Installing Gable Vents

How to install gable vents.


Ridge and roof vents are easier to install just prior to a roofing job, but they can also be retrofitted onto an existing roof. Soffit vents can be installed any time.

Venting goes hand in hand with insulation. Measure the thickness of your attic floor insulation (or wall and ceiling insulation, if the attic is finished) and ask your building department or a home center whether you should add more.

If you need more ventilation but don't want to cut a new hole in the roof or gable, consider adding a power vent, which can be controlled by a thermostat and/or a wall switch.


Several hours to install most venting products

Tape measure, drill, reciprocating saw, jigsaw, chalkline, circular saw, hammer and chisel, trowel

Basic carpentry and roofing

Determine how much and what type of ventilation you need. Tear off the roofing or plan to cut back shingles for the installations. Make preparations for working safely on the roof.

Soffit, roof, ridge, or gable vents; nails and screws; roofing; roofing cement

Gable vents: Step 1

Cut a hole that will be covered by the vent frame. Set a circular saw to cut just deep enough through the siding and sheathing. Or use a jigsaw and stop when you come to a stud.

Gable vents: Step 2

Attach the vent louver panel by driving screws into the siding and sheathing. Caulk the edges as needed.

Gable vents: Step 3

You may need to modify the framing, depending on whether the gable framing is 16 or 24 inches on center. If installing a gable fan, add top and bottom horizontal framing.

Gable Fan: Step 1

Mount a gable fan by driving screws through the mounting flanges into framing members.

Gable Fan: Step 2

Shut off power to the circuit and run code-approved cable to a nearby junction box. If no junction box is available in the attic, bring power up from a circuit in the room below.

Gable Fan: Step 3

Wire the thermostat following the manufacturer's directions. With the thermostat shown, stripped wire ends are inserted in a terminal bar and screwed tight. Adjust the thermostat control and restore power.

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