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A Soffit And Ridge Ventilation System Is Supposed To Move Attic Air

It is excellent when it works, but a soffit and ridge ventilation system is supposed to move attic air.

How does such a system do that?

Physics.  Convection.  High pressure to low pressure.  Heat seeking cold.

It never fails.

Ideally a 50/50 ratio of air is coming in and going out.

Even a 70% in and 30% out works.

Or a 30% in and 70% out.

The 50/50 may never be possible with wind and such.  But still, the air has to be able to move.

With plenty of unblocked intake locations under the gutters and a nice slice out of the ridge of the roof, 3" or 4", things will work well.

If air moves, this ventilation system never fails.  It can't fail.  Air flow is dynamic.  Physics follows principles that don't fail.

So, when I arrive at a new construction inspection to look at the house pre-drywall, and I see a ridge vent installed on the top of the roof, I will be looking inside too to see how well things are put together.

In this house, when I got upstairs and under the ridge vent you see in the photo on the left, I looked up!

There was very little ridge vent opening!

It was nearly completely closed off with building materials.

No slot for the air to escape was ever provided, or cut out manually.

That means the roofer, on top of the roof, looking down and seeing that there was no opening present to allow for air to exhaust, INSTALLED THE RIDGE VENT ON TOP OF THE ROOF ANYWAY!

One would think that a roofer would know that without a slot for air to escape the air, um,

CANNOT NOT ESCAPE!

But he installed the ridge vent anyway.  He installed a ridge VENT over an area that cannot VENT!

Nothing to see here!  Nobody will know!  Who will be able to see this when the drywall gets installed? 

Does the roofer think he can get away with this because he knows the supervisor either will not notice or will not say anything? 

I bet both the roofer and supervisor understand how a soffit and ridge vent system works. 

I bet both the roofer and supervisor understand that soffit openings have to be created and preserved for air to get in, and then a sufficient slot cut into the ridge so that air can get out.

My recommendation:  there are many hundreds of things looked for on a pre-drywall inspection.  This area may or may not be visible once the drywall and insulation are installed.  On new construction the builder does not like for the home inspector (if there is one) to walk around the attic on the new insulation, so making it over to this location to see it might not have been possible later.  a pre-drywall inspection is the only time to really see this with definite observation.  So get a pre-drywall inspection!  It is your personal Best Practice.

 

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 12 commentsJay Markanich • September 25 2014 03:50AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay.... in older homes, there are usually gable vents and ridge vents.... will that satisfy the flow of air especially if the gable vents on each side are sized properly?

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 4 years ago

When those older homes were built there were only gable vents, Barbara.  If there is a ridge vent it was added if the shingles were replaced during or after the 90s or so.  The ridge vent improves the ventilation significantly.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Because the builder never put the ridge vent in our roof only lasted 16 years.

We lucked out in that he did a tear off, put in the ridge vent, repaired the dry wall in the master, no labor charge and the manufacturer of the shingles had a recall that paid for half the new shingles cost!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 4 years ago

That's excellent Raymond!  Doesn't sound like a tract builder, but a custom guy.  True?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, This type of work just baffles me. Why???? It is such an easy fix when you are doing the roof and now it is not as simple.  Just those hoping no one will look or know.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Don - I think they think they will not be followed.  The expectation of a private home inspector mindset has obviously not set in.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Houses are a lot like people the easier it is to breathe the happier we/they are and live/last longer

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 4 years ago

Agreed Ed!  I have an article written by an engineer about houses having to breath.  I give it to my clients all the time.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Morning Jay I knew about the ventilation but not to the extent you have explained it here today

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 4 years ago

This is one of many types, James, but it is very effective when properly installed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, ventilation is key to roof life here in Florida! Thanks for the tip! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 4 years ago

Unless the house has a very special attic Wayne, attic ventilation is essential.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

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