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

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.
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Forgot to mention. The house is in northern Ohio.
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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.
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Doug Boulter

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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. TB
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote on 30 Dec 2005:

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?
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Doug Boulter

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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.
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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.
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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. TB
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Hey Yank - I went through an attic finish project. Mine involved adding dormers, etc. I created a small attic, added gable vents, soffit vents, spacers behind insulation where i drywalled the rafters, etc. You will have a lot of framing to beef up, possibly in the floor too. Do it right and it will be nice. Do a hack job and it will have problems down the road.
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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 air

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 insulation.
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