How to Vent a Roof Without a Soffit

Written by michael straessle
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Venting is critical to saving money on utilities. The heat that is generated in the attic of a home can cause the cost of cooling to skyrocket. There are products on the market that will help keep these costs to a minimum. The specific product needed for a home will depend on the construction of the home. It will primarily depend on the roof. Some home designs do not have a soffit. This is usually a 3/8-inch piece of plywood that is underneath the overhanging portion of the roof that extends beyond the outside wall. With a soffit, venting is not much of a challenge. However, if the home has no soffit, it is quite a different matter. Thankfully, there are some ways around this dilemma. The important thing to remember is the air must flow through the attic to the roof vents somewhere near the ridge of the roof.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Step Ladder
  • Measuring Tape
  • Chalk Box
  • Drip Edge Vent
  • Roof Vent
  • Jigsaw
  • Skill Saw
  • Drill
  • Drill Bit
  • Hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Nails

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    Roof Edge

  1. 1

    Remove the first few rows of shingles to expose the roof deck. Measure up from the edge of the roof far enough to allow for airflow above the attic insulation. Make a mark. Repeat this at the other end of the roof.

  2. 2

    Stretch the chalk line from one of these marks to the other. Pull the line tight. Pop a line for cutting. Set the depth of the skill saw blade so it will only cut the thickness of the roof deck. Cut away that portion of the roof deck.

  3. 3

    Repeat Sets 1 and 2 until the entire perimeter of the roof has been cut away. Next, measure the length of the roof to determine how many joints of drip edge vent you will need. The last one is the one you will have to cut.

  4. 4

    Install the drip edge vent by lying it in place. Tack it with roofing tacks on each rafter. Be certain the drip edge vent runs the full length of the roof line.

  5. 5

    Check the vent for freedom of airflow to get the maximum benefit from the drip edge vent. Next, replace the shingles.

    Roof venting

  1. 1

    Locate the area where the roof vent is to be installed. Check with the manufacturer of the roof vent to see if there is a need for more than one vent.

  2. 2

    Remove the shingles in the area where the vent is to be installed. Determine the shape of the hole needed for the vent. Draw it on the roof deck. Be certain that the hole is between the rafters.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole inside the shape for the jigsaw blade. Insert the jigsaw and cut the hole.

  4. 4

    Place the roof vent over the hole. Secure it to the roof with roofing tacks. Cut the shingles to fit over the flange of the roof vent to ensure no leaking. Install the shingle around the roof vent.

  5. 5

    Repeat Steps 1 to 4 if installing more than one roof vent.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • If roof line is longer than chalk box line, you will need to pop the line in more than one place along the roof line.
  • Apply roofing tar under the edges of the roof vent to help prevent leaks.
  • Never leave power tools unattended.

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