Adding Soffit and Ridge Vents to Your Attic

Proper attic ventilation is an important component of an energy efficient home, since it keeps your house cooler in the summer. It’s also important in the winter to vent moisture from your attic to prevent rot, mold, and mildew.

To provide proper attic ventilation, your home should have:

  • Soffit Vents: These vents are located in the soffit under the eaves to allow outside air into your attic. They’re available in both rectangular and round shapes.
  • Ridge and Gable Vents: To let hot air out of your attic, you also need either ridge vents cut into the roofing on the peak of your roof or gable vents at the top of gables in your attic.
  • Power Vent Fans: If you need additional attic ventilation, you can install vent fans in your attic. Vent fans can be either hardwired or solar powered, and should be located high up on the roof just below the ridge or inside your attic behind a gable vent.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Allen Lyle: Now, what Danny means by ventilation is how your attic breathes. And that air exchange is so important. Attic ventilation in the summertime is going to keep the home cooler. That means your air conditioner is going to work less. You’re automatically saving money right there. In the wintertime, it’s going to help move out the moisture, which eliminates the buildup of mold and mildew. Now, you accomplish this two ways.

First of all is intake. Look at this, this is so common in millions of homes across the U.S., you have a solid soffit. It looks really nice – one little vent is just not enough, it won’t do it. So we’re going to cut holes in the soffit, cover those holes with a vent. If you think that’s too big, that’s okay, I’ve got one like this. How about, this is simple, little three-inch hole. Pop it right in place.

Now the second half of the equation is the exhaust. You’ve got to let that air out. Right up top here, this is the ridge. A ridge vent is basically cutting a hole across here, and then covering it with a component that’s going to let that air out of the attic, but keep the rain and critters out. If you can’t do a ridge vent, certainly, I do recommend a power roof vent as close to the ridge as possible.


  1. Just put a new roof on with a ridge vent. My problem is my gable vents. When it rains the water gets into my attic. Can I close them off completely and not effect the circulation in the attic.

  2. If you have ridge venting and soffit vents, then the gable vents should be covered, as they interfere with proper air flow. Also, be careful whete power vents are located, they, also, can interfere with proper venting .

  3. I have an circa 1930 balloon (Sears) house that only has small slits
    as soffit vents. The house has a walk up attic (unfinished) and there is insulation beneath the floor.
    Is there a way to enlarge the venting to improve the attic ventilation ?
    Any comments will help
    Thank you

    • Hi, Dave,

      Enlarging the venting will only work if you have sufficient air intake through your soffits or overhang.

      Thanks for your question!

  4. Can someone please tell me what the required distance is for plumbing vents from a roof vent for attic ventilation or what it should be if there’s no such requirement…which I can’t imagine there not being such. Is it the same as it is from a window? That is not going to be possible in the small roof area I have to work with if so!

  5. Are there gable vents which allow air to enter but block rain/snow from entering?

    We currently have intake of air on a ridge along the slope on our roof (very unusual)and a ridge vent for air outflow but since we need to replace our roof anyway, we are trying to work out a good ventilation solution that would be reasonable priced but will help keep humidity down in our house. Our roofer suggested pitting in a gable vent at each side of our house for air inflow into the attic and two power vents for air outflow. Our house does not have any soffit vents.

    Advice appreciated!

    • Hi, Els!
      We’re always looking for homeowners to call into our radio show and ask questions directly to Danny and Joe. We’ve reviewed your question and shared it with our radio producer, Marc, for consideration.
      Need immediate help? Connect one-on-one with a home improvement pro immediately through JustAnswer, a Today’s Homeowner partner:
      Take care. 🙂


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