So, you recently learned what soffit vents are and how they’re incredibly helpful for attic ventilation. You went outside to peek at your soffits and see how many vents your home has, only to realize it doesn’t have any! The horror! 😨
Now, you’re wondering if you can take this issue into your own hands. The answer is yes! It’s actually very easy to install a soffit vent yourself. You just need a few fancy tools and a little bit of time on a nice afternoon.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials 🪜
First things first— you’ll need to gather all the necessary tools and materials so that you aren’t left running to the hardware store halfway through the project. Remember that safety always comes first with DIY projects, so always work with safety goggles and work gloves and follow ladder safety rules.
You’ll need the following items on hand for this DIY project:
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
- Electric jigsaw
- Soffit vent (also called an “under eave vent”)
- Large piece of flat cardboard
- Craft scissors or utility knife
- Construction pencil or chalk
- Power drill
- 1/4″ drill bit
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Caulk and caulking gun
- 1/2″ sheet metal (stainless steel) screws
Step 2: Trace Your Vent on Cardboard ✏️
It’s important to pick out the right under eave vent for your soffit. You can often find them in circular or rectangular shapes, but rectangular shapes are easier to cut with a jigsaw for a DIY project. Ideally, your soffit vent has a screen in the back to protect against pests, like this option from Home Depot. Keep in mind that the larger vents you choose, the fewer you’ll need to install.
To get things started, you’ll trace around the edges of the vent on a flat piece of cardboard. Then cut out the shape from the cardboard.
Next, you’ll grab your ruler and measure 1 inch from one long edge and one short edge. You should have two lines drawn inside your cardboard rectangle (not four). Cut along both of those lines so that your final cardboard shape is the same shape as your vent, only 1 inch smaller. This will allow you to cut a hole that leaves room for screwing the vent into your soffit.
Step 3: Trace Lines on Your Soffit
Now, you’ll take your cardboard shape and trace it once again, but this time directly onto your soffit. You want to install your vent in the center of your soffit. Most overhangs are 12 to 18 inches wide, so the center falls between 6 and 9 inches of your home’s wall.
Mark the center with a pencil, then place the cardboard shape over it. Trace around the cardboard with chalk or a construction pencil. Work on your ladder if need be, and be sure to have your safety glasses and work gloves on.
- 💡 Pro tip: Avoid placing your vent over your rafters so that you don’t cut or damage them. Instead, place the vent in between two rafters without any overlap.
Step 4: Drill Starter Holes 🕳️
You won’t dive right into cutting the shape out with a jigsaw. Instead, use your power drill and at least a 1/4″ drill bit to drill a hole at each of the four corners of your outline. Lean towards the inside of your outline rather than the outside, so you don’t accidentally create a hole that’s too large for your vent.
Step 5: Use Your Jigsaw to Cut Out the Shape 🪚
Now, use your jigsaw or a manual compass saw and insert it into one of the holes you drilled in. Cut along each of the lines until a rectangular portion of your soffit drops free.
Hold your soffit vent up to the hole. Make sure the vent covers the entire hole and that it overlaps about 1/2″ of siding on each side to leave room for the screws.
Step 6: Coat the Vent’s Outer Edges With Caulk
You want to create an airtight seal to keep bugs and debris out of your vent. Caulk is a great way to accomplish this.
Take your caulking gun and run a line of caulk along the edges of the underneath side of the vent. Avoid applying too much caulk so that it doesn’t spill over the sides.
Then, carefully hold the vent over the hole and press it flush with your overhang. Make sure the angled slats in the vent are pointing towards your house, not away from it. This helps keep rainwater and dust from getting into your roof and attic.
Step 7: Secure the Vent With Screws 🪛
Each soffit vent usually has 8 or 10 holes for screws to get drilled into. 1/2″ stainless steel sheet metal screws are a great option for these vents. Secure the four outermost corners with screws first so that you don’t have to keep holding the vent.
Then, drill in the remaining screws until all of the holes are filled and the vent is secured tightly to your overhang. Try to jiggle the vent to make sure it’s properly sealed. If the vent moves at all, you may need to tighten the screws or replace them entirely.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Ventilated Attic 🙌
And there you have it! Installing a soffit vent is a pretty simple task for a DIY-friendly homeowner. And once it’s installed, your attic will thank you! A properly ventilated attic helps you avoid mold growth, lowers energy bills, and helps prevent ice dams.
If you’re not comfortable working with a jigsaw, on a ladder, or simply want to ensure the job is done correctly, feel free to call on the professionals at Gouge Quality Roofing.
Our skilled and experienced team can handle all things roofing, and we’ll ensure the job gets completed to the highest industry standards. Reach out today for a free quote!