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centaurette 02-17-2012 11:12 PM

Cape cod insulation question
Hi all,

I'm new and have read thru most of the forums but no one seems to have the exact scenario as us so I'm throwing this out there for some advice. It's a long read but I'm trying to paint a more detailed picture. :o

We bought a home built in 1944 in northeastern PA. It's a stucco Cape Cod with a finished attic consisting of 2 bedrooms and a closet...AND a slate roof. It is freezing cold in my daughter's room on the west side where the other bedroom isn't as bad. Upon further self-inspection, the insulation leaves a lot to be desired. There are 2 side attics and the roof attic. One side attic has NO venting at all except the 2 access in each bedroom. The other side attic has vents covered with mesh at the ends of the roof rafters (no soffits) that, for the most part are approx the same size as a electrical outlet rough-in hole and an access door from 1 bedroom...the warmer one. There is also a mesh-covered square hole on the west wall about 3' up from the first floor ceiling joists near the knee wall. The roof attic has 2 gables vents that consist of mesh and a closeable flap that is controlled from within the bedrooms thru the window framing. There is also a push-up access panel in the ceiling of the colder bedroom. I'm not 100% positive, but I don't believe there is a ridge vent. (If needed, I can provide pics).

We just bought this home in June '11 so this is our first winter here. While I realize the attic, as a whole, needs more insulation (old black-papered insulation with the paper facing away from knee wall and stapled to studs...some areas missing insulation altogether), I'm trying to come up with a plan of action towards redoing the attic the right way. We are extremely limited in funds so we would probably have to piece-meal it so what should we tackled first? Btw, there is no exhaust fan in the bathroom(using a table fan on the counter til we install the new one we bought...not
sure where to exhaust it to without messing up the slate shingles) so there's a bit of moisture in the house which ties into the attic insulation question.
I'm not sure how it should be vented or if it's already vented correctly. I'm not sure whether the roof space where the knee wall and gable attic meet should be insulated. I. Just. Don't. Know...where to start or how to progress. One project seems to link to another and my mind just spins in circles. :eek:

Advice would be GREATLY appreciated and I will provide as much clarification as I can if needed.

oldognewtrick 02-18-2012 06:04 AM

Well, quit spinning in circles, it just makes you dizzy. We all have projects where ambitions exceeds fundings, remember, home improvement is a lot like eating an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time. ;)

If you could post some pics it would help greatly to recommend a course of action to help solve the issues you have.

Oh, and :welcome: to House Repair Talk!

centaurette 02-18-2012 11:18 PM

Can do on the pics...will post them on my next day off which is Monday. :D Not sure about stopping the spinning. Seems my life is never complete without chaos! ;) And thank you for the warm welcome. :)

centaurette 02-18-2012 11:32 PM

Almost forgot...
All the windows in the house were replaced with what seems to be cheaper double-hung replacement windows (done while the original owner was still alive and living here). Some of the windows in the house, including the 2 upstairs bedrooms, still have the old storm windows on the outside of the replacement windows. The rest of the windows in the house with this setup are a LOT warmer and less draftier than the ones without...all except my daughter's room. I actually had to shrink plastic the windows (there's 2 side-by-side) because on windy days, it felt like the AC was on - there was that much of a draft. I'm thinking they were never insulated right during installation, but is it possible for the gable vents that are above the windows to aid in this phenomenon?:confused:

nealtw 02-19-2012 09:10 PM

The bathroom fan is where I would start, it wants to vent straight up thru the roof with insulated duct as straight as posible. Hire a roofer to deal with the tile.

centaurette 02-20-2012 07:38 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Let me know if there's any more pics you'd like to see.

centaurette 02-29-2012 10:18 PM

Much appreciated, nealtw! As I realize this is the cheapest place to start, the main issue is determining the correct venting and/or possibly TOO much venting in the attic. On windy days, the side attic with no direct exterior venting (gable or soffit vents) has a definite airflow because the breeze whistles through the access door in my daughter's room. I just don't know if it's all correct...or effective.

nealtw 02-29-2012 10:50 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This what you would like to have. If you have baffles between the the roof sheeting and the sloped ceiling the lower gable vent will just supply a short cercuit for the air and air will not pull from the soffit vents.

centaurette 03-02-2012 01:05 PM

Thank small issue though
Our house doesn't have soffits...just the end board with rectangular holes with mesh over them (some evenly spaced and some grouped closer towards the corner of the house). I was thinking that we should add them, but I don't know if it's just a matter of extending the roof joists by sistering up another piece of wood or if it would take more than that...or if we even HAVE to have them. I haven't thoroughly examined what is up where you suggest the baffles should be. I'm figuring probably just insulation.

Btw, the image helps...a lot!:clap: Should there be (our version) of soffit vents on the front of the house too because as it stands right now, they are only located on the back of the house?

oldognewtrick 03-02-2012 01:21 PM

Yes, you are correct, intake ventilation should be on the front also.

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