Installing a continuous soffit vent isn’t just a good idea because it will help ventilate your attic, but it’s also required by law in many states. These vents ensure that enough air gets into your attic so that it stays cool or warm, and it also allows the turbine vents to work properly. It’s fairly easy to install the vents if you prepare and properly measure before doing any work. Before starting, you will need to get chalk, caulk, a tape measurer, hammer, hacksaw or circular saw, drill, nails, screws and the vent assembly.
Go to the floor below the attic and measure the continuous soffit vent to see if there’s enough room in the soffit joist. If there isn’t enough room, then you need to get a smaller soffit vent. If there is enough room, then place the vent against the joist and use the chalk to mark the vent’s outline. Remove the vent and place it somewhere safe and easily accessible. Cut the marked area in the ceiling with either a circular saw or hacksaw. A circular saw will be faster and easier, but the hacksaw will give you more precision. Regardless of your decision, you should make the hole slightly smaller than the vent assembly. You can always cut more if needed.
Push the vent into place and then use the drill to place screws into the vent so that it’s secured against the ceiling. There should be holes in the vent for these screws. If not, then place the screws about a foot away from each other. Make sure that the vent is secured before moving on to the next step. If it isn’t safe, then try adding another screw or ensuring that the screws went through the ceiling material.
Go into the attic and find the continuous soffit vent. A layer of insulation will probably cover the vent. You don’t need to worry about this before installing the vent, but you do have to remove the insulation now. You can cut or tear it away, but cutting is preferable because it’s cleaner and ensures that the material won’t get in your eyes. Be sure that the vent is completely clear to allow air to travel through it. Failing to remove the insulation will make the assembly useless because air won’t be able to circulate through the vent.
Many homeowners will place one or two pieces of wood around the soffit vent to keep any insulation from touching or interfering with the vent. This is a good idea if you just cut away a little bit of insulation, but it may be unnecessary if you removed a lot of insulation. This is an optional step, but it’s a good idea to ensure that the vent works without any interference.
More Than One
Most homes need more than one continuous soffit vent. If you need another, then it’s often a good idea to place it near the initial vent. It should be easier to install, and it allows more air to get into the attic. This largely depends on the size of your house. Smaller homes may not need another soffit vent, and larger ones will require vents in different areas of the home for more ventilation. Add as many vents as needed before going on to the next step. While you can skip ahead, it will be a waste of time because you will be moving between the attic and the floor beneath it.
Go back into the attic and install the inside part of the soffit vent. Be sure to place it around the surrounding rafters to keep it secured. There are two things that you can do to better secure the vent so that it doesn’t fall through the ceiling. If there are any nearby studs, then you can screw the vent into the stud. You should also caulk the edges of the vent to the floor of the attic. Most homeowners should use waterproof caulk because many attics have a good amount of moisture. You can also use roof tar, but caulk tends to be easier to use and obtain.
The last step is to just clean the edges of the vent, be sure that the insulation isn’t touching the vent and to finish any other vents that you installed. The entire project should take about an hour or two, and it's fairly easy even if you don't have any power tools.