Please help me ventilate the attic in my old house

My house is a semi-bungalow, built in 1952. The configuration of the roof is 2 gable ends with another gable end section perpendicular for a total of 3 gable ends. The upper floor of the house contains 2 bedrooms. The attic spaces are on either side of the rooms with a triangular section above each room. The side attics are accessible but the the top attics are not.

The house has no soffits and was built with a vent at the top of each gable end. A turbine has been added to one of the side attic areas, with a single static vent placed on the others.

I know the ventilation is poor because the bedrooms become ovens in the summer and freezers in the winter. Also, ice dams form in the winter.

I need to have the roof reshingled, but would like some advice in planning proper ventilation. I can’t find any info on how to provide proper intake when there are no soffits available. I am thinking that with 6 separate spaces I should provide intake and exhaust for each one. Exhaust seems easy enough but how do I provide intake air?

I just came up with a similar situation in which the homeowner had an extension added to the front of the house completely blocking existing intakes or a way to install them…

After reviewing it with the shingle representative we ended up adding some low profile O’hagen vents at the lowest point of the attic right above the wall plate … this are mainly design for outtakes but they should work as intakes if installed at the lowest point and are as easy to install as any regular turbine or vent. here is how they look :


Smart Vent is the way to go. Professional clean look. Very effective intake.

These are pictures of my son installing it as an exhaust vent.

Here are pictures of it as the intake.

Ive seen this product before lefty we dont have it here in the south…

lefty whats the intake on this thing ?? square inches ??

does it cause any water ponding ?? whats the minimum slope requirement ??


There is no ponding. I have used it on a 3/12.

There is 9 square inches per foot. So that is a total of 18 square inches with both sides.


what about the sheathing does it make it weak ?? since you end up with a strip at the bottom of about 4 inches ???

seems like those 4 inches of plywood could become very weak and sink when you walk on them ??

See, I’m not a big fan of those types of products. Especially the O’hagen’s style. If forced to ventilate a home with an intake rather than using the double rule i will use this product from airvent: … lsheet.pdf


The face board supports the small piece. The Smart Vent is strong in itself. You can walk on it with out a problem.

I used to use the vented drip edge. That was a real hassle. Set up, removing gutter to get the drip installed right. I did not like the finish end of the drip either.

Smart Vent works even if the gutter is filled with snow. If the gutter is filled with snow. The vented drip does not work. The vent is cover with snow.

The Smart Vent will still breathe from the rake ends.

:? Q

WIth that other vent where does the ice and water shield go then. Im just not a fan of cutting into the first foot and droping a vent where the ice and water shield is supposed to go. Maybe im just old school who knows. I agree drip vent is a pain in the rear but i like my ice and water stuck to the decking not something else.


The Storm Guard goes over the smart vent.

What is the purpose of the Storm Guard? Keep out wind driven rain. In case of ice dams, seals nails and keeps water out when backing under shingles.

Where the Storm Guard is not stuck to the deck water is not an issue.

With proper ventilation Storm Guard is not necessary. We need it for code.

Storm Guard is old school??? How old are you?

ok ok… i forgot i can try to be funny here … I still remember last time :expressionless:

I just saw the video and seems pretty easy to install and you can also use it as ridge vent which is cool … since you dont need to be mixing vents anymore …

now the only question is :





Are you trying to be funny?

I’m a homeowner–with a similar problem.

I was just looking at the SmartVent site as well, and wondering about its track record.

I recently had my 1952 cape cod insulated–now the obnoxious gable power fan runs late into the night (10:30 + and really loud above our bed). I noticed curling shingles as well when we moved here last year. It can’t be working effectively.

This house has no eaves for sofit vents and has small 12x14 gable vents (can’t enlarge because of bricked gable). I suspect it is not adequately ventilated!

Is the vented drip edge used when there is really no overhang to start with (my situation)?

Would you install this or the smartVent for the roof over the knee wall cavity? How do you ensure adequate air flow into the upper attic area?

Finally–all of this is for when I replace the roof. In the meantime, would a better gable power vent (like the one from AirVent) help/be effective in this situation (inadquate intake)? :?:



Smart Vent would be installed at the bottom of the roof. You need to make sure that there is some room ar the knee wall for air to travel thru. An inch is suffecient.

For now have a ridge vent installed. Then you can disconnect the power vent. Some will tell you that the ridge vent will not work right. It will leave hot moist air out. Not as fast as if it had intake. But it will let air out quietly.

How old is your roof? Where are you located?

I agree with that lefty

Not sure of age of roof, since I bought it just a year ago–a first house for me.

In April I replaced the separate roof over the back porch and first floor bedroom because of deck rot near the gutters that we discovered by just going out there (never had house inspected due to overheated housing market here).

The roofer said that he thought the main roof had several years before it needed to be replaced. From the back roof you can see that the shingles are brittle. One of the facia boards is rotted and the decking at the edge is dark and flaky. So I know it is not too far off. But from the ground it “looks” pretty good. I’m thinking that its probably not worth it to have a roofer come just to install a ridge vent for a roof this age. Am I wrong?

Or would you suggest both the vented drip edge or smart vent and ridge vent upon roof replacement? Are we looking at big bucks for those type of solutions for a 30 foot wide cape cod?

Thanks again!


For 60’ of Smart Vent and 30’ ridge vent.

30’ of ridge vent will most likely be included in the proposal of the new roof.

So the added cost will be for the Smart Vent. How much depends on your area. You will just have to make a decision when it is presented to you.

When choosing a contractor lean towards the one that brings up the Smart Vent or vented drip edge without you asking about it.