New roof for a house in NJ-but what about ventilation? hAlp!

I’ll bet you guys see these types of posts/threads all the time and as soon as your read this first few words you’ve said to yourself: oh great, another one. :roll:

…but I do hope that you will be kind enough to shed some light on a few things for me.
Spent the last few days reading my eyes out, but still unsure where and how to start.
We just bought this place (see pix below) little over a year ago. Knew the roof was old, but it was in tact. We really want to replace it - but I really want this to be done right. If I had the time I would learn the craft myself and do it, but this is not something I can start and stop at my leisure or do in pieces while I “try” a thing or two.
Got friends who “did roofs” before and are willing to do it with me…but as you can imagine that all sounds good on paper. Been talking about this for about a year and “we” didn’t do a thing yet. The more I even thought about trying to do it this way-the more I am against it (…all I need is a new father to fall off my roof and break his neck, right? :confused: )

I can refinish my floors, install windows, move walls, replace water heaters, do gas lines, build performance cars, run networks and design datacenters…but I’d rather see this done the right way and leave this particular project to the pros. So, with all this in mind, I’d like to ask you guys for your opinions, advice and a few words of wisdom.

House details:
Location: Central NJ (Morganville)
Type: 2 story colonial, easily walkable roof (haven’t determined the pitch yet)
Roof age: unknown but I’d say easily over 10
Shingle layers: 2
Current roof construction: plywood, paper, old layer, newer layer
Shingle condition: all there, still pliable, but begin to look warn out
-past: a 4x4 section rotted out due to incorrect nail placement (I did a 1st time homeowner special…and fixed it, so far so good-replaced a 8x8 section, complete with paper and 2 layers)
-present: another 4x4 section in a far north-east corner is starting to rot
Size/measurements: will fill these in as soon as the rain stops (in the mean time look @ the sat. photo)
Current ventilation: 1 open gable on the southern side of the house (intake); 1 gable on the northern side with a power fan…which has manual control-thus it runs very infrequently
Soffit: solid (no vents); not sure if applicable

I want to have the 2 layers removed, whatever rotting/damaged wood replaced and a new roof installed - along with proper ventilation!
…and ventilation is the main issue for me at this very moment. Read a ton about ridge, and other venting methods, see houses with and without everywhere…but what is the better option in my case?
I had only 1 roof come out for an estimate a few weeks ago. My neighbor was having his roof redone, and I stopped by, BSsed for a few, and asked about “his guy.” Had him cove over for an estimate. Came out to $4300 (I’ll post details/copy when I get a chance). I asked (little informed and educated at he time) about ridge venting…but he said regular square vents every few feet plus a power/solar fan in the middle would do the job. Said he wouldn’t recommend a ridge vent for my house (he didn’t put one on the neighbor’s either). I thanked for his opinions and the estimate and we parted ways…for now. The neighbor stands by his guy (2 man crew who do their own jobs, over 10 year experience) and says he knows a lot of people and did a lot of research himself. His new roof, to my untrained eye, looks wonderful from the street level.

We’d like to remain in this house for quite some time (have kids to think of next, and we kinda skipped the ‘1st time homebuyer’ level in terms of what kind of a house we bought) and I’d like to have a roof which I won’t have to think about at all…for as long as possible. Even if we had to sell it, I’d be proud that the new owner would inherit a superb product and craftsmanship, as I take pride in everything I do. Do it the right way - or don’t do it at all.
What do you guys think of ventilation here (current and future)?
Which product to go with (something in the line of 30yr. architectual…nothing too fancy; function over form with a touch of flair for the wife, lol)?
Any recommendations for local (to me) installers?

More detailed images to come asap. This is just a area view off MS Live to give you an idea of what this place looks like (chimney on the far north-east side; single pipe through the roof…nothing else).

I realize this post is super long…and probably very boring for many of you, but in case you managed to survive through it all and have enough good will to reply I really will appreciate any and all replies, advice, criticism or jokes as the story evolves.
Thank you.

1st and foremost, that “Roofer” doesn’t know Jack-Squat about ventilation.

Most every roof looks good the day it is done, but what about 5 or 10 years later, when it is starting to show sign of failure due to inadequate ventilation?

Your home is perfect for a continuous Ridge Vent, using Shingle Vent II and also you would need to add 100% continuous Intake Ventilation, either by installing a strip vent under the soffits, or to have the roofer install Smart Vent from DCI Products Inc., which goes under the first 2 rows of shingles. Also, although one really good roofer, (Dennis), will disagree, you will need to close off your Gable Vents to prevent the attic ventilation flowage from short-circuiting and under-performing.

