Gaps to Soffits are Stopped

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Old 08-01-06, 01:31 PM
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Question Gaps to Soffits are Stopped

Hello everyone,

This is my first post, and any help is greatly appreciated.

<b>Background Info</b>
I had interior condensation issues last winter and am trying to improve the ventilation in my attic. Fortunately, all wood is solid, and the roof is reasonably new. Right now, there are just four roof vents on one side of the roof, nothing else. It's a 1922 bungalow and had an old, hastily-thrown-together attic bedroom that I've gutted and plan to replace. Insulation and perhaps some light framing (better knee walls) are in the works for this fall.

<b>My Problem</b>
I'm sold on the soffit/ridge vent idea, but the spaces between my rafters -- in other words the gaps above the exterior walls that would normally lead down into the soffit space -- are stopped up by one or more boards. I don't know if these boards are structural or not. Can I just remove these boards or cut spaces in them to the soffits, or is my only option to install gable vents instead of soffit vents. Anyone had experience with this kind of situation?


Thanks for any ideas.
 

Last edited by T Waldo; 08-01-06 at 01:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-01-06, 04:25 PM
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If I remember my 1922 bungalo design chart, you don't actually have covered soffits or fascia boards. You have exposed rafter tails. Is that correct? If so, the boards you have between the rafters were used to keep varmits out of the attic. Not much worry was given to ventilation. If you have fascia and soffits, they were probably installed at a later date. The vertical boards are not structural, as they were used primarily to keep the rafters from twisting and, again, keeping stuff out. If you have soffits, do they have vents?
Study your situation, as the air must move from the soffits, undisturbed to the ridge vents in order to give you adequate air flow. Post back and lets see what we as a group can offer in the way of advice. Also, if you could post a couple of pictures on a site such as photobucket or others, we would be able to see what you see.
BTW, welcome to the forums.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 07:15 PM
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Question Additional info

Thanks so much, Larry. I'm impressed you knew immediately what I was talking about. You're right, exposed rafter tails with no fascia. That's another project I have going -- adding fascia and better gutters. All previous owners had accepted as fate that the gutters had to be hung directly from the exposed rafter tails (and with 3/4 inch screws!). Well, guess what happened. About every other screw had slipped out, causing uneven gutters and spillage.

Anyway, onto my original question. My house has soffits, which were installed when the aluminum siding was put on in the 60's or 70's. The soffits have no vents, so if I take out the board I was talking about (which I think I'll do on your advice) I'll definitely put in vented soffits. By the way, here are photos of that stopper board I was talking about.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39577790@N00/204397667">View from about 10 feet away</a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39577790@N00/204397668">Close Up</a>

(These photos were taken from inside the attic, looking down at the corner. I would have shown you the view from outside, but it's pouring rain right now!)

As for the ridge vent, what do you recommend for the covering on the ridge after I cut the sheathing? I've seen different options, such as a mesh covering, metal ridge and others.

Again, thanks for any info.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 07:36 PM
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Well, at least someone's getting rain. They keep us on a 30% chance. Not good odds.
Adding the soffit vents is a good idea. The blocking can be removed without any problems, structurally. The only problem I see is getting enough space to add insulation as well as baffles to allow the air to move toward the ridge vent. You may have to add a 2x2 on the face of each rafter to allow for R19 plus the baffles.
As far as the ridge vent, I am assuming you have a shingled roof as opposed to a sheet steel/tin roof. There are plastic ridge vents that are nailed over the slit you will cut on either side of the ridge beam. You then nail your color of shingles over the vent so it will match. There are small slits along the entire run to allow air to escape and keep wasps out. Be sure to buy 2 end baffles to seal it off completely. No need to run the entire length of the house. stop short about 4 feet on either end, and that will give adequate venting.
Post back if I didn't cover it all. There are plenty of guys here to answer just about anything.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 08:13 PM
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Great, that's what I'll do for the ridge vent (and yes, the roof is shingled). I'm trying to avoid having to fur out the 2x4 rafters, just because the headroom is already minimal. Do you think with 2 one-inch boards of that blue polyisocyanurate board (R= 6.5/inch) between the rafters and excellent venting I can avoid any condensation inside and ice-damming outside? Or will I have to fur out the rafters?
 
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Old 08-02-06, 04:58 AM
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You will get a maximum of R13 with the baffles and the stacked poly, but I think your concern at present is the condensation, and the air movement is the most primary factor. Ice damming will most likely occur on the edge of the roof, but hopefully, if you keep the temperature stable and let the air flow you will reduce it considerably. Good luck with the project, and post back if we can help further.
 
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Old 08-02-06, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. They're greatly appreciated!
 
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