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Old 11-01-2010, 02:53 PM   #1
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Insulating area under roof...


Yeah its more complicated then it sounds....

first let me explain the house layout

The main part of the house is a rectangle with two full gable ends on the roof... it's 1 and 1/2 story, so the front is just a sloaped cathedral ceiling, the back is a full two stories with a shed roof...

well teh front has a recessed part that is 18 ft long and 4 ft deep where they made a slab porch, the roof of the porch is just perferated soffit vent so that whole area above it is just wasted open space (attic space really) that we can not get to easily, inside the back part of that is a wall that goes to the cathedral ceiling the rest of the way... so the front door wall goes from the slab all the way to the ceiling inside

well this open space continues another 15 feet inside the house because the porch is only recessed infront of the foyer then a gage starts form there and comes out to the front of the house with another gable roof on it's front end which overlaps the houses main gable roof perpendicularly...

well cold air goes up throgh the porch soffit vent and travels to the open area that is above the actual house (in this case the laundry room next to the garage) and falls down through the ceiling.... I found out this past year that there is NO insulation above the laundry room... but the actual roof is insulated with R-30 but that roof insulation doesn't help since cold air comes in through the porch soffit vent right under the roof......

its hard to explain so I attached a floor plan from the second floor down, red outline is the 1st floor... the blue cross thatched area is the area that continues on to the porch above where cold air just flows though with no insulated on ceiling of the 1st floor in that area...


but my question is how do I insulate this? I can't seem to unlock the soffit vent to get in through the porch... I tried a few times unsuccessfully... now in the garage atic I can see the roof from the main part of the house... where they built the garage roof over to... but its sheeted with plywood and felt paper so they obviously bult the main roof then built the garage after...

can I but into that roofing between the beams and make an access hole to get into that area? or bad idea?
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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Insulating area under roof...


Blue: I think you will need to call in a good builder. I have no idea what you are talking about, though you did try well to explain it. Some things just are not meant for the Net, unless, perhaps, you have a bunch of pictures w/ accompanying comments.

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Old 11-01-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Insulating area under roof...


yea i cant quite make out whats going on....
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:50 AM   #4
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Insulating area under roof...


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Originally Posted by federer View Post
yea i cant quite make out whats going on....

unfortinuatly I called 3 builders and not one showed up to look at it ugh... and its 20 degrees today and I can feel the cold coming in so I am in a rush to find a fix...


maybe I can explain it simpler and make more sense, sometimes I give too many details..

in the picture see the porch (the front middle where its a dotted rectangle..) that would normally be part of the house if you made the house a whole rectangle, its a recessed area where its ceiling is actually what would be the ceiling of the 1st floor.. its all soffit vent and open area

right to the right of that area in the picture where its cross hatched is an actual room on the 1st floor... but its attic space connects directly to the area above the porch with no dividing walls...

the blue wall in the picture is the exterior wall where it turns to a yellow wall its interior, the interior part doesn't have ceiling insulation... the blue part is all soffit vent..

the vertical wall from the floor to the cathedral ceiling is insulated, so they insulated the front facing walls, just not the ceiling where cold air could come in from the porch then travel down into the interior room ceiling through that attic space created by the knee wall on the 2nd floor that goes to the cathedral ceiling..

if this still makes no sense I can try to get pictures tonight of what I can... I cant get inside that space so its hard to get pics of in there
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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Insulating area under roof...


blue: pics would sure help, but it sounds as if you have a partly open-air house, Hawaii style! Bottom line: Any occupied space that is typically kept warmer than ambient temp needs an AIR barrier (sometimes a VAPOR barrier instead; very cold places, zones 7 and 8) and insulation. Period. Insulation, except, perhaps, closed cell foam, needs ventilation over it, but not a hurricane. Fiberglass is very poor, in general, and especially where it can get lots of air moving across it. The bad news: If you can't get to the area to photograph it, you sure are not going to get in there to insulate and install an air barrier without boring a hole. No idea WTH is wrong with the builders in your area; too busy? Keep trying.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #6
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Insulating area under roof...


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Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
blue: pics would sure help, but it sounds as if you have a partly open-air house, Hawaii style! Bottom line: Any occupied space that is typically kept warmer than ambient temp needs an AIR barrier (sometimes a VAPOR barrier instead; very cold places, zones 7 and 8) and insulation. Period. Insulation, except, perhaps, closed cell foam, needs ventilation over it, but not a hurricane. Fiberglass is very poor, in general, and especially where it can get lots of air moving across it. The bad news: If you can't get to the area to photograph it, you sure are not going to get in there to insulate and install an air barrier without boring a hole. No idea WTH is wrong with the builders in your area; too busy? Keep trying.
I believe I am in zone 5 for insulation requirements... R49 to R60 and R-0 definatly isn't cutting it

the only thing between the laundry room and the open air area is a sheet of drywall on the ceiling...