You do know a lot more than you think that you know, if you properly replaced and nested the 8 foot area back with 2 layers and did it right.

I know a good roofer from your area, name John McIntyre from Advanced Roofing Systems, (John Goes By The User Name Of "The Roofing God) and you also could try Marshall Roofing who is on this forum also.

They both know there stuff.

I apologize in advance if I left anyone else off the list due to not knowing that they were from your area, but most of the guys on this and other forums strive to a higher caliber of quality that the typical Run And Gun roofers to be found out there.



Power fans work the best. You could put your gable fan on a humidistat/thermostat.

Ridge vents are a passive system. That is why they are used so widely.

They are both good systems.

Hi Jwoolfsroofing,

You need a NJ lawyer on retainer to work in NJ. That is why I stopped working in NJ.


I would suggest ridge vent as there is no maintainance cost nor energy cost which you would otherwise have with a power fan…

Also, you may look into the The Edge Vent from AirVent instead of soffit vents…

All good advice.

My 2 cents,

Ridge vent, soffit vent, and add the thermostat/humidistat to the gable power vent.

Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate it.
Now, here’s a series of pictures, so we don’t feel like we’re drawing castles in the air with our fingers. I hope this ain’t too much.
I’ll continue below.

Front of the house-west:

Rear of the house-east:

Left side, with where power(exhaust) fan is installed-nothwest…least amount of sun, neighbor’s trees not all that far. Not affecting the roof , just some moss/etc on siding:

Right side-southeast:

Rafters/ridge-zoomed out:

Ridge-inside zoomed in:


Attic-zoomed out:

Sat. view-zoomed out. Red arrow represents average/regular wind flow (up the street and straight into my driveway…ask me how I enjoy fall and all the neighborhood’s leaves-lol). Red-70% of the wind, green-30% from the back. Rarely does the wind blow from other directions. Area is not too windy in general:

Rear corner. Red highlights the present rotting/damage area; to my untrained eye 1 panel needs to go. ? mark on the flashing…needs to be replaced for sure, but not sure if it caused any damage thus far:

Soffit/side-for reference:


…and just for the heck of it my repair from last year:

TBC in next post…

Hope this isn’t too much, but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible/needed.

With wind direction (pretty much always coming up that street and sometimes form the back)…does it help or hinder a ridge vent? If the wind coming straight at the (potential) ridge vent doesn’t matter much, do we really need to close up the gables on the side? (no problem doing so).

Looking at those soffits…think they’re too narrow for any type of a venting system to be added?
(if not, I can easily add it, even myself as long as I know which product to put in).
Inside the attic-to me it looks fairly simple and can accommodate for any design, but wanted to show it off for reference anyway.

If you don’t favor ridge and soffit vents for a reason, would reg. square vents + power (solar) vent in the middle do the job? That gable fan will be replaced/upgraded with a solar powered model as well…if it is to remain there.

If soffit vents won’t fit and I’d need to go with SmartVent (or similar)-will these stand the test of time? Any reason to be concerned during huge run offs and snow on the roof?

Last but not least (just ask my wife)…those shutters will be brought to their former glory with respect to finish-they’re deep “teal” (mostly blue but with some green to them). What would you guys consider a good, neutral…yet pleasing to the eye shingle color?
(foundation is sort of graying blue, but that can and will be changed easily).

Thank you so much for all responses and opinions thus far. I really appreciate it.

Your soffits are wide enough for these continuous strip vents. … ffit.shtml

Alternatively, you can have the roof installed on top of these under shingle intake vents from Smart Vent.

Both products provide a continuous 9 square inches of NFVA per lineal foot.

In your situation, if you are handy, I would install the under soffit strip vents.

For the exhaust, use the Shingle Vent II along the entire ridge line for an 18 square inches of NFVA of exhaust, to balance out the intake venting that should be installed on both the front and rear of your home. … Vent.shtml

To me, it looks like the crappy chimney flashing job has caused the leak down towards the lower portion of the roof.

Anticipate that you will need to replace all of the deck sheathing from the eave edge to and probably past the chimney.

Install the sheets so that the vertical seams are staggered.


Oh dear, please do not put in the leaky ridge vent that takes away from your structural integrity of your home.

Your sheeting boards are resting upon your ridge board.

Why would you want to cut this structural integrity away with now your sheeting just flapping in the wind.
Bowing and dipping

Your sheeting is nailed into that ridgeboard.
You have a conventionally framed house.
You need that ridgeboard and you need your sheeting to be nailed into it. It helps hold your house together.

