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Hello,

I bought this 1898 house a year ago, and the attic of the back half of the house has no insulation. My heat bill is pretty outrageous (obviously), and I've also been getting horrible ice dams. I've already sealed up the air leaks, and I am planning on blowing in cellulose under the floorboards and then adding batt on top to bring it up to about R60. The roof is about 5 years old; it does have a ridge vent, but it has no soffit vents. The soffit is only about 6" and it is at a steep angle which is going to make it difficult to get any tools in there to make cuts for vents (see attached photos). Does anyone have any experience with soffits like this or any advice? I think I MAY be able to get a right angle drill & hole saw in there to make cuts for circular vents, but from what I've been reading on this forum it sounds like continuous soffit vents are the way to go. Problem is I've yet to find a saw that looks like it would fit in there. There is a 16" x 24" window in the attic, the top of the which starts 5' down from the peak of the ridge. Would this provide any intake venting? Thank you in advance for any advice!!!
 

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Would it be possible to cut the nails holding the soffit in place? Depending on how it was put together, it might be easier just to remove the existing soffit and replace entirely with continuous aluminum or vinyl vented soffit.
 

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They actually make intake vents now that are a part of the first row of shingles. I think they were by air vent. You would have to take up the first couple rows of shingles, then cut a 1" wide slot about a foot up from the edge of the roof, then put this plastic piece that raises the shingles up about an inch and provides intake ventilation. Then I think you still need baffles on the inside roof side before you put in insulation. Might be the best way in your case.

http://airvent.com/homeowner/products/intake-theedge.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There is vinyl soffit, but it is not vented. I attached a picture from a little closer up. Behind that is solid wood...I'm not sure how thick though.

Thank you for the suggestions! I'm hoping to avoid having to remove shingles or removing the soffit board completely, but it's starting to look like I may have to.
 

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In order to fix your ice dam issues, I think you are going to have to remove that soffit, drill some big holes in the wood, and put vented soffit back up, just to get some air circulation under that eave.

So is the attic blocked of from that little soffit area?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No, but it's an even tighter squeeze from the inside.

Anyone know if this window (16" x 24") on the north end might provide adequate intake ventilation?
 

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Well, just my opinion, but here is what I would do. I would take out the soffit and put in some vinyl vented soffit. I think you could take it out and replace it without having to remove the gutters or anything else. That vinyl soffit is pretty flexible, and it's such a short amount I wouldn't worry about nailing it in place. That way you would get some intake venting and should take care of your ice dams, just make sure you don't fill the gap with insulation. Ideally if you could slide some baffles down to the vented area and staple them up to the roof, that would direct the heat up and out the roof vent. Again, just my opinion.
 

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Considering the rafters carry the roof loads rather than the wall, I wouldn't loose sleep over it. Lead carpenter under-ordered the longer balloon-frame studs... or the apprentice cut them up.

If you add vinyl soffit, be very careful to get one with enough NFVA considering your shallow soffit (-6"). Only a few will meet the required 9 sq.in. per foot requirement for a 150/ and you need twice that amount; http://bluelinxco.com/Portals/0/docs/LiteratureLibrary/Siding%20and%20Trim/GP%20Vinyl%20Siding/Vinyl%20Soffit%20Brochure.pdf

And; http://www.certainteed.com/resources/soffitspecsheet.pdf

Better to use this 20 NFVA, continuous; http://www.gaf.com/Roofing/Residential/Products/Roof_Vents/MasterFlow_Soffit_Undereave_Vents

Gary
PS. No, the window is too low in attic for exhaust vent.
 

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I think he was talking about using the window as the intake vent, at least that's the impression I got, and using the ridge vent as the exhaust.
 

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Lol, yes, I see I missed that, plain as day.... reminder- set earlier bedtime...

Window is not at rafter bottoms for the intake. Very poor set-up, IMHO.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It sounds like the only way I'm going to get enough ventilation is to remove the 1" thick board that is currently underneath the vinyl, and replace with continuous venting. It doesn't look like there is any way I will be able to do this without removing all of the vinyl from the soffit & fascia, & most likely removing the gutters as well. I'm probably going to get a few estimates, because I don't think I will have time to do this myself.
 
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