By Benjamin Morril
It’s amazing how often ventilation is overlooked and undervalued when homeowners and industry professionals alike discuss home renovation projects. Proper ventilation could literally not be more important for a safe home, so it’s crucial that you understand how to increase attic ventilation with Soffit vents.
Soffit vents will improve the overall quality of your home in a number of ways, and they should really be installed on all modern homes. So, what is a Soffit vent? Is it just a regular vent? And, don’t I already have one? Well, you might, but let’s take a closer look at what, exactly, is a Soffit vent. At its simplest, a Soffit vent is a ventilation system installed on the underside of the eaves of your home (known as the Soffit), and this allows for fresh air to be pulled from outside the house and into the once stuffy attic.
Most homes are fitted with vents somewhere near the roofline, whether its hip roof ventilation or the popular Gable Vent. The major difference between those and the Soffit is that Soffit vents are often not visible unless you get up under them – mostly because they sit under the roofline. So, if you don’t like big vents that can be an eyesore, you should really check out how to increase attic ventilation with Soffit vents.
One of the biggest reasons you should install a Soffit ventilation system is, of course, its numerous benefits. Once you’ve installed your Soffit vents, you will no doubt find that your attic is much cooler in the summertime. In turn, this will work to decrease the temperature of the entire home, saving you a bundle on air conditioning costs – not to mention the environmental impact!
Conversely, your Soffit vents will be just as big of a positive during the cold winter months. By seriously reducing moisture and heat accumulation in your attic, you will decrease the odds of getting unwanted mold, mildew, and rot. This will help save your wood and the entirety of the homes structure, as well as keep whatever valuables you store up in the attic at a safe temperature and in peaceful conditions. Excessive moisture due to bad ventilation can degrade the entire roof system if left to its own devices.
Also, extremely high temperatures in your attic can start to bake your roof tiles, and if this goes on long enough they will damage them and cause them to prematurely age quite severely. Unfortunately, more homes in America are improperly ventilated than one would think, causing mold, rot, wasted energy, peeling paint, and extreme roof degradation – don’t let that be your home.
Does My Home Need Soffit Vents?
New homes often have them already installed as a matter of building principle, make sure you check thoroughly before purchasing any materials. Some homes, particularly older ones, have very few, if any, installed – which is just asking for a poorly ventilated, stuffy attic. Walk around your house and take a good long look under your eaves – what do you see? Do you see enough vents?
Good venting will run in thin, narrow lines along the length of your Soffit. If you see this type of ventilation you should be thankful – you’re all set! But, if it looks sparse under there, like maybe one or two scattered about, then you should seriously consider upgrading your system.
Installing Soffit vents isn’t that arduous of a task, so if you’ve got a DIY home improvement spirit you should be able to tackle this yourself. Start by cutting into the Soffit to make room for the vents, just make sure you don’t cut into the roof rafters – this will significantly weaken the structure of your roof. You might want to use a stud finder so you can determine where it’s best to cut your hole.
Once you know where your Soffit vent will go, start cutting the hole using a keyhole saw, but remember to leave some room for the outer edges of the vent and the screws you’ll need to secure it. This can all be done solo, assuming you have the right tools on hand. However, if you lack the tools or the capacity, it’d be wise to hire on a contractor, as this job won’t take a professional for than a half-day.
Soffit vents offer the most amount of airflow and are some of the easiest vents to install, making them a no-brainer for homeowners looking to improve ventilation. Installing is as simple as marking the hole, cutting it with a jigsaw, and then screwing or pinning the vent itself into place. It can be a square or rectangle (it’s more often a rectangle) and remember that the hole should be a half-inch smaller than the vent on all sides.
Types of Soffit Vents
There are two major types of Soffit vents that you’re going to come across at your local hardware store or Home Depot. The first, and the one that will probably require an extra set of hands upon installation is continuous Soffit vents. These are the type of vents that come long and narrow, and they run the length of your Soffit. If you have narrow eaves these are highly recommended. These work beautifully and are going to give you the best ventilation, but, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do these yourself.
The next type, which is definitely more common, is individual Soffit vents. Think of these as spot fixes, or, if you install them all around your eaves, virtually the same as continuous Soffit vents. These are the more popular type because of the ease of installation, and most homeowners won’t have much trouble putting them in without any additional help.
So, if you’re lacking proper ventilation, there is no better place to start than with Soffit vents. Check with your area contractor if you’re still unsure about your ventilation, and once you find out what you’re dealing with it’ll be much easier to go from there. The job is not without a few challenges, but with the right DIY spirit it can be a rewarding task.
Correct ventilation could not be more important for a safe home, so it’s vital that you comprehend how to increase attic ventilation with Soffit vents. Ultimately, this is one home renovation task that is worth undertaking, as good ventilation will seriously improve the overall quality of your life.
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