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Thread: ridge vent size

  1. #1
    wes owens's Avatar
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    Default ridge vent size

    Can someone tell me what the min. and max. width is for a ridge vent opening cut in roof sheathing? I can't seem to find it.

    The width of the opening in the sheathing on the house I did today was
    1" - 2" wide.

    I think it should be about 4" wide but was wondering what the spec's are.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    The amount of open vent area required will depend on several factors, such as:
    is this a gable roof with gable vents, or hip roof, any other roof vents (power vents, or turbine), and of coarse sq ft of roof area.
    But ridge vent openings are normally 2- 3"

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size


  4. #4
    j.Peter Buss's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    i just inspected a large house with 1/4" to 1 " ridge slots on either side of the ridge board, it just doesn't look correct ! Is there a spec for this - it was a large attic
    Thanks






  5. #5
    wes owens's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Peter,

    Rick posted a link to a site that should help.


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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Obviously it depends on the manf. of the vent. Years ago I wrote up oone that I thought was too small. The builder pull out the manf specs and there it was....3/4" TOTAL width. Looks like Ricks is 1 1/2" total.

    JF


  7. #7
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Wes,

    I have been through this several times and as the link Rick gave you shows, 3/4 inch on each side is enough. It does'nt look right but it is.


  8. #8
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Let's do some math.

    house is 40 feet long by 30 feet deep, or 1,200 sq ft. This is the 'attic area' which includes a 2 foot overhang, not the 'house area'.

    Required ventilation is 1:300 if 50% or more is near the ridge, 1:150 if soffit vents only.

    1,200 sq ft / 300 = 4 sq ft / 2 = 2 sq ft. If *at least* 2 sq ft of net free vent area is at the ridge, then we can use the 1:300, otherwise we need to use the 1:150 rule.

    Okie dokie, the ridge is 40 feet long, or 480 inches long less 21 x 1.5 = 31.5 inches for a total open area of 448.5 inches.

    The ridge vent slot in the sheathing is 3/4 inch to each side of the ridge board, or 1-1/2 inches wide total. 1.5 X 448.5 = 672.75 sq inches.

    672.75 sq inches / 144 = 4.67 sq ft That makes it doable, now, though, what is the net free vent area of the ridge vent itself?

    This will be given in sq inches per linear foot.

    The net free vent area of the ridge openings are 672.75 sq inches / 40 = 16.8 sq inches per linear foot. Thus, as long as the given sq inches of ridge vent are less than 16.8 inches per linear foot, that 3/4 inch cut out to each side of the ridge is going to be adequate.

    Anyone want to check my math and make I did it right? Thanks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  9. #9
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    The minimum and maximum width of the slot are not usually specified by code but by the manufacturer's installation instructions. The code will let you figure out the minimum square inches of net free vent area NFVA) that you need.

    The manufacturer makes a vent that has a certain amount (in square inches) of net free vent area per lineal foot of ridge. This sets a limit on how narrow the slot can be, so that the vent and not the slot is the limiting factor on air flow through the vent. The vent itself will be made to a certain width and only extends to cover the roof a few inches on either side of the ridge. The manufacturer will specify a maximum slot width which, if not exceeded, should ensure a watertight joint between the vent and the roof covering.

    Let's go back to that minimum slot width again and see how narrow it could be. I've seen typical ridge vents with NFVA as low as 9 sq in per ft of ridge and as high as about 18-20. Take that low flow vent at 9 sq in/ft. If you use that one, you need at least 9/12 or 3/4" total width of a slot (clear of the ridge board) or 3/8" on either side of the ridge. This is to ensure that the vent, and not the slot, is limiting air flow. Take a higher flow vent at 18 sq ft/in. On that one you need 18/12 or 1.5 inches minimum total width (clear of the ridge board) or 3/4" on each side if the ridge. Cutting slots wider than the minimum based on the NFVA of the vent you are using does nothing to increase ventilation; it increases the chances that the vent will leak.

    Check on Jerry's math:

    2006 IRC 806.2 has the requirements.

    §RR806.2 Minimum area. The total net free ventilating area shall not be less than 1/150 of the area of the space ventilated except that reduction of the total area 1/300 is permitted, provided at least 50 percent and not more than 80 percent of the required ventilating area is provided by ventilators located in the upper portion of the space to be ventilated at least 3 feet above eave or cornice vents with the balance of the required ventilation provided by eave or cornice vents. As an alternative, the net free cross-ventilation area may be reduced to 1/300 when a vapor barrier having a transmission rate not exceeding 1 perm is installed on the warm-in-winter side of the ceiling.
    Let's assume a gable roof and our ventilated space (inside the attic) is 40 feet long (at the ridge) by 30 feet wide (eave to eave) or 1200 sq ft.

