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donna.t 02-05-2008 05:47 PM

Soffits filled with Concrete Plaster
Hello! My 2-story with hip roofed attic house (aka money pit) was built in 1914 and the original construction materials are mostly intact and unaltered. The attic floor is covered with tongue and groove boards and within the joists is cattle hair. What would be considered the soffit areas is filled with concrete plaster (as in lath and plaster) that closes the space between the floor and roof sheathing. There is no ventilation of any kind aside from a window, which looks as though former owners were leaving it open during the summer. Any old moisture damage that I can see appears to be (and so the building inspector indicated) from old roofing left to deteriate too long. I am removing the cattle hair and replacing it with fiberglass insulation. But what should I do about the concrete filled soffits? Leave them (as in --- if it ain't broke, don't fix it) until I someday, if ever, insulate the rafters?


Kingfisher 02-06-2008 06:51 PM

where is the window? You can add a powered fan in the roof that will come on at set temps but you need a air supply for it, like sofit venting. I hate to say this because I think they look like #$%%# but drill 2" holes for the little disk vents is an eay out for you with the power fan

donna.t 02-06-2008 07:22 PM

Soffits filled with Concrete Plaster
The roof has hip rafters in all four corners, so there's very little ridgeline (perhaps 6 or 8 feet long) but a dormer was built into the front portion of the roof and a 3 section window runs nearly the full span, with only the center pane being removeable. Your reply raised another point which is that, because it's a hip roof on a square 30 x 30 house, most rafters don't actually reach the ridge. So, even if I were to install soffits (I like the idea of the holes!), the majority would not vent to anywhere if I were to add insulation and vapor barrier. The electrician said that most folks in these parts just fill the rafters with insulation, omitting venting, and add the vapor barrier with due diligence. Having lived in BC for many years, the idea of it makes me cringe! I searched the net but came up empty handed with respect to hip roofs of this age and construction.

Thanks so much,

Kingfisher 02-07-2008 11:09 AM

are the attic wall drywalled to stop the air or the new insulation would cove the air ways? If the latter they should use foam chases first that keep the space free for the air the move throught. The power vent can be placed on the back roof line near the top and the make solar one too if you don't have power up there put the 110v are still your best bet

donna.t 02-07-2008 12:35 PM

It's completely unfinished aside from the floorboards. If I were to install insulation and drywall, as it is now, all of the rafters would be closed up. Perhaps 1/5 of the rafters reach the ridgeline. There's not much room to hang a ceiling, but I could do that to allow venting of those rafters through the top of the roof. I think that's what you're saying, right? Would it work to drill small vent holes through the closed-in rafters so that any moisture could work it's way over to the vented rafters? Or is that wishful thinking? Honestly, for all the trouble, I'm thinking a new roof might be the better way to go --- just really didn't want to spend that kind of money on all the other repairs this old house needs.
Thanks so much,

Kingfisher 02-07-2008 02:52 PM

If you are tring to make this living space too, look at having the underside of the roof spray foamed instead of the new blown insulation. This will insulate the attic space and means the roof will not need any venting at all. It can cost more but it should fix all your problems and can give you an insurance break for your home owners policy

donna.t 02-08-2008 11:11 AM

Thanks, that's sounds like the perfect solution! The attic floor joists are 2x6 so it won't qualify as "livable" space with respect to building codes but I hoped to make it "usable" year round. Thanks again! Donna

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