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Old 03-16-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
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Roof Venting???

My daughter and her husband just bought a 1950 Hemphill red colonial house in Evanston, IL. In the attic, we noticed that the hip or pyramidal roof has an open gap (at least 2 or 3 inches) all along the gutter line. There really is no overhang to this roof for eave roof vents. This open gap is all the way around the base of the roof at all eaves. It seems like there should be at least metal grill work or some type of fencing over this open gap to prevent birds, bats, etc. from entering the attic. I also wonder if this house has too much venting. What about snow and driving rain storms in this Chicago suburb? Also,the floor of the attic is not open stud work with insulation, but rather has a wood floor. And what are they to do if they would want to add more insulation to the attic? Any ideas as to whether this home was correctly made? Does this roof need to be corrected and or updated for less heat loss? Any suggestions?
Also any information about what a Hemphill colonial really is?


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Old 03-16-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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No such thing as too much ventilation in a roof system.
Do you know if there is more venting up higher? Around the peak of the hips or along the hip?
Under the code I work with, one third of the venting should be in the top third of the roof.

Yes, there should be screen or hardware cloth across the venting to stop birds and critters.

You should be able to remove some boards to place insulation under the floor boards. Consider blow-in insulation so you disturb less boards.


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Old 03-17-2010, 09:42 AM   #3
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+1 on the screen over the construction gap. Our last home had a similar opening (in addition to ample soffit vents) and eventually rats moved into the attic.

If you do have sign of rodents in your attic (look for droppings around the edges) you will want to make sure they are out before you seal it up, or you will have the pleasure of finding them once they expire from dehydration. (The odor will be unmistakable.) There is a way to make a one-way door for them to escape from stiff wire and mesh... I can post a picture if you need it.

As for the flooring and your question to if the house was built "properly" ... standards have changed a lot since the 50's. We value insulation, and no longer use asbestos in plaster & roofing, we have taken the lead out of paint and discovered the miracle of cheap construction that is oriented strand board.

More insulation is usually a good thing, and with a 30% tax credit available toward the cost of the materials this year its a very good time to apply it.

In your case you could probably just blow-in over the attic floor (I am not a pro) but then you would lose all of that wonderful storage space. I would consider removing the flooring, and even consider building it up to make more space for additional insulation. Before you start tearing things up in your attic be sure to test for asbestos... it's effects aren't felt right away, it brings slow, painful death years later.
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