Make Your Roof Last Longer With A Ridge Vent

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Make Your Roof Last Longer With A Ridge Vent

How to Install a Ridge Vent and Why You Need One

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Proper ventilation is key to any home’s living conditions.

Take it for granted, and this is what will happen:

  • Your roof will crack easily and age prematurely
  • Poor insulation
  • Higher mold, mildew, and moisture buildup
  • Higher maintenance costs in the long run

To prevent this from happening, we’ve outlined the steps you can take to properly install a ridge vent along with the benefits of having one.

The Importance of a Ridge Vent

Many might feel that installing a ridge vent plays no significant role in your home. You couldn’t be any more wrong.

Some also feel gable vents are sufficient. That’s not true. Most of all, ridge vents are more effective than gable vents. That’s the truth.

That doesn’t mean you should remove or block your existing gable vents. Roof ventilation requires the proper use of soffit, ridge, and gable vents.

That being said, we’ll discuss 4 key benefits you can get by having a ridge vent.

Energy efficiency 

Installing a ridge vent for your house provides a natural escape route for any warm air that rises from below and your attic.

Any activity in your house that involves using warm or hot water like taking a shower, doing the dishes & laundry, and especially during the summer months, will cause your attic to be full of warm air.

Over time, this causes premature cracking of your roofing materials, including the drywall and siding in your house.

A properly installed ridge vent increases the attic ventilation allowing air to escape more efficiently. In effect, this enhances the energy-efficiency of your house.

Increased Roof Life Span

Since ridge vents help prevent the buildup of moisture, mold, and mildew, this adds protection to your roofing and, in effect, also increases its life span.

With your roofing materials protected and maintained correctly, this prevents any premature aging or breakdown of the materials.

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Better Ventilation 

Proper ventilation isn’t up for debate. This is a critical concern you shouldn’t miss or brush away easily.

Installing a ridge vent provides better attic ventilation by preventing warm air from building up in your attic space, which also produces mold and mildew growth.

Warm air with high moisture will also lead to wood rotting, so it’s only essential that a ridge vent can prevent it from happening.

Useful in cold climates

In colder climates, it’s unavoidable for the snow to build on top of your roof. With a ridge vent, the warm air that escapes from the roof’s peak allows the snow to melt and prevents ice dams.

Combined with soffit venting, this will protect your roof planes from any ice dams and provide better insulation in colder climates.

Materials and Equipment You’ll Need

Equipment

  1. Chalk line
  2. Circular Saw
  3. Hammer
  4. Utility Knife
  5. Drill
  6. Pry bar (flat type)
  7. Tape Measure

Materials

  1. Standard Roofing Shingles
  2. Roofing nails
  3. Shingle caps
  4. End Plugs
  5. Polyurethrane caulk

Before We Get Started

There are two types of ridge vents: aluminum and shingle-over. Both of which we’ll discuss on how to install in this article.

Aluminum Ridge Vents

An aluminum ridge vent carries a mushroom-shaped design along with a wide flange on both sides. When installing an aluminum ridge vent, it sits on top of your roof shingles.

Aluminum ridge vents are one of the older and more common types. If your house is located in a high wind-zone area, these are at risk of being blown off.

These are designed with an outside nail line. In effect, this exposes the nails to air and moisture, causing it to rust over time.

Aluminum ridge vents though, have stood the test of time for their effectiveness; however, they require more maintenance over time in the end.

Shingle-Over Ridge Vents

A shingle-over ridge vent has a design that matches the roof shingles. It’s installed over the roof ridge and covered by a layer of asphalt shingle caps.

This type of ridge vent carries a low-profile design that easily blends with your roof design. With asphalt shingles as your roofing, for example, a shingle-over ridge vent is barely noticeable.

It also comes with an external baffle that purposely deflects any wind or weather. Also, it has a weather filter to protect your ridge vent from rain, insects, and snow.

Most shingle-over ridge vents are made of copolymer resins that add stability and flexibility to the overall low-profile design.

Finally, it’s easy to install, and the overall ridge vent in itself features a weather-tight design, so you get the protection you need and less maintenance over time.

How to Install a Ridge Vent

Step 1: Remove the Shingle Caps

The first step is relatively simple and straightforward: remove any nails holding the shingle caps in place.

  1. To remove the nails and cap shingles, insert your pry bar underneath the cap shingles and lift up the nail and shingle cap for proper removal.
  2. Grab your utility knife. Cut the shingles back by at least 3/4 inches from the ridge board or from both sides on the ridge centerline.

This measurement depends on the type of roof you have. 3/4 inches, for example, are ideal for hip and gable roofs. Other types of roofs have different measurements.

After you’ve made your cut, this will expose the wood decking by the ridge.

Step 2: Cut the Wood Roof Decking

  1. First, snap a chalk line on both sides of the ridge. This will serve as a guide as you cut your slot. Make sure to allocate at least 1 inch of minimum clearance on both sides of the ridge board.
  2. If you notice any framing nails, be sure to remove them before you cut your roof decking.
  3. Using your circular saw, make a cut along the chalk line you snapped. Finally, adjust the depth of your saw blade to cut through the roof decking only and avoid cutting any rafters or trusses.

After you’ve removed any debris along the roof, you can finally install your ridge vents!

Step 3: Install Shingle-Over Vents on Roof

  1. For the first section of ridge vent, center this on the slot and insert an end plug for proper alignment.
  2. Pre-fasten the first section using roofing nails through the pre-formed nail bosses/holes and continue this process with the remaining sections. When venting a roof with shingle-over, make sure as well the support ribs are placed flat on the roof.
  3. Grab your utility knife and cut the final sections of your ridge vent. In roof venting installations, the final sections should follow the exact measurements.
  4. To secure the final section, insert an end plug and make sure it’s flush with the end of your roof.
  5. After pre-fastening the final sections, nail the cap shingles in place with 2-inch roofing nails. If you’re using a nail gun, make sure you don’t install them too deep or too shallow.

Note: Temperature plays a role when venting roofs. In warm climates, make sure you leave no gaps between each section. In colder climates, a 1/8 inch gap between ridge vent ends. 

Step 4: Install Aluminum Ridge Vents

  1. After applying Steps 1 and 2, measure the distance from the ridge according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Use these measurements and snap a chalk line to serve as a reference line for the installation.
  2. Locate the underside of the flange of the vent and apply polyurethane caulk. Make sure you apply this on both sides of the vent.
  3. Align the aluminum ridge vent along the chalk line.
  4. Fasten the aluminum ridge vent on the roof decking using roofing nails. Be sure to nail these through the flange and on both sides of the vent.
  5. Add end caps, connectors, and additional accessories that would promote a watertight vent.

Final Thoughts

If you plan to install ridge vents on your own, we recommend taking a step back and calling a professional to assess the area.

It’s not as challenging as installing or replacing a new roof, but the risks are high if you don’t feel safe doing it yourself or lack experience.

Finally, note that while ridge vents are essential to improving the ventilation area, gable vents and soffit vents aid in improved attic ventilation.

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