I figured out this was missing insulation there last winter when it was VERY cold in the laundry room... on 20 degree days it was about 40 degrees in that room... the garage wall is shared with one wall of the room and that wall was freezing... so I cut a small 1x1" hole in the garage side and looked in... nothing... its a 2x6 stud wall with NO insulation just a sheet of drywall on each side... so came spring, I ripped the drywall down on the garage side and nothing anywhere... at the top of the wall you could see where the houses roof line came down and you could see the roof baffels that let air travel up the roof under the roof insulation... ok good the roof is at least insulated to cathedral roof standards... but then at the top of the 10 ft high fall I could look back into the laundry room ceiling joists... nothing at all... just dead open space... the knee walls where insulated.. the roof was insulated... but nothing else was.. and you could see all the light coming from the porch lighting up the area through the perferated soffit vent on the other side of the area... so thats how I confirmed there was nothing in there...

couldnt blow in insulation with any guarntee of success through those holes so I insulated the space as best as I could with R-19 faced insulation batts (faced side facing inward into the house) redid the drywall... now that wall is no longer freezing cold, but the ceiling still is... the room is a little warmer then it was in the past...

you'd think they would of partitioned off the soffit vented area from the house ceiling area and insulated that.....

there is only three ways I can think of getting into it...


1) somehow move the soffit vent and go in that way on the porch, but I can not figure out what is holding it in place, it just will not move or unlatch....

2) in the house there is a room behind the area that is not insulated... cut a whole in the wall there and go in that way... what a mess... have to redo drywall...

3) in the garage attic, you can get to the houses main roof on the front slope where the two roofs come together... use a circular saw and cut out a part of the sheeting between the joists and go in that way....

if I had to choose a way I'd prefer #1 I jus cant figure it out... what could be holding the soffit in place? its about 2ft wide by 4 ft long pannels of perferated soffit... now the last piece is nailed in place, but the first one you'd think would move as I see no nails in it at all
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:21 PM   #7
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Insulating area under roof...


if mess is holding you back, you better move, it sounds to me. you are going to have to make a hell of a mess, get in there and insulate, and re-do it all. removing a sheet or drywall, plywood, soffits, whatever, is trivia. just rip 'em out however is required; sheathing can always go back on. good luck. j PS: fiberglass is the worst batt insulation on the planet. try to find some cellulose or cotton batts, treated w/ borates, and don't turn your back on closed cell foam sprayed in; spendy, but an installer may be able to reach into places without a hole large enough to drive your subaru through.

Last edited by jklingel; 11-02-2010 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #8
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Insulating area under roof...


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if mess is holding you back, you better move, it sounds to me. you are going to have to make a hell of a mess, get in there and insulate, and re-do it all. removing a sheet or drywall, plywood, soffits, whatever, is trivia. just rip 'em out however is required; sheathing can always go back on. good luck. j
ripping a hole in a finished area is a mess to be because the alternatives seem easier, thats why I prefer to go through the soffit or the roof sheeting in the atic of the garage... I'm just unsure about the safety of cutting sheeting out of a roof... and with going through a wall to get into it form inside, no idea what is directly behind that area unfortinuatly.. could be pipes or wires... that's why I went after contractors at first to get estimates... but it seems like they dont care about my little insulation job.....

what i'd love to do is strangle the builders of the house who built it just 10 years ago....

Last edited by BlueBSH; 11-02-2010 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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Insulating area under roof...


If you cut a 2'x3' hole in the center of ply/osb sheathing under the over-framing, it will have minimal effect on the shear-flow of the structure. That would be my choice, cover it afterward for proper attic air flow. Or not, you could do a smoke test for both ways... Pictures........

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Old 11-04-2010, 03:13 PM   #10
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Insulating area under roof...


(provided I read the post right), I'm thinking the following might work:
1). Knocking out a sheet of interior drywall(or whatever is necessary) way up high to access the attic space of the enclosed dormer ceiling over the porch.

2). Insulate the dormer ceiling, and as much of the wall between the interior and unheated attic as possible.
-a). Closed cell foam is pretty expensive, structurally very ridgid, creates seriously nasty fumes when sprayed, is about 7R value, and permits no vapor transition.
The guys who did my place though it was overkill for most residential usage and could hide leaks longer. I had them use both kinds. I got very ill after they sprayed this stuff.
-b). Open cell is cheaper, about 3.5-4R value, and supposedly allows very slow moisture transition of water vapor trapped. The important thing about any spray foam is it stops drafts.

3). Reinstall interior drywall piece after a 3" foam board is glued/attached to studs. Mabye holes could be drilled around it, and filled with the spray can stuff to finish it off.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:43 PM   #11
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Insulating area under roof...


well after contemplating it for a while decided to just cut a whole in the knee wall in the storage room we have that is right infront of the area that was cold... cut a 14.5" wide by 20" high hole and moved the r-19 sheet that was infront of the new hole out of the way and bingo... an attic area that is only 3' high on the highest end and only 54" wide and 36ft long... but 20 of those ft are soffit area above the porch so I had to get insulation for 16ft x 4.5ft of space... ran to lowes (thankfully its a whole 1/2 mile from me...) and bought some R-38 insulation that was faced... came in pieces that pretty much perfectly fit into the spaces that were there... cost me a whole $49...... felt like I was going to fall through the floor the whole time crawling on the joists since there is no decking in there and its such a small area had to crawl or slide...


but now I understand their dumb thinking in insulating the area... they insulated the roof joists with R-38 faced plus the roof baffels you need... they insulated the outside walls and the walls facing inside... its like they thought oh this will work.. then someone put the porch in and never thought oh its it totally insulated up there ah its ok the insulated had to of thought of the ceilings..... if the porch wasnt there and they would of built the house out instead of recessing it 3 ft for the porch it would of been insulated fine, but that porch celing had those soffit vents which let the cold right into that uninsulated 1st cloor ceiling

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