You are here:

Roofing/Ventilation Help- Need New Roof, Have Finished Attic


First, I will try to give you all of the information that is probably relevant and then I will pose my question.

Our home was built in 1930 and we live in NE Ohio.  Originally the home had a slate roof but at some point prior to our purchase the slate was removed.  It appears that it was redecked and then asphalt shingles were put on.  Unfortunately, we don't know when the current roof was installed.  

The attic (3rd floor) is completely finished (except for a small crawl space where an air handler is) and is cooled (central) and heated (a couple of steam radiators and an electric heater.)  It seems that the finished space does a pretty good job of staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Also, we don't seem to get much ice damming or too many large icicles. And, it doesn't seem that our snow melts off the roof much quicker than the ground.

We bought the house immediately after it was "flipped" and the flipper installed new vented soffits, but one roofer we have had out doesn't seem to think that the wood behind is actually vented all.  The roof currently has 4 (i think) square passive vents.

One roofer seems to think that the way to proceed would be to cut holes so the soffits can serve their purpose and then install a ridge vent, closing off the passive vents.  Another roofer says that we shouldn't really mess with the venting since it seems to be working effectively.

All that being said, the current roof is in pretty bad shape with lichens and some curling and we have a small leak that seems to be attributed to a rotting fascia issue. So, we need to get a new roof on before it starts failing more seriously.  We are currently considering dimensional asphalt (same as current roof) or metal (stamped shingle looking.)

We are really confused and just want to do what is going to be best.  I have done a decent amount of research on this and end up feeling like I am chasing my tail. Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated.

Since the roof is about to be replaced you have the chance to add intake ventilation without trashing the soffit and in all likelihood the gutters.

This may be what you're looking for:

SmartVent can be installed at the eave edge or a few feet up into the attic cavity- it all depends on how the house is constructed; coupled with a standard ridge vent you will have a pretty balanced system.

I've installed a few miles of this product and haven't had any trouble; to me it seems to be the most logical and cost effective way to add intake.

Good luck

A previous answer below:
Your house is perfect for a product I've been using for years with houses like yours that have no soffit.

Look here:

or use this product if replacement gutters are in your future, when using FaciaFlow the existing gutters will need to be removed

or this one: this product is a little newer but comes from a good company:

You absolutely need waterproof underlayment like Grace or GAF Weather watch at the eaves, dormers and valleys; it should extend at least 24" past the warm wall but further isn't really necessary- you can do 6' of it if it makes you feel better.

A balanced ventilation system allows air to enter at the eave and exhaust at the ridge; a ridge vent is perfect for letting the air out of your house.

There are also ventilating drip edges and a few other variations of roof deck intake systems; I'd be a little concerned that none of your contractors have ever done this type of work- it isn't anything special and is really quite routine.

Call a few more roofers until you find one who knows his trade.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Tom Petrilli


I can answer questions about residential and light commercial roofing. I really enjoy solving complicated problems. My expertise is in shingle, slate and traditional metals (copper, lead, terne, stainless) as well as single ply low slope roofing. I have also installed a considerable amount of synthetic slate.


I have been a roofer for 21 years, I've owned my own company for the past 13.

The National Roofing Contractors Assoc and Virginia Association of Roofing Contractors

I have attended numerous manufacturer training programs as well as sought out experts in specialized work for instruction.

Awards and Honors
A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, A rating from Angies List, highest mark for quality and value from the Washington Consumer Checkbook

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]