    Using 1/150, the required total NFVA is at least 8 sq ft. Using 1/300, it is at least 4 sq ft.

    Let's assume worst case of NO soffit vents and either no vapor barrier or one with an effective perm greater than 1. If we cut a slot along the entire length of the ridge inside the gable end walls (assumed to be 40 feet), we would need a minimum clear slot width (8 sq ft / 40 ft) x (12 in/ft) = 2.4 inches (total on both sides of the ridge board). For this to work, we'd need to find a vent that provided at least 29 sq inch NFVA per foot of ridge. (Note - some manuf say you couldn't do this configuration with their vents, because their install instructions specify use of their vent in conjunction with soffit vents.)

    Let's assume a more typical case where we have soffit vents and they provide at least 50 percent of the required NFVA. Now we can use 1/300 which requires 4 sq ft total. We are going to meet that by providing 1 sq ft at each soffit and 2 sq ft at the ridge. Our slot running the full length of the ridge (inside the gable end walls) can be reduced to (2 sq ft / 40 ft) x (12 in/ft) = 0.6 inches (total on both sides of the ridge board). For this to work, we'd need to find a vent that provided at least 7.2 sq inch NFVA per foot of ridge and run it the full 40 feet.

    Let's say we want to use one of those low profile ridge vents with the filter inside, that provides NFVA of 9 sq in/foot. For this vent we would need a slot 3/4 inches wide and (2 sq ft x 144 sq in/sq ft) divided by (9 sq in/foot) = 32 feet long. Use one of those higher flow ridge vents (NFVA of 18 in/foot) and you need a slot 1.5 inches wide (3/4" on each side of ridge board) and only (2 sq ft x 144 sq in/sq ft) divided by (18 sq in/ft) = 16 feet long. In theory, you could use that higher flow vent on a 3/4 inch slot if you ran it for 32 feet. BUT code says you must follow the manufacturers instructions and they will tell you how wide of a slot to cut for their vent.


  10. #10
    Geoff Ehrman's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Most manufacturers recommend a minimum of 50% venting at the soffit. The system performance is significantly comprimised if there is no soffit.
    Also the width of the slot vaies by manufacturer. Proper width is important to eliminate the potential for weather infiltration. Make sure you install a vent with "Dade County" approval.
    Benjamin Obdyke inventors of the original ridge vent on a roll has a tech group that will run the numbers for you.

    Residential Roof Materials and Ventilation, Wall System Products


  11. #11
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Using the standard ridge vent and ridge cap the maximum size on either side of a 2x ridge is 1.5".Installation instructions will say less.


  12. #12
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Garrity View Post
    Using the standard ridge vent and ridge cap the maximum size on either side of a 2x ridge is 1.5".
    Michael,

    Where does your 1-1/2" come from?

    Installation instructions will say less.
    Then that would be the maximum - whatever is stated in the manufacturer's installation instructions.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  13. #13
    Geoff Ehrman's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    The slot width should reflect the NFA (Net free area) of the vent. If a vent is rated at 18 sq. in per lin. ft (most common) - ie 9" per side, a 3/4" slot assuming no restriction would be adequate. Typically 1" is specified to offset any restriction that maybe designed into the vent itself.
    Put another way....The slot on each side does not need be any greater than the height of the vent off the deck as this is the "limiting factor". If the vent is 1" off the deck a 1" slot is adequate (each side).


  14. #14
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Jerry,from my own installation experience.[1.5"] That is not the manufacturers number.The 1.5'" allows just enough room to nail the vent and cap.If in doubt follow the manufactures instructions.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    As a somewhat related situation.... I can't stand it when a bath fan duct termiates at a ridge vent. It just doesn't work. The AHJs in my area allow it (no surprise - it's still the wild wild west here in a lot of ways) but it just doesn't work. There weren't too many ridge vents 20 years ago but as a % I sure see a lot of ventilation problems with them.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    GAF says to cut 3/4 inch from both sides of the ridge, measure each side and if the total opening is less that 1", cut additional amount from each side until the opening equals 1 inch. Stop the cut a minimum of 12 inches from hip and ridge intersection, the outside gable or other intersection.
    Do not remove more than 2 1/4 inch from either side of ridge.

    http://www.gaf.com/Content/Documents/RID0001.pdf

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
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  17. #17
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size


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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Thanks for the info Rick. I needed this to attach to my report. I just put ridge vents on my house and was kinda surprised at how small the slots are allowed to be. Bigger is not always better when it comes to slots.


