Unvented Slate roof, no soffit

My hip shaped roof (1930) is unvented, and the roof runs right to the walls, no over hang. The attic (20 X 25) is only about 4-5 feet high, so the cubic feet of air isn’t much, but it gets HOT in the summer.

I want to vent it, but the truth is, I’m probably going to replace the whole thing in just a few years, so I’m looking to do this cheaply, for now. Even the if it isn’t the best solution, I just want some relief.

I’d like to just put a whirlbird turbine on top, but what do you recommend for intake near the bottom?

I’ve never used this type of forum before, so I’ll try to get a photo involved, if needed.

Any thoughts?

extra insulate the floor of the attic w/unfaced insulation,r-30 or so,leave the roof area alone until you can do it w/a new roof installation


Your slate roof is vented. Slate vent themselves.

You can put a turbine there. You will not need intake.

Why are you planing on replacing the slate?

If your house was built in 1930’s and has slate you probably don’t need any extra venting. If you’re replacing in the next 2-3yrs anyways I’d say forget about it till then.

If you really must vent for some strange reason your cheapest way out is going to be a power fan in the roof-top and a couple static vents somewhere in the eave area. Just don’t put the intake where snow sits.

Why in Hell would you want to replace a slate roof ?

You guys have given me a lot to think about. I’ll try to answer some of your questions:

It’s not that I MUST vent. It obviously stood for 77 years w/o it, but as I said, it gets HOT on my 2nd floor. And doesn’t cool off at night. It can go up to 75 in the day, down to 60 at night and my upstairs will stay in the mid 80’s, even with several windows open all night.

But I was going to add insulation anyway, so maybe I’ll do that this w/e. As a conservative first step, and see if that helps. Do you think that it will really help keep the heat from radiating down?

Why am I planning to replace it? I’ve been advised several times by many others (this stuff isn’t my bag)that it’s reaching the end of its life. There are a couple slates missing, and few that are chipped, etc…For instance, our home inspector, when we bought it, thought it had about 7 yrs before we should consider replacing it on our own terms rather than be forced to. He had no financial motive that I can think of.

I believe I’m about to get a lecture that I should get a second opinion from someone who specializes in slate, and that it may just need maintenance. Feel free to help there. I’ll listen.

Thanks in advance. you guys have been VERY helpful so far. (I never knew that slate “breathes” on its own, for instance.)


“Why am I planning to replace it? I’ve been advised several times by many others (this stuff isn’t my bag)that it’s reaching the end of its life.”

Some people like to deny that slate has a life expectancy. Fact is, it’s just stone. Everything dies, even slate, lol. At 75 yrs it may be able to be repaired (unless it is Penn slate which sucks). Basically if you can take a piece off the roof and destroy it using only your two hands it needs replacing. There are also othe factors to consider, like was it put in with galvanized nails… Your slate maybe in good shape but the nails are rotting off the roof.


Your Pa. home inspector needs absolutly no experience in anything to be a home inspector.

He has no financial motive. That may be true.

I already had to tear off a slate roof with 50 years left. The mortgage company took the home inspectors word. I put on a 25 year roof. So the home inspector and the mortgage company screwed the home owner out of at least 25 years of roof. Plus the bueaty of slate.

The home owner need to close and could not argue the point with the home inspector.

Most people do not know anything about slate.

Its true that certain slate “like some from Penn” will get porus and delaminate over time. Slates from Vermont upstate NY or Black Monsons from Maine will last for hundreds of years. The metal flashing will were out many times over before the slate will. The are slate roofs in europe that have been on for centuries. Yes I do work with slate.


penn slate sucks,usually if the slate is good,the slate can be removed,the deck refelted and the original slate reuesed except for replacing damaged ones,it should be vermont slate or better