Insulation covering soffits - okay to remove?

Old 04-29-06, 09:33 AM
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Insulation covering soffits - okay to remove?

The previous owners of an old house I've recently bought appear to have covered over the soffits, and stuffed layers of insulation all around the edges of the attic flooring where the roof meets the floor (eves?). This doesn't seem right to me, as I can't understand how the attic could then be ventilated through the soffits. The attic door was nothing more than a few planks of wood nailed together, so my guess is the previous owner thought it was getting too drafty and decided to stop it by covering the soffits. The roof does not have any ridge vent/fan/air vent, so I am going to have to install that this summer. Could someone help out a novice here and tell me whether it is okay to go ahead and uncover the soffits? I can't think of any other reason why someone would otherwise leave them covered! Thanks
Old 04-29-06, 09:43 AM
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Soffit vents are useless if blocked. Even without ridge vents I assume the house at least has gable vents which again won't work without the intake of air from the soffit vents.

You need to uncover the soffit vents. Often when extra insulation is added a foam gaurd/barrier is installed to allow an air passage past the vent.

It shouldn't be too hard to figure a way to seal and insulate the attic acesss door/lid.
Old 04-29-06, 11:33 AM
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You can remove the insulation in one rafter bay and look to see if the soffit is even accessable behind the insulation. Some houses used to have blocking installed there which also blocks the soffits. If you can see into the soffit, try to ascertain where the vents are in the soffit. If you can't see any intake vents in the soffit from the outside of the house, then you will also have to add those in order to let fresh air into the soffit, just like you would need to add ridge or can vents to let air exhaust from the attic if there weren't any to begin with.

If the insulation is removed, Styrofoam or plastic proper vents should be stapled to the roof sheathing, then insulation should be tucked underneath the proper vent so as to insulate the top plate of your wall, and so as to allow only a measured amount of air to flow into the attic. In my area, this is done every 4 feet or so- (the exact amount of ventilation should actually be based on a mathmatical calculation of sq ft of ventilation vs cubic feet of space being ventilated.) The remainder of rafter bays are left closed- plugged by insulation. However, unless you live in a cold climate, it's difficult to have too much ventilation in an attic. Theoretically, you should have an even ratio- sq inches of intake and sq inches of exhaust. I've seen some even recommend the ratio be 60/40 in order to be most effective.

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