Ridge and gable vents without soffit vents. What should I do?

Old 08-15-15, 04:18 AM
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Ridge and gable vents without soffit vents. What should I do?

So im just now learning about passive venting and how you are REALLY supposed to vent an attic. In January I had a new roof installed on a home which is now a rental property for me. The contractor suggested the ridge vent up front and told me that it would properly ventilate the attic and that I should close the gable vents off after they install it.

I decided after reading a forum just to leave the gable vents alone after someone posted that it would be ok to leave them open and doing so and would actually help the situation.

The house is small 910 sq ft and there are heaps of blown insulation over the soffits with no vents in them.

From my understanding my gable vents are now acting as intake vents which could cause weather infiltration. What should I do?
Old 08-15-15, 04:38 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

There has to be an intake and exit so if the intake is the gable vent it is possible for it to draw rain in at times. I'd either install some soffit vents or some low roof vents ..... not my area of expertise but those that know more should be along later.
Old 08-15-15, 05:41 AM
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Mark is correct, you should have some low vents to work with that ridge vent.

As for what you have, the ridge vent is good. Also leaving the gable vents in place is good and usually gable vents are somewhat lower than the ridge. In fact, I've seen some almost at the attic floor level. Where are yours, high, low, or middle?

Passive venting is powered by two primary forces, the difference in height between the vents and the wind. When the wind blows it dominates the air flow and it can drive snow and rain into all vents, even soffit vents. There are two recent discussions (on another forum) on snow and forest fire embers being blown in through soffit vents, so despite their desirable position, those homes still have to deal with incoming weather.

One of the considerations is, have you had any rain or snow issues with those gables previously? Passive ventilation does not produce enough air flow to pull in either snow or rain, so if there is a concern, it would be from the wind and if there have been no problems in the past, adding the ridge has not changed that a lot.

Ideally, you should open and vent those soffits. Next would be to add edge vents under the shingles just above the soffits, where the drip edge probably is. Then, low positioned roof vents as Mark suggested.

If a hot attic is your primary concern, then air sealing between the house and attic plus plenty of insulation is your best solution. Passive venting doesn't reduce the temperatures up there a lot.

Have you had any rain or snow issues in the past?
How high/low are the current gable vents?
What is your objective?


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