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Old 10-06-2007, 05:36 PM   #1
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roof vent


We had a composit shingle roof put on in July. Our attic is our bedroom with a cathedral ceiling. We have soft insulation between rafters. We asked the roofer as many questions as possible, including did we forget to ask you anything, but he never mentioned ventillation. Now our brand new paint job looks like a sweat stained shirt. He wants to punch a few vents in the roof. After researching, we think we also need a ridge vent. He says they're difficult to install, but my web research contradicts that. Help! What should we do?
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:13 PM   #2
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When the insulation was installed was there an air gap left?
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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I don't know. To my knowledge, no. the pictures I have (which I'm unable to post) show the slats filled with soft insulation from the top down to the portion of the peaked roof that begins to level off. It seems there's little opportunity for circulation, unless the roof is vented at the top with soffit vents in the front and back of the house.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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What is the depth of the slats (ceiling joists) and what is the depth or thickness of the insulation?
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
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In an application such as yours, where there are cathedral ceilings, the ONLY way to vent is by using a combination of the ridge vent along with ventilated soffits. But, when the soft insulation was installed between the roof rafters, there should be "egg crate" installed behind it to allow the flow of air from the vented soffits, up along the sheathing and out the ridge vent. Your contractor messed up. This is BASIC building techniques! I question the exerience level of this contractor.

If it were my house, I would insist he take it apart and fix it. After all, as you said, you asked all the questions, including, "Are there any other questions we should ask?"

I understand that new contractors need to start somewhere, but basic education in building practices should be a pre-requisite for obtaining a contractors license. In many areas this training is not required. BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Jamie Schaefer
NY State Licensed Home Inspector
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:49 AM   #6
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Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, we're not in the position financially, or otherwise to start over. I've observed in the pictures taken of the roof before the plywood was applied, that there are gaps between the insulation. As to the egg crate, I'm not sure since this insulation was applied in the 70's. I spoke to the shingle manufacturer's rep. He concurs we need a ridge vent, and possibly, a smart vent on either side of the roof lower down to act as intake vents since we have no overhang. I will propose that to my roofer as a fix. I'd rather work with him than against him. His shingle work is excellent. He's resisting the ridge vent idea out of fear for the rafters..but we can drill 3-4 holes per bay rather than cutting a continuous strip along the ridge and use the vent over those. If there's anyone out there who has a red fllag to raise on this, please, do. I've learned a tremendous amount on this site..thank you all.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:14 PM   #7
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While I agree that the roofer should have suggested a ridge/gable vent combination when you asked about it, it sounds like the troubles began before the new roof. As others have suggested, if the full depth of the roof rafters/ceiling joists are packed with insulation without any provisions for air flow between the top of the insulation and the bottom of the roof deck, you would probably have moisture problems anyway. I would be more upset at whoever did the original building work in this manner than the guy changing your roof.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:19 PM   #8
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[quote=Samantha;67393]. He's resisting the ridge vent idea out of fear for the rafters..quote]

All he needs to do is set the depth of the blade on the circular saw so that it just reaches through the thickness of the roof decking. The few little nicks across the top edges of the rafters will be of no consequence.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:46 PM   #9
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Thank you for the tip about setting the blade depth. I will show him this.

The house was built in 1904. The attic room with cathedral ceiling was done in 1970 or so. The house has not had a problem in the 17 years we've lived here because there was no plywood beneath the old wood shingles so there was no problem with ventilation. Because we're not roofers or contractors, we had no idea the addition of plywood would do this. Though we did ask him to check to see if we had insulatioin and whether we needed it. Since it was there, and he said nothing, we trusted he know what he was doing because he's done this for 25 years. Silly us. I have a good idea of what we have to do short of tearing off the roof or the ceiling now. He's resisting it even though we've offered to buy the material if he'd do the work. I may have to hire someone else then take him to small claims court to get what I spend back.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:56 PM   #10
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This is a confusing post. From the roofer's reluctance to cut a ridge vent , "because of the rafters", to the sudden issue with venting. Cedar roofing requires air circulation on both sides. or it will curl and split, That's the reason for the "slats". It allows circulating air to dry out the underside of the shingles. If the insulation was flat against the roof slats, the cedar shingles would have failed pretty quickly. Putting plywood over the slats would not effect the ventilation on the underside of the sheathing. That space would remain the same as with the cedar.
Were there vents on the roof that were removed when the roofing work was done? Is there a door in any of the kneewalls that you can get into to check the insulation installation? One issue that can occur is that in removing the cedar, since there are openings between the slats, is that debris has gotten into the bays and is reducing or cutting off air flow on the underside of the roof.
Is there a common area at the top of the cathedral ceiling? That's a flat area at the top, more then 18" wide.
Ridge vents at the top and Smart vent's at the bottom will give you the needed ventilation if the bays are open to air flow. Unfortuneatle very few roofers have a clue to venting a roof. Most just install one or two, but have no idea what is required on a case by case basis.
Ron
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
. Putting plywood over the slats would not effect the ventilation on the underside of the sheathing. That space would remain the same as with the cedar.

. Unfortuneatle very few roofers have a clue to venting a roof. Most just install one or two, but have no idea what is required on a case by case basis.
Ron

Unfortunately, there seems to be very few real "roofers", mostly just "shingle nailers". While the non understanding of the technicalities of truly efficient venting (especially on todays multi gabled and dormered roofs) , which create many dead air spaces can be understood by me, I cannot understand why I can't find a roofer who knows that there is more to flashing a roof than 10 pieces of base flashing and a couple of tubes of roofing cement .

My thought is that the plywood installation just pushed the existing moisture problem over
the limit. The moisture was probably there all along, but the shingles were better able to disssapate it than the plywood decking, because the glue in the sheets creates a vapor barrier, not a perfect one because of the joints in the decking, but a pretty effective one in the field of the sheet.

Last edited by troubleseeker; 10-11-2007 at 08:02 PM.
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