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Community and Q&A

Would soffit vents at the gable end perform as well as standard louvered gable vents?

Richard Baumgarten | Posted in General Questions on

I’ve got a very simple, steep pitch, vented gable roof, with soffit vents at the eaves.
I’ve considered standard gable vents, but want to keep my rainscreen detailing to a minimum.
I’d like to avoid ridge vents.
Does anyone have any advice or experience with soffit vents at the gable end?

Thanks for your help,

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  1. Chris Koehn | | #1

    Richard, I have a bit of experience: the short answer is it depends.. mostly on how your gables are framed. If there is nothing to impede air movement over the top of the gable wall, you will get some air movement through a vented gable. Whether it's enough to provide adequate ventilation for the attic is a bit of a complex equation, and it depends on windiness, roof pitch, roof volume, and how much air can pass over the wall. Personally, I find that ridge vents work well, and I don't find ones like those made by CorAVent to be unattractive.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Studies have shown that the best air flow rates occur when an attic has a combination of soffit vents and ridge vents. So if you want a vented, unconditioned attic, that's the best way to go.

    However -- and I'm opening up a can of worms here -- the entire logic behind attic ventilation is based on assumptions and guesses rather than research or a scientific study of how attics perform. This has been debated at length elsewhere, but suffice it to say that attic ventilation doesn't really lower the temperature of roof shingles or lower your cooling costs during the summer.

    If you have moisture in your attic due to ceiling air leaks, then increased attic ventilation isn't the best remedy. The best remedy is to seal your ceiling plane.

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