Soffit vents (or lack thereof)


Old 11-19-06, 02:25 PM
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Soffit vents (or lack thereof)

Bought an old house (~100 yrs old). Previous owner had stuffed insulation down into the soffits around the edge of the attic, which I removed this summer thinking it was blocking the soffit ventilation. Looking at the soffits now, I can't tell whether they do actually have any vents in them. From the outside of the house, I can see there are perforated sections lining the soffits, but from the inside of the attic, I can't see any holes or feel any drafts where those perforations should be. What should I be able to see from the inside to tell if these are true soffit vents?
I'm thinking that maybe my house is so old there isn't any ventilation in the soffits, and maybe at some point in the past when the house was re-sided, someone just stuck the perforated paneling on the outside for aesthetics. So, is it usual for old houses not to have soffit vents? If so, any advice on alternative ventilation?
Additionally, I was going to put in some blown insulation into the attic flooring. If these soffits aren't ventilated, should I fill them with the insulation too?
Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-21-06, 03:09 PM
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The perforated sections you are looking at are probably vented (perforated) aluminum or vinyl soffit panels. As you have probably already determined, the house is likely too old to have soffit ventilation, if there are no holes cut in the soffit. (which should be visible if you look down into the soffit from above. If so, the perforations are for looks only. Sometimes a house will have vents in one area, but not in another, and when the soffits are covered, they will just use one type of soffit material throughout- and it is often perforated.

Alternative ventilation on such houses would be either: can vents, gable end vents, ridge vent, turbine vents, or a power vent. Generally you choose one type and do not combine various types of ventilation in each area being vented.
Old 11-22-06, 03:42 AM
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Since it is easy enough to remove the current perf soffit (they lock together), you could remove one every 6 feet and just cut a rectangle in the existing solid soffit that I suspect is under the perf and reinstall the panels. This will allow for proper attic ventilation from the soffits, and you can then use any of the methods mentioned by XSleeper for forcing the air throughout the attic. Also, consider installing baffles at the soffits should you decide to install additional blown in insulation at a later date to keep the insulation material away from your soffits.
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