No soffit vents, no roof or ridge vents. How do I finish my attic??

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by Yank_fan_2965, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. I have a 65 year old two story colonial and I want to finish the attic.
    The problem is that I have no ventilation. There are no soffit vents.
    There are no roof or ridge vents. There is paper faced fiberglass
    insulation between the rafters extending from the level of the floor to
    the peak of the roof (installed before I bought it), and I don't think
    that there are any baffles between the insulation and the sheathing.
    Joists are present and spaced at 32 inches. Were attics made 65 years
    ago without ventilation? Am I missing something? I'd like to build knee
    walls and install a flat drywall ceiling with recessed lighting just
    below the level of the joists. But I don't want to do it without proper
    ventilation. Any suggestions?

    Do I have any options besides retrofitting soffit vents, ripping out
    and reinstalling the insulation with baffles, and installing a ridge or
    wall vent? The attic floor is covered with pine flooring, and I don't
    know what if any insulation is present below it.

    Thanks in advance to all who reply. And thanks to all who have helped
    me here in the past.
    Yank_fan_2965, Dec 30, 2005
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  2. Forgot to mention. The house is in northern Ohio.
    Yank_fan_2965, Dec 30, 2005
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  3. Yank_fan_2965

    Doug Boulter Guest

    You haven't given us the size and the span of the joists, but I'm
    betting that your structure isn't sufficient to carry the weight of
    finished space, certainly not at 32" OC unless this is post and
    beam construction. It may also be that you don't have sufficient
    height to get a legal ceiling (7'6") in there. So I'd guess that
    ventilation isn't even close to being your real problem.

    I don't know whether your apparently non-ventilated attic was
    deliberate or the result of some clueless owner hoping to save on
    heating costs. Non-vented roofs do get built today, but such a
    system is somewhat controversial. And it's not done the way yours
    is done with an open attic below.

    You really need the help of an architect, engineer, or good design-
    build person if you want to finish this space.
    Doug Boulter, Dec 30, 2005
  4. Yank_fan_2965

    mm Guest

    To start, ask your neighbors with similar size houses what they've
    done. It's a good way to meet your neighbors. If no one on your block
    knows anything, try the next block.

    Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
    me know if you have posted also.
    mm, Dec 30, 2005
  5. Yank_fan_2965

    buffalobill Guest

    assume there is no insulation. this will be the time for skylights, a
    pair of dormers, a new roof, new insulation, new windows, electrical
    wiring, cable/satellite/internet wiring, plumbing. smoke detectors, CO
    detectors, and a fire extinguisher. and intercom/buzzer/camera for the
    entrance door. and HVAC.
    if permitted by your local building inspector at your city hall.
    also look there for copies of the blueprints on file. if available they
    will help you very much.
    buffalobill, Dec 30, 2005
  6. Yank_fan_2965


    If you can heat & cool similar to the rest of the house, you do not
    have to vent the attic.
    Treat it like any other room in the house.
    You could, if you want to add vents, vent the roof as you would a
    cathedral ceiling.
    Check Building Science Corporation for discussion.
    , Dec 30, 2005
  7. Yank_fan_2965


    I heartily agree with your comment on the structural capacity of the
    ceiling / floor joists.
    I disagree with your comment on the need for venting.
    , Dec 30, 2005
  8. Yank_fan_2965

    BeBo Guest

    wall vents would be my first pick, do you have vents on the gable ends?
    maybe you can just put a fan up to the vents to boost extraction of unwanted

    your house sounds very familiar, i am very inclined to believe there is
    insulation under the floor, I think the roof insulation was not installed
    when the house was built and the insulation under the floor was the sole top
    BeBo, Dec 30, 2005
  9. Yank_fan_2965

    Doug Boulter Guest

    Huh? I didn't express an opinion about a need for venting.

    I said that in current construction, some roofs are not vented.
    That's a true statement.

    I also said that not venting a roof is a controversial building
    technique. Also a true statement.

    What is it that you're disagreeing with?
    Doug Boulter, Dec 31, 2005
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