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Old 03-01-2015, 04:40 PM   #1
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Attic Insulation, Gaps, and Cape Cod Wonkiness


Hi Folks!

I am looking to add a layer of blown-in cellulose to my attic; squirrels have been at the old insulation (they've been removed and their entries blocked), worsening my already poorly insulated 1950's cape cod. This produces two problems: 1) extremely bad ice damming (I'm in WNY), and 2) a freezing (or boiling) upstairs living area. I'm looking to mitigate/improve the situation as a quick learner but rather inexperienced DIYer with a very limited budget (I need to stay under $1,000). The attic space is unfinished/unconditioned (I've attached my "artistic" rendering). I'm assuming the gap along the side is for ventilation (there is no intake gap, though--the gutters rest directly against the brick facade and then go straight to roof with no overhang). I'm puzzled; what the heck does this gap do? It's about 3-4" wide and runs the length of the attic space.

I don't know how to keep the void clear (or if I should keep it entirely clear) when I add the cellulose. There is probably an embarassingly simple explanation, but I've searched high and low and I'm coming up with nothing.

I'm also aware that my roof looks funky in the attachment; that's how it actually is (steep pitch in front and shallow pitch in back, with a flat roof behind the back which was just lovely to shovel back in November), except that in the front, I have no eaves (that's why there's no soffit vents), so I probably should have pushed the dimensions on the first floor forward a little.

Thanks in advance for your help!

AJ
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Last edited by alyasjane; 03-01-2015 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Clarify that there's no eaves
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:21 PM   #2
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a real picture would be better
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:19 AM   #3
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Images from Attic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
a real picture would be better
You got it!

It's a mess; there are still acorns to clean up, and the insulation on the walls facing the conditioned space is also torn/separated in places. Here are a couple of pictures of the gap, the acorns, and chunks of "relocated" insulation:
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Attic Insulation, Gaps, and Cape Cod Wonkiness-img_20150302_121153098.jpg   Attic Insulation, Gaps, and Cape Cod Wonkiness-img_20150302_121144880.jpg  
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:59 AM   #4
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How is the main roof vented? Gable vents, soffits (other than the lower roof), etc.?
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:16 PM   #5
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There's a ridge vent (relatively new roof, added on install) and gable vents. There's also a box vent (the square type?) over an addition that is separated by the original brick wall at the attic level; that area has little to no icing, because the space above that room opens into the garage and thus maintains a similar temperature to the outdoors. There are no soffits or (to my knowledge) drip edge vents.

I know this is a large component of my icing problem, but it's unfortunately one that I don't have any means to address. The property is in my care (and I'm paying the egregious heating bills), but belongs to a close friend who lives out of the area. So it's me, and a moderate allowance for improvements and repairs, and whatever I can figure out between the two. Beyond that, I have a free hand. I want to make the upstairs living space more comfortable (less unbearably hot in the summer) and reduce the icing. I may also put up heat wire. My DIY goals for this house are always a) as good or better than when it came into my hands and b) balancing cost/benefits with the reality that I won't be living in here in another 7-8 years.

I hope that's not too much information! Thanks for taking the time to look at my issue.

Best,
AJ
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