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Proper Soffit Installation Can Help Your Attic Breathe


During the 1980s many of America's builders learned an expensive lesson--it is possible to make a house too airtight. Many homes during this period were built without enough ventilation for their attics, and within a few years the roof sheathing on these homes began to fail. It became easy to spot the homes with a problem due to the dips in their roofs. Builders had to go back to many of the homes they had built and replace the roof sheathing and shingles, all because of lack of proper venting.

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Perforated Soffit Installation Makes Ventilation Easy

When builders used wood as a soffit material, someone would have to figure out how many soffit vents were needed, and where they needed to be placed. Each piece of soffit would have to be cut for rectangular or circular vents, which would then be nailed in place prior to the soffit being installed. Perforated aluminum or vinyl soffit material removes the guesswork and the need to prepare each piece for venting.

When you are siding your home and reach the soffit installation stage, install perforated soffit everywhere except for the gables. Gables can receive solid soffit, as that area of the roof usually is already vented, and gable soffit is more visible. Soffit installation is fairly easy, especially if done while you are siding your home. Mastic Corporation and Durabilt Building Products both offer detailed instructions.

Pair perforated soffit installation along with other means of roof ventilation to provide the circulation your attic needs. Additional types of ventilation include:

  • Ridge vents--venting along the ridges of the roof
  • Roof jacks--rectangular or round vents on your rear roof surface
  • Gable vents--often decorative

If you have questions about how much ventilation your attic might need, ask a building inspector to run some quick calculations for you. Most homes have enough ventilation with perforated soffit installation and ridge venting.

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