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Old 10-13-2010, 01:14 PM   #1
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


I am begining an insulation project in the attic of my 2-story 1977-built home in Pennsylvania. The space is approximately 24' x 34' and maybe 5' high at most at the roof peak. There are 1.5' x 2' vents at each end of the house, but there is no vent running along the peak of the roof line. The existing blown cellulose is compacted/degraded and in many areas, bare stringers and bare drywall appear; the effects are clear, (2nd floor is very cold in winter and hot in summer.) I have decided to use a combination of batt and blown insulation. I want to staple duravents between roofing rafters, then push batts out to the edges (where blown would fall into soffits), then fill in remaining space with blown insulation.

The issue: on one side of the house, nearly all ventilation spaces (where air may flow from soffits into attic space,) have been intentionally plugged with pieces of fiberglass insultation (insulation is in contact with roofing; spaces are completely plugged.) I assume this was done by one of the previous owner(s)... possibly thinking it would keep cold air out. The previous owner(s) did many incorrrect (insane) things to this house and I am thinking this is just another example...all I have read indicates this is not proper. My plan is to remove the insulation plugs and proceed with the durovent and insulation plan above. However...

My question: Before I go through significant effort (in very tight, crappy/dusty, nail-infested space) to undo this work, could the fiberglass insulation plugging the soffit-to-attic ventilation spaces be correctly placed to fix some other issue? Is there ever an instance where the ventilation space from soffit to attic is supposed to be plugged up?

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Old 10-13-2010, 08:58 PM   #2
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


The only reason I can think of plugging it up is lack of knowledge of how ventilation works.Unplug soffit vents and add sufficient exhaust vents,I would go with continuous intake and exhaust if possible and plug gable vents.Just my 2-cents.

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Old 10-13-2010, 11:46 PM   #3
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


I fully agree that there needs to be air flow from the soffits.
Minimum of 1 1/2" of clearance between the underside of the roof deck to the baffles you are about to install.
Make sure that the insulation covers the wall plate.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:34 AM   #4
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


Just pushing the batts out over the wall will lead to wind-washing of the insulation from the soffit vents. This will severely degrade the R-value there.You need a wind-blocker with the baffle: http://www.adoproducts.com/wind.html http://www.adoproducts.com/duro.html

Or just buy this at H.D., for close to same price of both: http://www.bergerbuildingproducts.co...sAccuvent.html

"could the fiberglass insulation plugging the soffit-to-attic ventilation spaces be correctly placed to fix some other issue? Is there ever an instance where the ventilation space from soffit to attic is supposed to be plugged up?" ----- Not really, fiberglass is at the bottom of the insulation chain. Air will go right through it, though it will filter the air as you notice black insulation spots or areas (air leaks). You could use some around pipes going up through the roof from below (not "B" vents- gas exhaust), if stuffed into garbage bags or put under knee walls that way, though I recommend foam board: http://www.simplesavings.coop/simple...ee%20walls.pdf

I would air seal all leaks before adding or moving insulation: http://www.rd.com/how-to-seal-attic-...icle18158.html

Have you had any ice dams?

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Old 10-14-2010, 10:29 PM   #5
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


Johnk, jlhaslip and GBR in WA: Guys! Thank you so much for your thoughts, guidance and reference web-links. I was a little hesitant to try to use this website, but I am so glad I did. Most sincerely, thank you. It seems clear that at minimum, I need to remove the fiberglass plugs, install duravents, and that I need to install blockers at the far edges to keep wind from damaging the insulation.
I’m a bit intimidated by installing the blocker – I am having difficulty envisioning how I will physically fit my body into the small wedged space out toward the soffits, balance on the beams, avoid roof nails, and do the work, but without putting weight on the drywall. It doesn’t appear that there’s any room to work – barely enough to maneuver a staple-gun. Any words of wisdom on that note?
GBR in WA: on ice dams, I do get some beastly icicles on that side of the house; maybe this correction will stop those as well.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:59 PM   #6
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


There is no easy way to contort your body into tight spots.Take your time,prepare to be uncomfortable and make sure there are no kids around because it involves alot of swearing
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
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Just a DIYer here: I do not even have soffit vents (just gables) but I am preparing as if I do, for future plans. As far as blocking the eaves... I have a cleared the soffit area of some previously installed loose insulation, air-sealed the crack between the wall & house, installed soffit baffles, run R-19 faced batts (paper down) between the joists to the edge - but not covering soffit area. Then, stuffed additional R-30 unfaced batt piece between the joists into the eaves. The R-30 sits on top the R-19; between the baffle and roof. The second piece of insulation does not reach the soffit area because of of the fairly tight fit. I am putting the R-19 & R-30 throughout. Leaving the soffit area open for possible vent installations later. So, if you look at it, it may be perceived that the eaves are plugged, but they are not. I understand this may concern the next owner.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:52 PM   #8
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http://www.diychatroom.com/f98/how-b...ulation-90438/

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Old 01-07-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
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Plugged soffit to attic vents - ever correct?


Just when you think you have it figured out...

Well, I am continuing to learn as I go...having to go back and address things I missed as my attic project stumbles along. Like the wall plate at the soffit. Air-sealed most the area that I have insulated, but bypassed air-sealing the eaves due to the extreme angle to work in. Understand now, that is a big heat loss into the attic. Half the 1st layer batt insulation has been completed at the eaves, but I am now going to pull back the batt and try and air-seal the outer edge of the eaves. Not going to be easy with the baffles already in. But I guess I will also need to address the air-wash issue with some rigid board too. I originally thought the batt was safe to air-wash as opposed to blown-in. Another lesson...

I chose batts because I am doing this endless job in stages, in a cold, AC unit filled Pennsylvania attic. As weekend work, wasn't conducive to remove all the insulation at once, exposing our winter home to no insulation for blown-in. Air-Sealing and replacing previous 2 to 3" loose on bottom/R-11 batts on top - met a 6" joist height. The batts were foil faced, but laid down face up. Previous owner or someone split the batts, I guess to prevent a vapor barrier on top (well, no vapor barrier on on the drywall either). I am glad to have addressed the air-sealing. Among many gaps and holes, I found an entire wall, plus an above shower area exposed to the attic. So, I believe it will be better anyway when complete - if not perfect. Sealed & approx. R-49 (except for the AC unit), with faced down vapor barrier.

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