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Old 09-15-2011, 07:09 AM   #1
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


We moved into our new home 2 weeks ago and just discovered that the attic does not have vents. We are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I believe the building code states 1 attic vent is required for every 300 sq. ft.

The home was built 5 years ago.

What are our options? At this point am I responsible for installing the vents? Or should I contact the builder and ask them to do it?

Does the City building inspector have to 'OK' the construction before it was sold to the original owner, and if so, does the City have any sort of responsibility?

Thanks!

Dave

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #2
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


Are you sure that there are not soffit or ridge vents? Take some pic's of both outside and inside the attic and post back. You can also check with city hall and see if they have a copy of the plans. Is this home in a Trac community, that the same builder did all the homes in your neighborhood?

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:51 AM   #3
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


I've attached a couple images from Google Street View. I know they're a bit blurry. I'm pretty sure there's no ridge vent, as i never saw one when I looked last night.

The same builder did all of the homes in this area, and all homes (except ours) have the square attic vents. There is one other home in our subdivision that is the same model, and it has 3 square vents at the top of the roof on the left side.

I'll have to pop my head into the attic tonight to take a look.
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents-house_roof_1.jpg   5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents-house_roof_2.jpg  
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


Here's a picture of the same house in our subdivision (flipped layout). I imagine one would also be on the back of the roof over the garage too.

Does it matter which side the vents are on? Is there any preference for east or west (sun, snow buildup, typical wind direction)?

The builder's 1 year warranty states "Constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code"
2 year warranty states "Violations of the Ontario Building Code affection Health and Safety (including but not limited to, violations relating to fire safety and the structural adequacy of the home)"
7 year warranty deals only with major structural issues.

We are 5 years in, but are not the original owners.

Is it worth pursuing the builder? Or should I just go out and buy the vents I need and install them myself?
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


Hard to believe your inspector didn’t catch that when you bought the place.
Those vents are pretty easy to install if your comfortable on the roof using a circular saw.

Are there any vents at the eves?
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


We waived the home inspection when we bought not expecting many issues with a new home, and to go in with a stronger offer.

The eaves (soffit) are vented on all sections. I will have to confirm tonight when I pop my head into the attic if rafter baffles were installed.

I took at look at some DIY websites for the vent installation, and didn't realize how easy it is, so if the builder doesn't come through, I'll just do it myself.

If I have to buy the vents, what type do people recommend? The small low-profile square plastic $10 ones? the twirley birds for $50? Or those tall vents that reduce snow/rain infiltration, and stick up high enough to catch the wind? I don't know what they're called, or how much they are. I've attached a picture.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:54 AM   #7
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


Also, are there calculators out there on how to determine the number of vents needed for attic spaces? I suspect you wouldn't need as many of those larger ones?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:15 AM   #8
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


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We waived the home inspection when we bought not expecting many issues with a new home...
Too late now but never waive a home inspection.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


So, its those magical vents that you have. What other fantastic finds have you come across on this place, besides the missing vents?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:29 AM   #10
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Hard to believe your inspector didnít catch that when you bought the place.
Those vents are pretty easy to install if your comfortable on the roof using a circular saw.

Are there any vents at the eves?
If you have ever watched Holmes on Homes or Holmes Inspections, he pretty much flat out slams the builders in Canada for not following code, along with the majority of the inspectors not doing their job up there. That is why I guess that he gets to fix up the messes that others leave belong. In reality, a third party should not have to come back and fix stuff that the builder did not do, neither should a third party have to go in and point out blatant idiocracy of the inspectors.

I imagine that we are going to see more like this, since in this buyers market, builders are jumping in the home inspection field, along with those that have never worked in a trade, and do not have a clue. Sad state of affairs is what it is turning out to be.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:32 AM   #11
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


Not doing the home inspection leaves you open to accepting all responsibility for anything found. You should always do a home inspection, regardless of the age of the house. Not only are they there to point out stuff that needs fixed, but they are also there to cover the buyer's butt, if anything should go wrong, the buyer has something to fall back on against the seller.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:33 AM   #12
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


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Also, are there calculators out there on how to determine the number of vents needed for attic spaces? I suspect you wouldn't need as many of those larger ones?
Mine are aprx every six feet on my house. Keep in mind, just adding roof vents, you need to make sure the soffit vents allow air to be pulled across & up through the vents, so they properly work.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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So, its those magical vents that you have. What other fantastic finds have you come across on this place, besides the missing vents?
Well.... since you asked!

We haven't come across anything significant, except for the brick cladding at the front. They either had the mortar mix wrong, or laid the bricks in the winter without heating them up. There are a few places where we have to have the mortar repointed due to step cracks. At this point there is no structural concern. The neighboring subdivision has been blasting for the last couple of years. Since we just bought, we have no proof that the blasting was the cause. We were aware of this when we purchased and had the price reduced accordingly to perform the repairs.

We had a bad experience with our last home inspector, which is why I think we passed this time around. Never hire a home inspector that your realtor recommends. Chances are they're friends, and the home inspector and realtor chat 90% of the time and not look at your house! In hind sight, we could have hired another inspector for this one, but so far, we're happy home owners.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:54 PM   #14
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


A lot of stuff you see with trac homes are pretty much the same. Sub's paid by the house, not man hours worked. The more homes that the GC can churn out, the more money everyone made. Short cuts are pretty common with trac's. That is why I love our Bungalow built around 1937. Done with craftsmanship in the heart, and built taking time to make sure it was built correctly. Not anymore do you see that stuff.

As for the home, document everything that you have come across, and any work that you have performed. You can find Home Inspection checklists. Here are some Microsoft office checklists http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/te...e%20inspection Some Google Doc's templates https://docs.google.com/templates?q=...st&view=public Use either of these to help document what you are finding.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:09 PM   #15
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5 year old home - builder never installed attic vents


For venting, the National Building Code says "vent area shall be not less than 1/300 of the insulated ceiling area" and "vents shall be distributed with not less than 25% of the required openings located at the top of the space and not less than 25% at the bottom of the space". Example: if you have 900sqft of ceiling space, you need a minimum of 3sqft of venting. This is very easy to get with just soffiting, so the 25% rule is better to follow, especially if you are better off basing your calcs off of existing.

A ridge vent is the best option in terms of looks and functionality. The square vents shown on your neighbours house work almost as well, but are ugly. Personally I like the look of gable vents but they wouldn't be as effective as a ridge. You could also go for a cupola if you think it would suit the style of your house. I would not recommend the whirly bird vents, as they would pressurize your attic and pull conditioned air out of your house.

All these are easily DIY if you are not afraid of going into the attic or on the roof. Be sure to check to see if your soffit vents are blocked by insulation. If so, they sell 'vent baffles' which will hold the insulation away and allow better venting.


Last edited by shazapple; 09-16-2011 at 08:17 AM.
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