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Old 08-09-2010, 07:02 AM   #1
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Attic, insulation, and soffit...

Long introduction:

I have an out building that runs East-West, so the face of the building, and the main soffits face North. I live in NW Minnesota. The building is heated (in floor). Sometimes the snow will blow up through the soffit and into the attic space of the building (North side only, as the South side does not seem to have this problem). I realized this because of all the melting snow when the attic warms up in the Spring. Now, I do know this happens "only" when the drifts in front of the building reach within a foot or two of the soffits. I do not have the means to clear the huge drifts, and rely on a neighbor down the road to come out and blow the yard and drive in front of the building. This seems to help, obviously.

Two questions:

1. Is there a way to cover the soffits from either the outside or inside (at least for the Winter) that will not cause mayor issues?

2. What are things supposed to look like on the inside? (i.e., is the insulation supposed to cover the soffit, etc.). It looks like there were lengths of tin covering the soffit area from the inside, and insulation over that, but the wind from the last blizzard (last Winter) rearranged the insulation, etc.

My idea: to cover the soffit from the inside with boards, leaving a foot or so of open soffit every 5-10 ft.

I know this might not explain things the best, but any help would be appreciated.



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Old 08-09-2010, 11:02 AM   #2
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Are you sure the snow is blowing in through your soffits? The only reason I ask is because we're having issues with ice dams forming on our roof and we have no water shield under our shingles.

If you're not exactly sure what I'm talking about, check out this PDF ( for a nice explanation with pictures.

If you've seen the snow up in your attic then obviously you are right about your problem, but if you haven't actually seen it then I wonder if you could be suffering from the same ice dam problem we're having.

If it is snow coming in through the soffits, I was thinking of some pieces of wood or wood-framed plastic that would attach underneath the outside of the soffits. The red panels in the drawing represent the panels that could either hang down off the side of the building during the summer or be unhooked and placed in your building. Then in the winter you could lift them up in to place and attach them near the edge of the soffit/gutter.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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Covering soffits in a heated building is asking for trouble. If you must, how about something like Tyvek that will let the vapor out, but stop the wind-blown snow? Even that is risky. You need a lot of air over your insulation, unless your air barrier on the ceiling is perfect. Ice dams, obviously, mean heat is getting out of the heated area. I'd re-seal the building if at all possible, starting w/ the obvious leaks like vapor barrier (if you used one) penetrations, and/or insulate more. More ventilation may help, too. j

Last edited by jklingel; 08-09-2010 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:30 PM   #4
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No do not block the soffit vents. In winter it will contribute to ice dams. I found this link off one of Gary's posts . You probably need somethiong like this if you are getting snow blowing into your soffit vents.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

I know it is snow. I suppose there could be ice jams as well. The building is kept at around 50 F. I will check out the links you have provided and go from there. I did want to know if the idea of covering the soffits was a bad one, and it sounds like it is.

Thanks again.

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