I need to add some additional exhaust venting to my attics, along with some along the soffit as well. I need some knowledge on a few things as I can't seem to find answers for them on the interwebs:

  1. Can continuous soffit vents be retrofitted without pulling off the fascia?
  2. The roof will need to be replaced in the next 10 years so I do not want to install a ridge vent. If I add roof vents right below the peaks, do I need to seal off the gable vents?
  3. Would installing a ridge vent now be just as easy as installing a few box vents? If so, what is the cost difference?
  4. If I install a ridge vent, will it be reused or destroyed when a new roof gets installed?
  • 4. Ridge vents basically have no cost when installed with a new roof. My wife and I had a new roof installed two years ago and the quote was the same with or without. The only question was whether there was enough "ridge" for sufficient venting.
    – user4302
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 5:17
  • I am actually having a new roof installed very soon. Insurance is covering it due to wind damage it recently endured. The ridge vent being enough is a concern of mine. I need to do the calculations.
    – Evil Elf
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 12:28
  • When I had my roof redone, I asked about ridge vents vs. the gable vents. Pro's opinion was that in my case there was no advantage to putting in the ridge vent. Since it would have been additional billable work for him to do it, I trust his advice not to. Your situation may be completely different.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 18:15

3 Answers 3


1 - Yes, it can be retrofitted depending on the style you choose & if that style fit your soffits. For example, an Aluminum Fin type would need a 6" soffit or eave & would require a 2" slot to be cut-out, because the fin section is recessed & must sit into the slot. Vinyl Holes type would need 11" to 12" to look professional but you can cut out or drill whatever openings you want as it just sits flat.

2 - Gable Vents work regardless of anything else or nothing else, but I would ditch any older in-the-field roof work vents as the roofing my not be pliable & break off in pieces. Gable vents are regularly enlarged & re-shaped to meet the desired ventilation. I've seen the entire gable turned into a vent. I think enlargement is your 2nd best now answer.

3 - I'm sorry I don't know the cost difference, your local roofers will vary & there's more labor in Boxes so they may be equal out if Ridge Materials are more expensive. But, Ridge Vents would be best for an old roof due to brittleness of the field shingles. Plus, Box Vents are quite small & due to their very small amount of penetrations they don't work well to start with.

4 - Ridge Vent re-use is a little tricky. The issues are nail removal & then re-nailing. You don't want to pay your roofer to waste time ripping out nails at 4x's the price of new ridge vent (dramatization) nor do you want him nailing in old holes where a tight attachment may not be achieved.

5 - Keep the existing Gable & Soffit vents as they are & install a Thermostatic or Switched or Timed fan in one of the Gable Vents to beat all of the above. This way you can cool when all of the above may not work to your liking without the direct solar gain (rainy, overcast, nighttime, snow covered). I think this is your overall best option with #2 being the closest behind.

  • It's a common issue & thank you for both asking & describing your research & obstacles for others.
    – Iggy
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 15:48
  • The addition of soffit vents is probably one of the biggest projects a home owner can do and get a good return on comfort and energy bills, yet people seldom discuss it. With my ridge vent in place now, I closed off the gable vents after doing calculations and getting my system up to par. A cape cod makes it even more of a challenge.
    – Evil Elf
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 19:42
  • Great job! Yeah, I have to agree on the soffit or eave vents combined with ridge vent. It's just the natural flow of things & yanks the heat out at it's source. I'm glad you could accommodate it & ended up with a free to run & nothing to do but enjoy system.
    – Iggy
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 19:58

1: Yes - soffit vents can be retrofitted without pulling off the fascia.

2: Yes - Gables short circuit the airflow from gable to nearest Ridge vents. Always block off gables when ridge vent/soffit system is installed.

3: No - lots of work here - cutting the entire roof ridge.

4: Probably destroyed - however the cutting will already have been done.

  1. What do you mean by retrofitted? Do you have continuous vent or do you want to add them?

  2. why would you add new vents if the gable end vents are in place and working? Is there obstructed air flow? Are there rafter vents in place near the soffit edge? Is there an adequate insulation bed? Is there too much near soffit/rafter line?

  3. My opinion Ridge vent is easier, cordless saw depth set to decking. 20-35 mins to cut and remove material necessary (normal size roof). Installation Roll out vent and Cap shingle . Depending on your skill set much easier than putting in 4 vents and reshingling and boring 4 new holes.

  4. Ridge vent is so cheap that there is no need to reuse and it would have been weathered for that length of time, so don't reuse.

  • Currently I have soffit with very small or no vents as it is. So I am wondering how hard it would be to install them in the existing soffit, without pulling the soffit down to cut, reseal, and repaint. According to the 1/150 rule, I do not have nearly the amount of exhaust vent area in the gables alone. I will need to add more. I wondered about the ridge vent installation. It looks like it would fairly easy as opposed to installing multiple roof vents and sealing/dealing with the flashing and shingles. I'm right to assume that if I add a ridge vent, the gable vents must closed, correct?
    – Evil Elf
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 12:22

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