falling on the roof, or small hail storm events.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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As for the Ridge vent, it does not matter how long the roof line is, as long as you have proper soffit venting at the bottom, the ridge vent will do its job as it should, with no extra vents or a fan on the roof.
I agree with you on some points, but this is misinformation. Ridge vents work on NFA, or net free area. Most vents have NFAs ranging from 11-17 per lineal foot. Assuming he has the maximum flow possible, that is only 187sq inches of ridge venting with his short ridge. That is less venting than is accomplished by 4 traditional roof vents.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #14
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I am from Maryland also, and I recommend that you read my previous posts regarding asphalt roof shingles. I am an RCI Registered Roof consultant, and my partner (Now Deceased) and I did a lot of research on shingle failure.

To your home. You have two different situations. You should install continuous ridge and soffit ventilation on the family room/ garage.

You should install continuous soffit ventilation on the main house, and install two low profile mushroom fans on the rear slope that activate by thermostat, and humidistat. Have the roofer prime and paint them to color match the shingles.

Ridge ventilation is worthless without continuous open soffit ventilation. You need to have baffles at the soffit areas. Your soffit will have to be removed to check and correct this.

The fact that you "Got a Pass" on lack of ventilation ought to tell you something. Like I said, read my other posts re shingles and ventilation.

You may want to check out Certainteed Landmark Shingles also. Thats what I just put on.

Photo is what Landmark Pewter looks like, also ridge cap to gable end and hidden hangers.

I will be painting the shutters in the Spring for an entirely different effect. No, it wont be Ravens Purple. Thats the nice thing about this color shingle.

PS Dont Judge me by my Landscaping its all coming out in the spring.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:46 AM   #15
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I am from Maryland also, and I recommend that you read my previous posts regarding asphalt roof shingles. I am an RCI Registered Roof consultant, and my partner (Now Deceased) and I did a lot of research on shingle failure.

To your home. You have two different situations. You should install continuous ridge and soffit ventilation on the family room/ garage.

You should install continuous soffit ventilation on the main house, and install two low profile mushroom fans on the rear slope that activate by thermostat, and humidistat. Have the roofer prime and paint them to color match the shingles.

Ridge ventilation is worthless without continuous open soffit ventilation. You need to have baffles at the soffit areas. Your soffit will have to be removed to check and correct this.

The fact that you "Got a Pass" on lack of ventilation ought to tell you something. Like I said, read my other posts re shingles and ventilation.

You may want to check out Certainteed Landmark Shingles also. Thats what I just put on.
Jagan has it nailed. The garage roof is perfect for ridge vent. The house isn't. You have very little ridge on the house roof.. Get a couple power vents on the back of the house roof on temp/hum sensors. I also like landmark shingles. Go to certain teed website and see if there is a certified installer in your area. Landmarks have the best looking ridge shingles on the market. The way you roof is laid out they will really dress if up. Unlike gaf there ridge shingles are bla. Finally you have a nice looking house. Unfortunately i can't recommend a landmark color for you. I'm not sure what color pallet Maryland runs off. Ask Jagan what color landmark he thinks would look nice. He is in Maryland and knows what colors are available.

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