Ventilation suggestions for 1926 no soffit colonial home

i know i should have addressed this last month when my roof was replaced, but i didn’t,and now i’m trying to remedy the issue.
i have a 1926 2 story colonial with a simple gable roof that was just replaced (complete teardown)
no soffit vents. from the outside, you see the rafters sticking over the outer wall by about 12 inches.
the roofer installed a ridge vent, but with no air coming from the bottom o the roof, there isn’t any air flow.
the attic is semi-finished and i would like to complete it, and wonder what i can do toy get some air up there…
the floor of the attic is insulated and there aren’t any gable end vents either…
a power vent fan would just pull air from the rest of the house, correct? and how does that work if i wish to finish the ceiling/walls with sheetrock? wouldn’t that just bury the fan inside one rafter bay rendering it fairly useless?
any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Talk to Dennis @ Roofers Review, if I remember rightly he’s the guru on this one.

no soffit vents. from the outside, you see the rafters sticking over the outer wall by about 12 inches.

Does this mean the area between the rafters are solid?
Also Do you have a gutter on the fascia?

There is a product out that I have used a few times called Vented Drip Edge
Combines a drip edge with intake vents for homes with little or no soffit.
Vented Drip Edge installs under the roof shingles, behind the gutter.

Using this with an attic fan should produce enough ventilation. There are other options as well, But this tends to be the least visible

Without even having read the responses,
I’d have to suggest to leave well enough alone.

If it hasn’t had any moisture problems, don’t fix something that ain’t broken.

Why do I say this?

Because houses back then were built so loose anyway.

That’s why they last so much longer than newer homes.

Now, if there is a current moisture problem or if you’re weatherproofing the rest of the house to the point that you’re going to choke it (windows, doors, etc…), then you’re going to have to help that house breath somehow.

But ultimately (though I might get raked over the coals for this) I’d say leave it be if it’s lasted this long without any problems.


If you can get a clear run from gable to gable, one powered gable vent and one non-powered gable vent would be great.

Vented drip edge sucks, especially if there are gutters in place.

Even Paul Scelci from Air Vent told me that they had a lot of complaints from roofing contractors around the country about it, so that is why they copied the idea made popular by Smart Vent and came up with TheEdge Shingle Over Style Intake Vent

I much prefer the Smart Vent so far and have installed it on hundreds of homes of all sorts of pitches.

I will get a copy/paste from another forum I help out on, called and put the message I had for someone else just yesterday here.

Be right back…

Here it is:

You DO have a great and very viable option to provide lower roof intake ventilation.

There is a great product that I have been using for the past 6-7 years, called Smart Vent, by DCI Products Inc.

It is a shingle over style intake vent that gets installed on top of the plywood decking witrh a 1" wide slot cut out. It is a tapered product, which winds up being only 7/8" high at the actual eave edge and gets as thin as about 1/16" 12 inches higher on the roof.

Myself and many other roofers who care greatly about making sure that the roofs will last their warranty period of time, always refer this product.

Here is a link to the Smart Vent page with some illustrations as to how it gets installed. Almost every shingle supply house either carries it in stock, or can quickly order it fro them and in the rare circumstance that their are no local suppliers, you can contact them directly.

Ask for either Jack or Steve Henderson and tell them that Ed The Roofer told you to contact them if you need to. Who knows, maybe I will get some brownie points?

Now, even without a soffit overhang, you have a remarkable and viable solution to provide the proper amount of exact balance between the ridge vent exhaust and the fresh air intake.


P.S. I have a post on this forum that shows photos of it getting installed on several jobs. Do an Advanced Search under the Username; Ed The Roofer" and the search phrase; “Smart Vent”.

I also have some links for photos of it being installed.

Here are some of the threads that some photos are located in.

Smart Vent Photos showing Balanced Roof Ventilation from Intake to Exhaust.


and another one

You will have to follow another link to the ContractorTalk Forum where I originally posted them in these next links.…tos#post119915

This might lead you to duplicates that arew in the last one…tos#post119912

and here too…tos#post116573


Ed I agree with the eave vent somewhat sucking but I did ask him if he had a gutter, I would never use it if gutters are installed, unfortunately around here its the only product I have been able to find without having to order and try something online. The Smart Vent Looks like a great concept for the these types of problems do you know anyway to get local distributers off their ass to sale something like this? We have Roof Center, ABC Supply, and Bradco no one else really. People around here cant and don’t wait for much of anything you cant come up with a solution fast enough they go to someone else quickly.

Go to the DCI link. They are the manufacturers and i just spoke with the owner and his brother recently.

Oh, here is the list of who can carry it:

They have a list of suppliers on their website, but that does not necessarily mean that the supplier carries it in stock.

If no one around you has it in stock or is willing to get it for you, then they will let you know how else you can obtain the product.

