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.
2-3 (Basic to Intermediate)
About 30 Minutes
Bruce W. Maki, Editor
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.
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.
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.
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.
After shingling the roof almost to the peak, the project looked like this:
Before installing the ridge vent, we installed a few ridge cap shingles (red arrow) at each end of the roof.
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.
The brand of ridge vent used on this project.
There are many ridge venting products available.
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).
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.
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
Before you hurt yourself, read our disclaimer.
These pictures (from another article about ridge cap shingles) show the process we used on the last shingle we applied on the ridge vent.
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.
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.
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.