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Installing a Ridge Vent

Materials List
Ridge vent
1-1/2 inch roofing nails
Shingles (match existing shingle)
Tools List (click item to shop)
Flat bar
Pry bar
2-inch chisel
Utility knife
Claw Hammer
Hook knife
Chalk line
Extension ladder
Circular saw with carbide blade
Tape measure
Easy2 Home Improvement
Insulating an Unfinished Attic
Installing Blown-In Insulation
Installing a Soffit Vent

Installing a Range Hood - Roof Vent
Easy2DIY (continued)
Installing a Range Hood - Wall Vent
Exterior Caulking
Installing an Attic Fan

IMPORTANT: Read this before you start


Roof ventilation principles are very straightforward -- a cool attic is a happy attic! You need to create a flow of air that enters the overhang of your roof through soffit vents, then flows straight up through the rafters and out through a ridge vent. To help facilitate airflow, it may be necessary to install a thermostat-controlled exhaust fan.

Installing ridge vents is a fairly aggressive project. Do not attempt this project if you are uncomfortable with heights or uncertain about your carpentry skills. Since you will be cutting the peak off your roof, this is not a project that can be left unfinished for any amount of time. Plan ahead and make sure you have all the materials you need to complete the project before weather rolls into your area.

If you do not detect proper airflow out through the ridge vent, you may not have enough intake ventilation to provide correct flow. Add soffit vents or an exhaust fan as explained in the related tutorial "Installing Soffit Vents."

Skill Level & Time To Complete
For a 25 foot ridge:
• Beginner - 6 to 8 hours
• Intermediate - 6 to 8 hours
• Advanced - 4 to 6 hours

Whenever working on ladders and high places, make sure you take proper precautions. Your ladder should be placed on firm ground and angled appropriately.

Common Mistakes
When removing the shingles that form your ridge cap, it is easy to damage the shingles. Be gentle if you plan to reuse the shingles.

Helpful Tips
This is a good project to recruit a helper. Someone who can hand you tools and give you an extra hand.

To get the most out your ventilation project, consider installing soffit vents if you do not already have them.

1. Using a flat bar, carefully peel off the shingles that form the ridge cap on your roof. Be sure to save the shingles to reinstall on top of your new ridge vent. Peeling off the shingles in the late morning is best. At this time of day the shingles are warm and pliable, but not too hot. If your ridge ends at a wall or a chimney, leave 8 to 10 inches of shingles near the wall or chimney. You can remove shingles all the way to the peak of a roof at a gable end.
2. Using a chalk line, strike a line on either side of the ridge board 7/8 of an inch down from the ridge board at the peak of the roof. If you have trusses, you should strike the chalk line such that it will create a gap 1-3/4 inches across the peak when you get to the cutting step.
3. Set your circular saw depth to the thickness of your roof sheeting. When cutting the sheeting, you want to avoid cutting into the roof rafters. At the peak of the roof, you should be able to see an edge of the sheeting boards. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure the sheeting thickness and then set your saw depth accordingly. If you use a carbide blade on your saw, you can cut through both the sheeting and the last course of shingles. Make sure to use some sort of eye protection. If are not using a carbide blade, use a utility knife or hook knife to cut off the shingles and tarpaper along the chalk line.
4. Following the chalk line, cut both sides of the peak. Remember to leave 8 to 10 inches near a wall or near a chimney.
5. At either end of the cuts, you may need to use a wide chisel to cleanly sever the wood perpendicular to the saw cuts. This will enable you to remove the strip of wood.
6. Using a pry bar, remove the sheeting that you just cut. Be sure to remove any nails left behind in the exposed part of the rafters.
7. There are several types of ridge vents – mesh vents, corrugated vents and baffled vents. Baffled vents are suggested because they prevent airflow back into the attic through the ridge vent, while still allowing hot air to escape. Install the new ridge vents using long roofing nails. The nails should be long enough to penetrate through the vent, shingles, and securely into the sheeting beneath the shingles.
8. Using 1-1/2 or 1-3/4 inch roofing nails, cover the roof vent with the shingles you removed in the first step. If necessary, use new shingles that match your existing roof.
9. Provided you have a soffit vent or another intake vent, your new ridge vent should now provide outflow for the air in your attic. To test airflow, go into your attic. Wet your fingers and put your hand near the gap you cut in the roof sheeting. You should feel a slight airflow out of the attic. Or you can light a match and quickly blow it out. Hold it up to the gap in the roof. The smoke from the match should be flowing out through the ridge vent. If you do not detect proper airflow out through the ridge vent, you may not have enough intake ventilation to provide correct flow. Add soffit vents or an exhaust fan as explained in related tutorials.



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