Installing Home Attic Insulation Rafter Vents

Exterior view of attic-gable windows on a white house with a pitched roof.
  • 2-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-500
What You'll Need
Styrofoam rafter vent
Work gloves
Safety goggles
Utility knife
Work boots
Tape measure
Insulation foam
Step ladder
Palette knife
Tool belt

Heating is one of the biggest money guzzlers at home, and so one of the best home improvements is to increase the amount of insulation in your attic. Attic insulation provides immediate and ongoing benefits in terms of heating and cooling cost savings, because it keeps both your heat and your air conditioning from escaping the house. Of course, the benefits aren't just monetary; attic insulation also improves the comfort of your home.

An important part of an attic-insulation project is to install rafter vents. Rafter vents help air to flow all the way up from the edge of the roof (known as the soffit) by keeping the attic insulation from pushing all the way up against the roof of the home. Without insulation rafter vents, air wouldn't be able to go through the soffit to the roof.

Fortunately, if you'd like to cut costs and improve your house value by installing rafter vents, this is a job that you can easily do yourself.

Step 1—Clean the Soffit

If you are going to install rafter vents, it is important that they are open and free of debris so air can flow freely. Your first step, therefore, is to climb the ladder and check all the holes in the soffit (the edge of the roof). Inspect every hole, and, if you find any obstruction, use the palette knife and the hammer to remove it.

Step 2—Measure the Length From the Soffit to the Ridge

In order to install the rafter vent, you have to know the length from the soffit to the ridge. Rafter vents for home attic insulation come in different lengths, and knowing the length will help you to buy enough Styrofoam rafter vents.

Step 3—Placing the Rafter Vents

Use the step ladder to start placing the styrofoam rafter vents. You have to start from the soffit and work your way up to the ridge. Also, make sure to staple the vents firmly to roof.

Step 4—Adding the Insulation

After all the Styrofoam rafter vents are in place, you must add insulation to cover them. Just remember not to cover the openings, because that will defeat the purpose of installing the vents in the first place.

Once you add the insulation on your rafter vents, your attic ventilation should be much better. Remember that roof ventilation is often not a one-time job, and you may have to check it again in the future in order to make sure nothing has obstructed the rafter vents.