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Installing roof ridge venting on a small house.

Attic Ventilation:

Installing Ridge Vent At The
Roof Peak

A Vented Ridge At The Peak Of The Roof Helps Keep The Attic Cool

 
In This Article:

Ridge vent is laid over a narrow hole cut into the peak of the roof, interlocked together and fastened. Pieces of 3-tab shingles are applied on top for a ridge cap.

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Skill Level:
2-3 (Basic to Intermediate)
Time Taken:
About 30 Minutes
Author:
Project Date:
October 2000
 
 
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When building or remodeling a house, it's common practice to provide some ventilation in the attic. Attic venting reduces the amount of heat that enters the house during hot weather, and keeps the roof shingles cooler which prolongs their life.

Older homes often have nothing more than a louvered vent near the top of each gable wall. In the last 3 or 4 decades there has been increased attention to providing the right amount of venting that will function even when the wind isn't blowing. This often means using perforated soffit material at the eaves and some type of ridge vent at the peak of the roof, plus careful construction methods to ensure at least an inch of clear space below the roof sheathing to allow for air flow.

This method works. Even with no wind, the hot air inside the attic will rise up and escape from the ridge vent, and cooler air will be drawn into the soffit vents. There are many roof ridge venting products available today. This article shows how one typical product is installed.

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A Long Narrow Hole Required:
Cutting a long narrow hole for roof venting at the peak.

To allow the hot attic air to escape through the ridge vent we planned to install, we cut a thin strip of roof sheathing from each side of the peak.

We simply set the circular saw blade to exactly the depth of the roof sheathing planks, and followed the lines we snapped.

Note: It's a good idea to purchase the ridge vent before cutting this hole. The vent product should specify the width of the hole needed.

 

 

 

The hole ran almost the entire length of the roof.

This hole was about 3 inches wide. 

Long narrow hole cut in roof sheathing at the peak.
 

 

Roof vent hole does not reach the end of the roof.

We made the hole a few inches shorter than the total length of ridge vent.

Note that the hole stops about 2 feet from the end of the roof. That's because the roof overhang doesn't need venting.

 

 

Roof Covered With Tar Paper:

 

When the second side was covered with felt, we let the top row cover over the peak, concealing the ridge hole. This will be cut out later.

Roof covered with tar paper, before new shingles are installed.
 

 

New asphalt roof shingles are installed almost to the vent hole.

After shingling the roof almost to the peak, the project looked like this:

 

 

Ridge Cap At The Ends:

 

Before installing the ridge vent, we installed a few ridge cap shingles (red arrow) at each end of the roof.

Installing ridge cap shingles at ends of roof peak before putting vented ridge in place.
 

 

Nailing ridge cap shingles.

The ridge cap shingles were attached with two nails each.

Typically, 1-3/4" to 2" long nails are used on the ridge.

These nails need to be longer than nails used for the main shingles, because they are penetrating many layers of shingles.

 

 

Ridge Vent:

 

The brand of ridge vent used on this project.

There are many ridge venting products available.

Ridegmaster Plus ridge vent.
 

 

Connecting ends of ridge vent on peak of roof.

The adjacent pieces have a tongue-and-groove method of connecting.

 

 

Once aligned, the second piece was pushed firmly in place.

Note the location of the nails and nail holes (red arrows). 

Ridge vent set in place, ready to be nailed.
 

 

3 inch roofing nails are used to fasten this ridge vent to the roof.

The ridge vent was held in place with 3 inch galvanized roofing nails.

 

 

The completed ridge vent.

The only difficult task here was keeping the fold in the plastic ridge aligned with the peak in the roof. It is possible to have the ridge vent wander towards one side of the roof as installation progresses.

 

What About A Steeper Roof?

All of the ridge venting products I've used can be folded to conform to the slope of the roof, within reason. I've used similar ridge venting systems on 12-in-12 pitch roofs, and they worked just fine. If you are planning on using some type of ridge vent on a steep roof, consult the manufacturers specifications to be sure their product will work on the roof pitch in question.

Ridge vent after installation, before installing cap shingles.
 

 

More Ridge Cap Shingles:
Applying cap shingles over ridge vent.

The ridge cap shingles were applied over the ridge vent, using 3" roofing nails.

On each side of the ridge vent there are two narrow bands molded into the plastic, indicating where the nails must go. You can see these parallel lines in the photo below... they are about an inch uphill from the tip of the caulk tube.

 

 

A dab of tar held down the loose corners of the first shingle we applied over the vented ridge.

On the last shingle, we cut off the normally-hidden part of the shingle tab. We applied some tar under the shingle

Securing shingle with roofing tar.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Last Cap Shingle:

These pictures (from another article about ridge cap shingles) show the process we used on the last shingle we applied on the ridge vent. 

 

Cutting cap shingle for the final piece.

For the last cap shingle, we cut off he visible part from a shingle tab.

 

 

We ran a large bead of tar over the area to be covered.

Applying tar to cement last cap shingle to roof.
 

 

Face-nailing final cap shingle on ridge of garage roof.

Then we set the last shingle in place and nailed it at all 4 corners.

But the roof could leak at these nails...

 

 

...so we covered the nail heads with clear silicone.

Silicone can withstand sunlight far better than tar or other caulk materials. I've seen silicone that was exposed to sunlight for decades and it was still intact and flexible.

Applying silicone caulk over exposed nail heads at the end of the ridge cap.
 

 

 

Completed Project:
Peak of roof with ridge vent and asphalt shingles nailed over vent material.

The completed ridge vent, with ridge cap shingles nailed on top.

From this angle, you can see a slight wave in the ridge, but it's impossible to see from the ground.

 

 

More Info:
Tools Used:
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Circular Saw
  • Roofing Nail Gun
  • Caulk Gun
  • Utility Knife
Materials Used:
  • Ridge Vent
  • 3" Roofing Nails
  • 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles (Cap Shingles)
  • Roof Cement (Tar)
 
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