You would not benefit from ridge vent with your structure. The hole would need to be cut too wide leading to leakiness.

You already have the best ventilation system known to all mankind. Nothing could possibly be better.
All you need is for an electricion to wire you a humidistat/thermostat. Done.

Prepare for lower electric bills. period.
Prepare for your roofing to out-last its warranty.

The sheathing is not nailed into the ridge board, but the rafters are.

The sheathing is nailed to the rafters.

Maybe in Florida, where winds blow away houses like Dorothy and Toto, your codes may require the additional structural binding at that building component, but that is not the rest of the country.

Watch the wind test DVD videos, which also force simulates hurricane rated rains, on the site for Air Vent and decide for yourself if a properly installed premium brand of ridge vent poses any concerns about leakage.

I have been using that one particular brand for nearly 20 years now and have yet to experience one single negative experience relayed from any home owner to date.


If you can get that 2 layer done for 4300.00, I would jump on it before that guy is out of bus…
In my area going rate for that job is 350.00 per sq.,and that roof looks to be more than 13 sq., so I would get r done a.s.a.p…


I would not change the exhust. Just add the humidistat/thermostat. This is the best system.

Intake would be a major project for a passive exhaust. You would also need to take your insulation out and put baffles in and reinstall insulation.

To much work to lower your air flow.

At this point it’s not about price. I’m willing to pay the right amount-for the right job.
I realize that both approaches to venting work well in their respective applications, but what I’m trying to figure out which is the better solution for this house.
I have no preference, to be honest.

Say I replace the fan with something quiet, reliable and solar-powered. It will work, no? If we don’t go the ridge route, should I still add aluminum square top vents (every 5-7 feet) with an additional round(whatever) exhaust power fan in the middle of the roof?
(my neighbor tot he right has exactly that, although he may not have gable fans/openings at all).

Say we lean towards ridge venting…
I can install soffit intake vents by myself with ease; playing around with insulation and adding baffles shouldn’t be hard either (just annoying, and more work). Will the ridge work properly with the direction of the wind? Will it be a cause of concern down the line? I see plenty of newer looking ridges everywhere, but also see a few older installations-they look a bit skewed, saggy (sometimes) and make me wonder if they are/will be a cause of damage/problems after a few years go by. People mention how regular vents get birds and all kinds of crap in them-but what about ridges? What about dust, pollen, etc - doesn’t that also hinder air flow over time?
Last but not least: ed, I agree that cutting a ridge will not make the sheeting simply blow off the top-they’re nailed to the rafters after all, but once a ridge vent goes in it will also “re-tie” that ridge seam. roof-lover brings a valid concern however. Looking at the picture of the ridge in the attic, one must consider the size of the opening to be cut, for efficient ventilation. I don’t know what the instructions call for, but I’d imagine that my opening would have to be at least 4 inches wide, in order to provide at least 1 inch of ventilation on each side of the ridge.
Last thing I want is to worry whether or not the ridge came loose, bulked up in one spot, isn’t nailed evenly or will cause a leak one way or another.
If a roofer screws up a flashing on a vent or chimney, the damage can be repaired fairly easy (relatively speaking). What if the ridge vent going the entire length of the house becomes a problem (one way or another)? I can only speculate this can cause much more damage than an isolated spot.

Adding, closing holes/etc is not a problem for me and I’d like to help any which way I can (although I can imagine that pros. don’t want ‘help’ from a homeowner while they do their thing…I know I wouldn’t; so I’ll do mah best not to be ‘that guy’). I can install+wire any/all fans necessary, as long as the ones going on the roof top are done by the pro (you do the roof+parts, I’ll wire/etc…but I really want solar powered crap up there :).
Aside from the cost factor of any one solution that is to be considered I want to accomplish the following: Have a new, reliable roof with functional venting, without making the job overly complicated for no good reason. If one “method” is easier, faster and equally effective-I’d take it (for the sake of time, effort and money). Don’t want a half-assed job, but at the same time this ain’t no space ship we’re building here as well…

Shouldn’t rain this afternoon so I’ll get correct measurements of the house/roof then.

jwoolf-I’d like to hire a roofer that not only has been doing this for a number of years, but will also be there 10 years down the line. I know what you may say, but I’m sure there are well established, honest, reputable people out there. It’s just not always easy to find one…and come to think of it, how many ‘average consumers’ replace their roofs more than once or twice in a lifetime? I guess time will tell, right?

