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Old 01-14-2017, 10:17 AM   #1
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1943 house with no soffits


This year I want to finally get to insulating my attic. I only have two layers of fiberglass and I need to weigh my options. First is spray foam even an option? I do have gable vents with so is it even possible to do spray foam? My roof boards also are mostly original so they have gaps between them.

Ive also been debating if I leave the existing fiberglass or remove it completely. From what I've read adding more roles or blown in on top of the rolls is less than ideal. For an old house like mine with gable vents is one type of blown in insulation of fiberglass vs cellulose preferred? My attic entrance is just a hole in the middle of the attic so no matter what I'll have to build up around the attic door.


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Old 01-14-2017, 10:50 AM   #2
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Re: 1943 house with no soffits


Hi Bryan,
Were you thinking of spray foam on the bottom of the roof? Besides expensive it would not be ideal. My vote is for a traditional attic with ventilation and an insulated attic floor. I'll get to the ventilation in a minute.

But first you should read up on air sealing between the house and the attic. In addition to moisture and ice dam issues that air leakage waste a lot of energy and increases your heating costs.

Soffits provide a convenient location for low venting to work with the high gable vents. With good air sealing the amount of ventilation recommended decreases significantly and there are other ways to provide the low air flow.

Low positioned gable vents are one approach and edge vents under the lower shingles are another.

Perhaps a picture of the house could help with more options.

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Old 01-14-2017, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: 1943 house with no soffits


Villages architecture review board won't allow low gable vents since it's not how homes were originally. I have gable vents in peaks and 7louvered roof vents on the back half of my roof. No vents are on the side of the roof that faces the street


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Old 01-14-2017, 02:39 PM   #4
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Re: 1943 house with no soffits


With just 2 gable vents they would typically be at the same height. But the roof vents should be somewhat lower and it is the difference in height along with the difference in temperature that creates the natural air flow, unless mother nature is providing some wind. So you have venting or venting options, you just need to address the air sealing and insulation.

If the fiberglass insulation is very old or in bad shape, removing it would give you access to everything that needs to be air sealed. Then add your choice of lots of new insulation. Blown-in does a great job or if you want batts I like Roxul. I would estimate your code recommendation for ceiling insulation would be a minimum r-49, it could be more depending upon local code.

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Old 01-15-2017, 10:53 PM   #5
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Re: 1943 house with no soffits


Insulate/air seal the attic hatch/door; pp. 24/40; https://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildin...ing_report.pdf

Blown-in FG (low density) has inherent convective loops, FG batts don't, that convection accounts for a 50% decrease in thermal reduction lowering temps from 45* to 18* with 0.5# FG blown-in. Adding a 3" layer of cellulose over the FG stops the loops.

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