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Perforated soffit vents installed over solid wood HELP!

Perforated soffit vents installed over solid wood HELP!

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Old 02-13-09, 03:20 PM
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Perforated soffit vents installed over solid wood HELP!

Hey fellas, I have a story and a half house, the attic is partially finished, and it is extremely hot in the summer, until now we have only used it for storage. My house is about 80 yrs old.

I got to poking around in the unfinished part and noticed there is no attic venting, none. Outside my house the length of the house on both sides have the perforated soffit vents. I pulled some insulation back and I could see just a sliver of light. I felt alittle air. So all the soffit was installed over solid wood and just a little sliver of air coming through. What should I do? How easy is it too remove a few soffit panels and cut some holes in the solid wood planking? Thanks for the help! I plan on installing some gravity roof vents this year but need good intake. Also want to install a whole house fan. Anybody ever heard of these people? AirScape — Quiet Whole House Fans
 
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Old 02-13-09, 03:30 PM
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Perforated soffit vents installed over solid wood HELP!

Whoever did the sofit work performed a "hack job" that looked good did nothing.

You can cut holes in the solid wood soffit after you get access and it may work. Many of the older homes also had solid vertical blocking between the rafters that will also block the air flow even with holes in the soffits.

Do a little more investigation from the exterior by cutting a hole in the soffit (a mirror works good to see things) and from the interior by prowling around through the attic.

Olde homes really followed no strict prescriptive pattern in contrast to modern homes where the prescriptive homes offered more predictable problems.

Dick
 
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Old 02-13-09, 03:42 PM
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A hack job indeed, ever since I bought this house I have been fixing people's screw-ups. Never dove into soffits before looks like the fascia is nailed to the soffit every couple of foot, is there any way to pop a couple of those panels off, while avoiding taking apart the fascia and gutters?
 
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Old 02-13-09, 03:44 PM
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You should be able to pop out pieces of the soffit. Usually they just sit on the lip of the metal facia and in an F channel on the sheathing. You should be able to remove your perforated soffit pieces without damaging them. Get a hole saw and drill holes in each bay to allow your perforations to work. Then re-install your soffits. I see this all the time. A lot of these vinyl guys are bozos.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 03:56 PM
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I think that everyone may be jumping to a wrong conclusion here.

Many older houses did not have any soffit venting in the first place. When a company is contracted to cover the soffits and fascia, it's not standard procedure for them to cut open soffit vents if there aren't any there to begin with. If it was in the contract, that's a different story. But many older houses have blocking that closes off air flow in the rafter bays, so making soffit venting work properly is not just a matter of cutting a few holes here and there in the soffits. Even if it was that easy, I'd hazard to guess that most siding contractors are NOT the ones that are qualified to decide the locations or how many soffit vents are needed.

Many siding contractors use perforated soffits for ALL their soffit installs, not necessarily because they are hacks, and not because they are trying to be deceptive- often it is because it makes it simpler for them to stock one style of soffit, rather than having both solid and vented in each color.

In many "1 1/2 story" houses, the rafters are 2x4's and there really isn't enough space to have both soffit ventilation and a proper amount of insulation, so soffit venting is not always practical. Typically, there is a small triangle needing to be vented above the ceiling, and either gable vents or can vents are used to ventilate this space. The rest of the roof rafters are generally packed full of insulation. Not ideal, but you're usually limited by the size of the rafters.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 05:08 PM
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The rafters are 2x4's I believe, and you are right about the small triangle that needs to be vented which isn't. But only half of my attic is finished. There needs to be some sort of venting. When i"m in the unfinished there is no air moving at all, in the summer its unbearably hot and humid.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 07:05 PM
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Like I mentioned, either can vents or gable vents could be used to ventilate your attic space. IMO you should quit thinking about ventilating your rafters, and only vent the unfinished attic spaces.

You might also think about a window/wall air conditioner or if you have central a/c, run some cold air returns upstairs to pull out and mix the hot air that rises.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 08:30 PM
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Can, gable, ridge vents will all help.

Adding soffit vents to the above will work much better.

You can add insulation to 2x4 rafters. Just make sure to install some type of rafter baffle so as not to block the air flow.

Soffit ventilation with insulation baffles are shown here; Soffit Vents and Attic Ventilation
 
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Old 02-13-09, 09:11 PM
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Yes, I want to just vent the unfinished spaces. Thanks for all the advice! Hopefully I can get some warmer weather and start getting some flow in my attic!
 
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Old 02-15-09, 03:52 PM
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When you install baffles in 2X4 rafters about finished attic space, isn't that compressing the insulation and causing it to be less effective? Or, of course, you could use thinner insulation with a lower R value.

If it's better to install baffles and have air flow and less R value in the roof, why isn't this practice also done on the exterior walls?
 
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Old 02-22-09, 08:39 AM
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Did a bit more digging in my finished attic. Blew a few little holes in the peak, where the walls meet the ceiling, and found out that a gable vent is out of the question. The 2x4 rafters run all the way up to the peak.

Unless I am getting this wrong, all of the framing would have to be below the peak, to make a little triangle, right? Then a gable vent would work venting across all the rafters. If I were to put one in, I would only vent a little portion of the wall and 16" of roof, as the next rafter would cut off air flow.

I think I am getting this right.
 
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Old 02-22-09, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by VoltageHz View Post
When you install baffles in 2X4 rafters about finished attic space, isn't that compressing the insulation and causing it to be less effective? Or, of course, you could use thinner insulation with a lower R value.

If it's better to install baffles and have air flow and less R value in the roof, why isn't this practice also done on the exterior walls?
It is done on roofs and not exterior walls because if there is no ventilation to your roof it can decrease the lifetime of asphalt shingles, I dont know if it has any effects on metal roofing.

You dont want air moving through your exterior walls because it can leak around trim, switches, and outlets.
 
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