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Roof ventilation for old house

4473 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Gary in WA
I have a 100 year old house in central Indiana. It's below average shape, I think was flipped at least once or spottily repaired here and there. The roof was redone some time ago, although the seller had no info on when or by whom, my guess they did it themselves.

The house is a small, 1.5 story--the second floor is really a finished attic right under the unventilated roof. The actual attic is about 4 feet wide. There is a ridge vent on top, but it seems they only put it up for looks since I couldn't see any openings/holes/gaps from inside the attic. There are no soffits and no inlet vents. Also not sure how much space there is between the roof and the sloped second floor ceiling that's right under the roof to even add insulation. The roof and the second floor get ridiculously hot and I really want to remedy that.

Attached is a pic from the inside, I can take some from outside as well if would help.

What would be a good approach here? I'm waiting on estimates from contractors, but would rather DIY it if possible just because don't think any local roofers would do this for less than $1000, and I could probably do it myself for around $300 in a weekend or two. Was thinking of just removing the ridge vent and cutting the outlet holes then nailing it back on. And for the inlets to use under shingle type of inlet like SmartVent (local stores sell similar products that claim can be easily DIY'ed), or adding vented soffits and drilling vent holes, then adding insulation.

What would be a better option here? Would I need permits and get engineers/architects/inspectors involved?
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Here're some pics from the outside.

There aren't any soffits, vents, and certainly no buffles. They nailed OSB over old/ancient roof decking and shingled on top. As I mentioned before, there is a ridge vent, but it seems it's just there for looks. And the roof/second floor get ridiculously hot, so there is no way it's vented.
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Bud, thanks for the link. So I was thinking of using something like this:

and opening the ridge vent.

The reason I want to do it at all is because of the heat--it is very hot upstairs even when cool downstairs. I figure that venting the roof and adding whatever insulation may fit above the ceiling may remedy that at least enough for the AC to keep up. At this point I'm not ready to rip out the ceiling--it's plaster and way more work and mess than I'm ready to deal with.
These blocks are rafter tails and there is no cavity above them, just the roof deck. I was thinking of cutting holes in the board between these and then adding vented soffits below.

Regarding the insulation--I'd have to really look into it. I can get into the attic space, but it's really tight and houses some nasty spiders, so I haven't been eager to crawl in there and to look down the slope between the rafters. That said, the ceiling is very warm to touch on any sunny day. And as far as spacing for insulation, there is no more than 8", probably more like 6". I suppose I could have some blown in or spray foam, but not sure how much it would help.
A vent on the roof would be a lot easier than drilling/screening holes between rafter tails since it is two story, though "Smart Vent" would not be my first choice;
I'm actually leaning towards this option though the roof is kinda steep and getting up there won't be easy.

Not sure where to buy this product, seems they only distribute through wholesalers, but local Menards has what looks like a similar product:

There is also a much cheaper product but seems like a Chinese knockoff, so I don't think I'd go for that one.

That said the SmartVent seems to have been around forever and online reviews are good all around. Is there a reason not to use it, or not to use a product like it, other than a blog post from a competitor?
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