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Community and Q&A

Venting Options for a Hip Over-Roof

patrick1 | Posted in General Questions on

I have spent the last week or so planning an insulation upgrade for the vented attic in my 1984 house.  Because the trusses are low heel, there’s no way to get a decent amount of r-value over the top plates (only about 3″ – 4″ of height after vent baffles installed). I’m now toying with the idea instead of waiting until the shingles need to be replaced (probably about 8-10 years from now) and installing foam on top of the roof to bring the attic into the conditioned space. Because we get a lot of snow in the winter, we would also need a vented over-roof, as advocated in this BSC article: The problem is that our roof is a hip roof (4-sided pyramid).   So venting isn’t straightforward.  There were two ideas I was considering to help with this: 1.  Hunter panels and GAF make vented nailbase panels that allow lateral airflow: 2.  Battens and counter battens installed on the roof deck (with metal roofing panels) as described in this pro-clima article: In our area, it is common for roofs to be vented with high-rise vents that rise above the snow pack: Either of the two solutions above combined with a couple of the high-rise vents at the peak seems like it should be sufficient to keep a cold roof deck and prevent ice dams. Grateful for any thoughts folks might have about this design or other ideas to create a vented over-roof for our hip roof.

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  1. Jon_R | | #1

    Also consider something like "Cobra® Hip Vent". Perhaps as a supplement to stack vents.

    1. patrick1 | | #2

      I'm a little nervous about using that style of vent...Not sure how well they work when covered with 2 feet of snow. Here in Ottawa, you almost never see ridge vents...the common wisdom is that they don't work with the heavy snow loads. That might just be a folk tale but one can imagine how they wouldn't work - especially if the attic is really well insulated so the exhaust air isn't warm enough to melt snow.

  2. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #3

    Hi Patrick,

    I realize the hip style of your roof complicates matters but I think you will find this reader’s plan for venting an over-roof—and the related comments—valuable: Does this plan for a vented over-roof make sense?.

    1. patrick1 | | #4

      Thanks for the pointer Kiley. Lots of good information there.

      I also found this article super helpful:

      So far no concrete guidance on how to deal with the hips though.

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