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question about insulation at attic ends


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10-07-12, 07:18 PM   #1  
question about insulation at attic ends

Not sure how to properly describe this. At the ends of my attic, there are openings between the studs against the exterior walls that seem to lead straight down into the wall space of the house. Should these be closed off, filled with cellulose or something, or left alone to "breathe?" Seems to be an easy way for the cold air to infiltrate into the walls. Also, do you gain anything by putting any insulation on the attic side walls, or is that a complete waste? Thanks for your help!

 
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10-08-12, 04:31 AM   #2  
How old is the home? Balloon construction is assembled inside the stud framing and creates openings between each stud often all the way to the basement. But it would need to be an older home. What can you see from the basement/crawlspace.

Picture would help.

Bud

 
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10-08-12, 06:19 AM   #3  
The house was built around 1950. It's a rancher, on slab - no basement. Brick exterior, with drywall attached to furring strips, not 2x4's. I'll try and get a photo of the area in question, and post it later. Thanks.

 
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10-08-12, 01:56 PM   #4  
Here is a photo showing the side attic wall, and the area with the open gaps.

Name:  2012-10-08 - attic.jpg
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10-24-12, 12:30 PM   #5  
My home is platform framed (each floor interrupts the vertical wall space) and I noticed similar gaps while air sealing my attic. It's a 2 story town house (middle unit) with cinderblock dividing walls between units. There was an inch wide gap between the dividing wall and the joist next to it. I could feel the heated air rushing up to the attic through the gap, and see the dust marks left behind by years of air leakage.
I reasoned transfer of air between the living quarters and the attic is not desirable and sealed the gap with closed cell foam. The attic is ventilated by attic vents and I can't think why the wall space would require ventilation, unless there is an inadequately ventilated source of moisture in a room below (like a steam shower on the first floor or basement).

 
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10-24-12, 03:33 PM   #6  
I was hoping that someone had an explanation for that gap, and whether or not it was wise to seal it up, but the thread went quiet.

 
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11-09-12, 01:44 PM   #7  
Just trying one more time to see if anyone has any advice on how to deal with these openings in the attic. Can anyone help?

 
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11-09-12, 05:31 PM   #8  
I haven't ignored you, just not understanding what the gap is. In your picture it is all covered up. End of house??? does that mean gable end? Brick exterior can mean a gap required to allow moisture to dry from the inside. At one point you mention strapping and then studs.

Just not sure what you are dealing with.

Can you sort some of this out and I'll try again.

Bud

 
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11-09-12, 07:10 PM   #9  
Thanks, Bud. The gaps in question are at the gable ends of the attic (the wall that the insulation butts up against in the photo is a few feet below the gable vent), and it is a brick house. The gap is a few inches wide, and it goes all the way down the wall. The studs, however, do not. Only furring strips on the exterior-facing walls in the living space. So, does this mean that I need to leave those gaps open to reduce moisture buildup, or can they be covered with insulation? If you need better photos, let me know. And thanks again for your help. Have a great weekend.

 
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11-10-12, 03:35 AM   #10  
Brick structures can be a challenge. Below are two of the best articles I have found to explain the issues bricks face. The two prime issues to learn about are:
1. Does the brick need the air gap for drying?
2. Does the brick need the heat from the house to protect it from freeze damage?

If it is "good brick" and can take freezing (many can) then you could at least add a layer of insulation to the inside of the home, leaving the gap in place. Not easy adding two or three inches to the inside of a wall, but it may be an option and there are ways to make it easier than tearing out the plaster to start from the studs.

Happy reading
Bud

BSD-106: Understanding Vapor Barriers — Building Science Information

BSI-047: Thick as a Brick — Building Science Information

 
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11-10-12, 05:18 AM   #11  
Thanks, Bud! Actually, I've already added framing, insulation, and new drywall to several rooms, but there are a few walls that I can't work on. As I add more insulation to the attic space, I'd love to seal off those gaps, if it doesn't cause any new problems. Thank you for the links - I'll check them out.

 
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