  19. #19
    paul hardy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    I would be more concerned with the skinny strip of osb installed at the ridge manufactures reqire a minimum 24" wide panel also it has no edge support at the ridge as shown on page 17 of this guide in the notes.


    http://osbguide.tecotested.com/pdfs/en/tm420.pdf


  20. #20
    Dee Davis's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent slot length

    And in a related question. . . . .

    The ridge vent slot in my new roof looks like it was cut too long. I have a hip roof and the manufacturer's spec [GAF] say the slot should end 12" from the intersection of the hip and ridge.

    Because the slot ends about two inches from the hip/ridge intersection, the roofers covered the slot with the ridge vent and ridge shingles and essentially had to cover over the intersection, too. Now the end of the ridge shingles sort of extends over the intersection and sticks up at both ends of the roof line.

    Aside from it not looking good [which I can live with] I'm concerned that it might cause problems in the future---e.g. leaking or some other problem I haven't thought of yet!

    Can anyone tell me if this needs to be corrected or if it's only esthetics but isn't going to be a structural integrity issue and cause problems for me in the future!

    Thank you.

    Dee


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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  22. #22
    Jack Henderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Ridge vent cut out: Size should be 3.5" overall assuming there are trusses or a maximum ridge board width of 1.5" (or anything between). This will allow the air to easily flow out of the attic and through the respective ridge vent. This 3.5" equates to 1.75" off the center of the peak on each side. This should work on most if not all ridge vents manufactured.

    On the ridge/hip leaking issue, DCI Products makes a Tapered End Cap that is universal to fit most all ridge vent manufactured products. It slopes the cap shingles down to the roof gently and still allows for air flow. It is used at many areas so the ends of the ridge vents will not leak water or snow because the shingles taper down to the roof and they can even be used on hip roof vents too! The cap shingles simply go right over the tapered, sloped down vent and seals the roof against weather penetration.


  23. #23
    Dee Davis's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Jack,

    Thanks for the info and I'd like to ask you a follow up question but the mod has asked me not to use this topic. So I started another thread:

    Ridge Vent installation on a hip roof

    There are pictures there too. Thanks.

    Dee


  24. #24
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Davis View Post
    Thanks for the info and I'd like to ask you a follow up question but the mod has asked me not to use this topic. So I started another thread:
    Dee,

    Was the mod's name Watson? If so, he is not the moderator - he THINKS he is, but he is not.

    However, if Brian H. asked, this is Brian's site, but i doubt that Brian asked you not to use this topic ... WATSON, on the other hand ... THINKS he is the moderator and tries to control and direct who says what and where.

    If it was Watson who asked you that - IGNORE HIM ... like in the movie ... "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  25. #25
    Dee Davis's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Jerry,

    Thanks for the info and yes, the member's name was Watson. But I was mistaken--he didn't ask me not to post in this topic.

    What happened was that originally, I posted my question to the Administrator's Announcement of a new DIY section of the board. He asked me not to tag-a-long on that thread and instead gave me a link to post a new thread about my roofing problem in the DIY section. So I did: Ridge Vent installation on a hip roof

    Since I wanted the maximum exposure to professionals who could evaluate my roofing issue, I thought that a new topic would probably be best. He did sound like a moderator, though. :-)

    Dee


  26. #26
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: ridge vent size

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Davis View Post
    Since I wanted the maximum exposure to professionals who could evaluate my roofing issue, I thought that a new topic would probably be best. He did sound like a moderator, though. :-)
    Dee,

    It is best for homeowners to post on the homeowner section as that is why that section was created.

    It is also best to create your own thread rather than to add to an older thread, even though that older thread may be similar.

    That said, though, there is no crime committed by not doing that and no one will arrest you and take you to civil or criminal court ... well, except for possibly Watson ...

    "He did sound like a moderator, though."

    Yeah, he tries to run things here, but he has no more power here than you do (he is not a home inspector either, so you and Watson are equals here. ). Maybe we need to ask Brian to create a separate forum for know-it-all big headed bullies and Watson should post there?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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