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Roofing Question

Can I put in a ridge vent?

I only have two windows on either end of the attic. There are no soffits and no gables. Are the windows enough for ventilation?

Monroe, NY

I doubt very much that these two windows are providing enough ventilation for your attic area. For one thing, how often are they open? The problem with using a window for ventilation is that they are designed to be closed during inclement weather. If they are open, rain or even snow will more than likely get into your attic and could cause damage to your home. Vents are designed to allow air in or out, but keep moisture outside.

When you write that there are no soffits or gables, does that mean that there are no vents in those areas or that the roof design is such that those areas don't exist at all? If you do have soffits and gables, adding vents in those areas can normally be done without too much trouble. If those areas don't exist, there are still options for ensuring your attic has adequate ventilation.

The amount of attic ventilation your home requires is based on its age. Older homes aren't quite as airtight as those built under modern codes so one square foot of ventilation per 300 square feet of attic floor space is normally considered sufficient. If your home is newer, you'll probably need one square foot of ventilation per 150 square feet of attic floor area.

Once the total amount of ventilation is calculated, it needs to be broken down into intake and exhaust. A 60 percent intake and 40 percent exhaust is considered optimum, but a 50/50 split will usually do the job. Ideally, intake vents are normally at the soffits and eaves and exhaust venting is located higher on the roof, such as at the ridge. I'm not sure what type of roof design you have, but unless it's low-slope or flat, a ridge vent should be able to be installed. In many cases, a ridge vent provides all the exhaust venting an attic needs.

Unless you plan on keeping those two windows open all the time, I would not figure them into your ventilation calculations. Ideally, adding soffit vents would provide your roof's intake ventilation. However, if the design doesn't permit soffit vents, flat roof vents, or jacks as they are sometimes called, might be an option. These are installed on the roof's surface after holes have been cut through the sheathing. While they are normally used for exhaust ventilation, if they're installed closer to the eaves they can also work for intake purposes.

Another option for intake ventilation if your home has no soffits is a product such as GAF's Cobra Fascia Vent. As the name indicates, the material is installed at the fascia on your home's eaves. If a ridge vent doesn't provide enough exhaust area, roof jacks should be used to supplement that venting and fascia vents used for all of the intake ventilation.

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Roofing vs. Reroofing

Roofing vs. Reroofing

If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.

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