Ridge Vent Installation

Modern house roof
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  • 01 of 06

    Choosing a Ridge Vent and Collecting Your Tools and Materials

    Aluminum and Shingle Over Ridge Vents
    Photo shows examples of aluminum and shingle over ridge vents. Aluminum Ridge Vent Photo © iStockphoto.com/tinabelle www.istockphoto.com

    The two primary types of ridge vents available are shingle over ridge vents and aluminum ridge vents.

    The shingle over ridge vent is sold by different manufacturers and in different configurations and materials. In its simplest form, a shingle over ridge vent is installed over the ridge line and is covered over by asphalt shingle caps that match the color of the roof shingles.

    The aluminum ridge vent resembles an elongated mushroom that is installed along the roof ridge. The aluminum ridge vent is...MORE the finished product and does not require additional asphalt shingle ridge caps to finish the installation.

    The ridge line of the roof is prepared similarly regardless of the type of ridge vent chosen. The different types of ridge vents are typically chosen based on the cost of the installation as well as the aesthetics of the finished product.

    If you plan to install the vent yourself, be sure you're really up for the challenge. This project requires work on a tall ladder and roof while using hand tools. If you have any anxiety over heights or are not quite sure you know how to handle your tools, consider hiring a professional.

    Remember that this is only one part of properly ventilating your attic space and roof. For a ridge vent to work properly it relies on passive air flow which requires a secondary venting option such as the installation of soffits, gable vents or other attic ventilation.

    Tools/Materials Needed

    Tools

    • Hammer
    • Flat Pry Bar
    • Cats Claw Pry Bar
    • Utility Knife with Hook Blade
    • Pneumatic Roofing Nailer with Air Compressor
    • Snips (if using aluminum ridge vent)
    • Circular Saw
    • Chalk Line

    Materials

    • 8d nails – loose
    • Ridge Vent – either aluminum or shingle over ridge vent
    • Roofing nails – 1.25” – loose or coil nails if using pneumatic nailer
    • Roofing nails – 1.5” or 1.75” – loose
    • Shingle caps matching field shingles – if using shingle over ridge vent
    • Shingles to match the field of the roof
    • Polyurethane caulk
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  • 02 of 06

    Safely Gain Access to Your Roof's Ridge Line

    Man climbing ladder to roof
    Spiderstock / Getty Images

    The second step in installing a ridge vent on your home is to safely gain access to the ridge line of the roof. You want to ensure that you can walk along the ridge of the roof system to gain access to the area of the roof that you are working on. You will be working along the entire ridgeline, so you want to be certain that you can move freely along the area and access materials and equipment in order to complete your project.

    In addition, you want to ensure that you will be able to put tools...MORE and materials on the roof surface without the chance of them sliding down the roof slope. This can be accomplished by using roof jacks and wood planks as slide guards. It may also be necessary to utilize a full body safety harness and lifeline attached to the building structure to protect you against a fall hazard.

    If you are uncertain about how to safely gain access to your roof to install your ridge vent or you are nervous about working at heights, it is strongly recommended that you contact a professional roofing contractor to assist you with the installation of your ridge vent.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Remove Existing Roof Ridge Material

    Removing Shingle From Roof Ridge
    The first step in installing a ridge vent is to remove the existing roof ridge shingles. Photo © Jurin Roofing Services www.jurinroofing.com

    Now that you have gained safe access to the ridge of the roof, it's time to remove the roofing materials from the ridge. You do this by removing the nails holding the ridge cap in place. For most asphalt shingle ridge cap, there are two nails in each ridge cap, one on either side of the ridge line. Insert the flat pry bar under the shingle cap and lift up on both the shingle and the nail head to loosen the nail and then pry out the nail. Remove the shingle cap.

    If asphalt field shingles...MORE extend up and over the ridgeline, use your hook blade to cut the shingles back from the ridge line. In addition, remove all felt paper or underlayment from the ridge line. At the completion of this step, you should have exposed approximately the top three inches of the wood decking along the ridge line.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Cut Opening for Ventilation in Ridge Line

    Open Ridge Line for Ridge Ventilation
    Cut the wood decking back along the ridge line a minimum of one inch on either side of the ridgepole to allow air flow through the opening. Photo © Jurin Roofing Services www.jurinroofing.com

    The next step is to cut the wood decking back along the ridge line. It is best to leave a minimum of one inch of clearance on either side of the ridgepole after the deck is cut to allow air flow through the opening. If there is no ridgepole present as with some truss framed structures, the opening should be at least one inch from the ridge on both sides.

    Begin by measuring the width of the ridge line on the inside of the home. Note the width of ridgepole, if present and transfer that measurement...MORE to the outside peak of the roof. Split the measurement in half and add approximately the measurement on each side. Measure that distance from the ridge line and chalk a straight line using the chalk line across the ridge.

    Remove all framing nails above or through the chalk line. Utilize the cat's claw pry bar to remove the nails from the wood decking. If the decking is loose after removing the nails, install new 8d common framing nails below the chalk line to re-secure the decking.

    Cut the decking along the chalk line using the circular saw. Be sure to adjust the depth of the blade to a point where the blade does not cut into the rafters or trusses. Remove the wood from along the peak.

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  • 05 of 06

    Reinstall Field Shingles

    Shingle Installation
    Install shingles in the areas of exposed deck to allow for the proper installation of the ridge vent material. Photo © Jurin Roofing Services www.jurinroofing.com

    As necessary, install new field shingles in the areas of exposed deck to allow for the proper installation of the ridge vent material. In addition, reattach the existing courses of shingles with the loose roofing nails as necessary to ensure that they remain in place after the installation of the ridge vent material.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Install Ridge Vent on Roof

    Installation of roof ridge vent
    Place your ridge vent along the ridge vent according to the manufacturer recommendations. Photo © Jurin Roofing Services www.jurinroofing.com

    The final step is to install the ridge vent you have chosen for your roof system. Instructions for both aluminum and shingle over ridge vents are below.

    Option 1 -- Installation of Shingle Over Ridge Vent

    The first step in the installation of a shingle over ridge vent is to measure down the manufacturer’s recommended distance from the ridge line along one side of the ridge. Use your chalk line to strike a line along the ridge. Place your shingle over ridge vent along this line and nail the ridge...MORE vent according to the manufacturer recommendations. Then attach the other side of the shingle over ridge vent to the opposite side of the ridge to fully secure the vent.

    After installing the shingle over ridge vent, the second step is to install asphalt shingle caps over the installed ridge vent material using the nails recommended by the manufacturer of the shingle over ridge vent that you installed.

    Option 2 -- Installation of Aluminum Ridge Vent

    The first step for installing the aluminum ridge vent is to measure down the manufacturer’s recommended distance from the ridge line of the roof system along the ridge of the roof. Use your chalk line to set a line along the ridge line. Position the aluminum ridge vent along the line. Use the pneumatic nailer to nail the flange of the ridge vent to the roof deck at intervals recommended by the product manufacturer. Then secure the other side of the aluminum ridge vent to the opposite site of the ridge line.

    If you choose to install an aluminum ridge vent, be sure to incorporate the connectors and end caps for the product into your system to ensure that the joints and ends of the ridge vent remain watertight. In addition, these accessories will help to keep bugs and other pests out of your attic space.