I always keep an extra 4 cases on hand, just in case my supplier does not have any available. Each case contains 17 pieces that are 3 foot in length, so you get 51 feet out of each carton and then when I use up one of my cases, I order more from my supplier.

Even a special order only takes a matter of days to get it.


Wow their links pages lists every damn supplier we have in the area. This actually makes me mad cause I have asked each many times over the past years about a product that does just this and the only damn thing they have ever came up with is the damn dripedge vent crap, which I have only been able too use if the customer didn’t have gutters, well I have installed with gutters before but the first snow storm sure let me know I would never do that again. Some people are catching hell tomorrow and they will have it in stock if not only just for me. if not I will not do any more business with them anymore, we did almost 300k in product sales for Roof Center last year, grrr I wish I could call them right now.

Thanks Ed

The Ever-Flo Inhaler is the best product we have found to date and have zero complaints about it. Regular drip edge style vent opens into the gutter area and is prone to ice dams. I would expect some fancy crown on your house though and you’d have to remove it on the eaves to use this. You’d also have to remove the first 2-3 courses of shingle on your eaves.

Other options would be a solar powered intake fan or 2ndGen’s suggestion, if you have an open attic area.

thanks for all of the replies.
yeah- the problem is that i have this overhang, but noe soffit-
and yes, there are boards between each rafter blocking air from entering.

now, please correct me if i’m wrong, but an exaust fan would only work if i had an open attic, correct?

is there another place that i can install an exaust fan that wouldn’t be rendered useless by sheetrocking the ceiling?

thanks again.

roadk I am confused at this point as do you have an actual attic, or cathedral ceiling?

If you have no soffits with exposed rafter tails. That means that drip edge vent wont work. If you cut the wood at the gutterline of an overhang with exposed rafter tails, then that wont let air enter the attic.

Smart vent needs to be installed up the roof enough so it lets air enter the attic.

Or you can install hat vents near the eave in the same fashion. But you probably wont like the way it looks.

I have installed the Smart Vent for the Mid-Roof application several times.

It looks very good and it is completely functional too.

First though, we need the OP to more accurately describe his attic or vaulted/cathedral ceiling scenario to us, for him to get correct advice, not made up from assumptions.


this is an attic
but it has no soffit- just exposed rafter tails.
i can’t see how these drip edges would work in may particular situation.

so i was thinking of an exhaust fan of some sort, but where would it pull air from?
i’m afraid that it would just pull air from the rest of house, not jsut the attic…

You are correct that it would pull conditioned air out of the interior environment.

It would not be that difficult to install the Smart Vent at a point slightly above the exterior wall, by removing 3 rows of shingles and cutting in the slot and installing Ice and Water Shield over the Smart Vent and also adding a course of starter shingles where that come into play along the lower edge of the Smart Vent.

You have a solution that will work with that prescription.


thanks again guys-

now, with a vented roof, i’ll need some rafter bay baffles …but i only have 5.5 inches to work with, and was thining of adding an additional 2" of wood to extend the rafters, only leaving me with 7.5 inches to work with…

i was thinking of tacking on some furring strips to the inside of the rafters (closest to the sheathing) and cutting 1 inch rigid foam to fit in between the rafters- the furring strips keeping the foam 1.5 inches from the sheathing.
then, putting a layer of r19 fiberglass over that, then a poly vapor barrier, then sheetrock.

that sound correct, or am i creating an issue with multiple vapor barriers(poly on the inside, foam near the outside)?

thanks again.

Roadk, are we talking about a dropped level ceiling in attic if you have room or cathedral? to rafts? Also in what climate?

I’ve used smart vent its a good concept but for right now it looks crappy its cheap I just think it was some really poorly untested crap but if you have open rafters that’s what it is but to me and I know a lot of ppl hate this idea but old timers used to leave their sheeting hang and inch this would be early drip edge and leave a 1/2 gap between where the fascia board and sheathing would meet that makes great intake. I know what about ice dams to me their caused by faulty gutters or ones full of leaves not the thaw than freeze at the edge besides he said he doesn’t have an overhang so I’m not sure where the open rafters comes from almost sounds like the house had stop gutters or box gutters and they were removed and you had regular gutters installed later but point being made old houses aren’t even close to air tight and the best way to tell is look at your windows in the winter and check the houses RH that’s a question that bothers a lot of ppl about intake oh and dripvent sucks with 5" gutters because it sticks out 1 1/2 past and if you slope that gutter it’ll miss sorry this is so long I just like you ppl

the attic will essentially be cathedral ceilings in the end. i plan on screwing drywall to the underside of the rafters, with 4 foot high knee walls on either side.
as for the climate, i’m in new jersey.
so winters do get quite cold here.

i know i need more than what 4" of fiberglass batts is going to give me, so i thought of nailing 2x3s to the ends of the rafters to extend the rafter bays…

any other ideas?