Could I screw up a ridge vent install?

Im a do-it-yourselfer getting better and more confident with each project. Expert, no. Compentent, finally. I have an older roof in the new house we bought with THREE layers of roofing (why the inspector didnt mention that or that I didnt notice it myself is a sore issue ;^). Regarless, naturally our upstairs gets pretty warm in the summer with only the basic fixed roof vents and soffit vents. Been reading more about the newer ridge vents that make better use of the Bernouli (sp?) effect and want to install one. From my inexperienced perspective, its seems like I couldnt screw this up, but common sense tells me to ask experts about most common mistakes made. Is it not as simple as taking a circular saw and cittung a couple inch slot in the roof peak?
I presume the best answer is put a new roof on and tear off the old but cant afford that right now.
Thanks everyone Todd
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While not a roofer, I just got a new roof and had a couple of ridge vents installed instead of replacing the turbines (hail damage) and am rather happy. I can say this; you will need to shingle over the ridge vent, so it is not as simple as cutting the groove and putting in the ridge. There is probably some new shingling needed on the edges of the vent as well, as I am sure some roofers in the group will attest to.
By the way, since I had to get a new roof and have become interested in proper venting (I also do low voltage wiring which puts me in other peoples attics), I have kept an informal log on temperature differences between the outside air and the attic air over the last month or so. Not a professional experiment, but trying to verify a few things. One thing is my house has no, repeat NO soffet vents on the north or south side, where the wind would blow 330 days out of the year here in the Dallas Area. I can send my final results to anyone interested, which will probably be in a week or two, as I add some soffet venting to the north and south side.
I have already seen some very interesting differences with the ridge vents instead of turbines with respect to temperature, wind, etc. send me an email at snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMcmf-enterprises.com if you are interested in my final info. Once again I am not a roofer, but am having a little sober(after 25 years) headed fun.

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MF wrote:

why not just post the results here, you dont have to go into detail, just a general statement of: what is better for you and why????? thanks....
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I can do that.

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Todd,

I installed a ridge vent on our new garage a couple of years ago, and will be installing them on our new house too.
Basically, you want to cut a slot the length of the roof so that you have at least 1" of air space at the peak. For a truss roof this could be a simple 1" slot at the peak. For a stick framed roof, you'll have to make allowances to clear the ridge board. In my case, the slot ended up about 1.5" wide on each side of the peak so air could flow around the ridge board.
Remember to set the depth of your saw so that it is only cutting the shingles and roof sheathing. You do not want to cut into the rafters/trusses.
You'll also need to keep your vent slot back from each end of the roof, and back away from any overhang at the gable ends (don't need to vent the overhangs).
When you install the ridge vent, be sure to use roofing nails that are long enough to penetrate the vent, the shingles, and the roof sheathing.
I nailed the ridge vent on separately with a few nails first to get it aligned properly, then went back and nailed shingles over the top of the ridge vent.
It's a messy job cutting through the shingles and roof sheathing, and a little nerve wracking when you're doing it at the peak of a roof. It'll dull up your saw blade nicely too, so be prepared to buy a new blade. It can be dangerous working up there, so be careful...
Be sure you have soffit vents under the eaves to let fresh air in at the bottom of the roof so it can exit the ridge vent at the top. This system works well, assuming the air space is continuous from soffit to ridge. If the insulation is pressed up tight against the underside of the roof sheathing, no vent system is going to work well.
The ridge vents I purchased came with instructions. Read them. There's a lot of useful advice there...
Anthony
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I would like to improve the ventilation in my attic. I have a power vent at one end. I had asphalt shingles installed 2 years ago. Can a ridge vent be installed at any time or only when a layer of roofing is going on? Thanks.
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Dave,

I don't see why not. I cut through the shingles and roof sheathing at once, even though it was new construction. I don't see why waiting 2 years would make any difference. The only issues you may run into is having to pull the cap shingles off the peak first, then trying to find matching shingles to cover the ridge vent afterwards.
And, you would need to install continous soffit venting if you add the ridge vents.
Just my thoughts...
Anthony
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Ok, so I would need to find matching shingles then. The lip of the ridge is screwed to the roof and then a row of trimmed shingles get installed how? Cement?
I do have a problem with the venting at the eaves. My roof ends at the gutter with no overhang. Currently there are no vents. I may be able to add some of those circular vents there.
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Ah, there must be several kinds of ridge vent. The ones I have seen at Lowes are aluminum teepees that sit on the ridge, but I could not figure out where the lip of the teepee was supposed to go -- under or on top of the shingles. I guess it kinda depends on where the first row of nails are.

I will be looking around to see what can be done. Thanks.
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I have a hip roof (two hips, one on each end). I was just going to do the top ridge. However, one of the sets of instructions I received said to do the hip ridges as well. Is this common? Neever seen one that way, I dont think. Todd

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