The wind direction blowing perpendicular to the ridge vent that I suggested will actually increase the amount of air-flow pulled out of the attic, due to the external baffle, which increases the Negative Pressure on one side and Positive Pressure on the opposing side.

The Roll Version of Ridge Vents are the ones that get nailed too deep or loose and create a wavy ridge product and inefficient air flow. I have videos of anemometer wind flow tests done inside of verifying that point from moisture and air-flow tests that I have done hand in hand with a very savvy Home Inspector.

You Must use 2 1/2" to 3" Roofing Hand Nails for the Shingle Vent II to firmly secure then into place. Shorter nails will not provide the holding power required.

The Slot cut-out is about 2 7/8" wide, so just say 3" in total, and the covered portion of the Shingle Vent II Ridge Vent is 12" wide, with an internal filter enclosed and also an additional 2" in width to account for the external baffle and trough.


So with that 3 inch cut, it will leave about .75 inch of unobstructed gap on each side of the ridge…is that trully enough, even at roof’s lengh?

Should I be cencerned with the installer cutting out too wide of a ridge gap?
Considering the 2 to 1 ratio, how wide should the cut outs be on the soffits (for intake vents)?

Being obsessed with roofing now, I look at every roof I can on the way back from work. Today I noticed a house+roof just like mine - only the ridge vent seemed to cover only a bout 50% of the roof’s lenght; didn’t see any open gables or any other vents on either side. I spent the next traffic light pondering “why.”


Read these. The link also tells you how to figure out the intake versus exhaust ratio.

Ed … ting.shtml

What size slot do I cut for your ridge vent?
For ridgepole construction, cut a 3/4" slot on each side of the ridgepole. For truss construction, cut a 1.5" slot at the peak of the roof.

Do I have to close off my gable vents when I use a ridge vent?
Yes, the gable vents (a type of exhaust vent) should be closed off whenever a ridge vent (which is also a type of exhaust vent) is installed because vents installed at the roof’s edge or in the overhang should supply the intake air needed by the ridge vents. Air should flow in through the intake vents evenly along the roofline and exhaust out the peak. Any vents in place between the ridge vents and the intake vents may interrupt or short-circuit that flow of air along the roofline. The gable vents will end up becoming intake for the ridge vent â€â€

The truth is that they got a cheap job. ridge vent comes in 20’,and 50’ rolls.Other plastic vents come in 4’pcs.
The roof that you saw has a 20’ rolled vent,or 2 ,10’ forget me not metal vents, and the house is 48’ long, and the roofer did not buy 50’, and through away 2’.
I see this all the time, and bid jobs, that someone else gets for less, that are cheated out of what they should get with a new roof…
accept no less…full tear off, and re-nail entire deck, after rotten pcs. have been replaced,2 rows I&W shield, full length of overhang vented,and full length of interior attic length vented( I say that cause I stop vent short of edge by 3 pcs. of cap,personal preference)
Venting soffit is extra, but I believe that it is a better option to maximize intake than vented drip,or smart vent…

I was under the very same impression.
If even one didn’t know much about roofing…wouldn’t that homeowner wonder why everyone else has a ridge extending the full lenght of the roof line and his is only half? True, not everyone goes full lenght, and I’d probably ask that mine stops a foot or two from each end.

I guess my concern over a too wide of a ridge opening is from a “will this be a problem” side, not from a venting perspective. Thanks for the links and your answer Ed. Is it safe to assume then that even if the ridge is cut out a bit too wide I shouldn’t worry too much about leaks or other problems due to that wide gap?

Shingle Vent II. We only talk about this one…and perhaps for a good reason, but 1 more question: is this simply the best, most reliable and least problematic ridge vent? Just curious.
Thank you.

While I am unsure as to what ventilation system I think is best, I can give this advice.

I have extensive framing experience, have framed many 9000+ sq. ft. homes and worked with structural engineers a ton. Cutting out the plywood for a ridge vent poses no structural risks. The plywood at the peak is resting on the ridge yes. this does help support it, but what about all the rest of the plywood on the roof? The top edge of every sheet does not sit on blocking. I have never met a framer who blocks all his plywood seams. Clips help yes, but your rafters are on 16" centers, and as long as you have 1/2 plywood you are ok. I have seen grand manor shingles installed on 1/2 plywood and 16"centers with no problems, and those are much heavier than what you will be putting on your roof.

Your rafters should be secured at the bottom, hopefully by 2x4 rafter ties, I like to see atleast every other rafter. That is what holds your ridge up in the air. The plywood stops the rafters and ridge from racking off the house. Cutting back 2 inches of plywood on either side of the ridge will not hurt a thing.