Ridge Vents - How do Old 3 stories survive without?


I have a 75 year old stucco on LI,NY with a large unfinished attic. My neighbor who is a contractor told me that I need ridge/soffit vents which I'm sure is true.
My question is there are a zillion houses built in the NY area with 3rd floors without this venting. Are they all rotting away from moisture, was the old construction different? My neighbor didn't know the answer and guessed that these houses didn't put insulation in the 3rd floors and therefore wouldn't have the moisture problem, but that can't be right.
I'm not doing anything soon anyway - the township wants fire escapes and sprinklers for refinished existing unfinished 3rd floor spaces.
thanks
Barry Glen Head NY
--
Barry

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Barry Feldman wrote:

It depends on the construction, location of vapor barriers living space insulation etc.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

not need roof ventilation according to some writers. Personally, I think of finished top floor ceilings like walls; we don't ventilate walls. On the other hand, I always make every attempt to use vapor barrier paint on outside walls and ceilings which have no other vapor barrier. I would never fail to use a vent for an attic where the insulation is in the attic floor. But when the attic has the insulation in its ceiling, as is the case with finished surfaces, that is debatable, I think. Just my opinion; feel free to shoot it down. But I am always looking for STUDIES about this kind of thing. --Phil
--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Most older homes have air leaks all over which provides the needed attic ventilation. Installing ridge and soffet vents are well worth the cost.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
As a frequent occupant of Old Louisville, I can tell you that the cornices go to hell, and in the process, roof gets ventilated. Frequent reminder-Unless you have at least one square foot of vent per 300 sq. ft. of vented space, you have no warrantee on most shingles. Owens-Corning-1-800-ROOFING

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Barry- I'm from LI and every older home with 3 stories (Unfinished walkable attic) has at least 2 windows up there, or a couple of very ornamental (octagonal or diamond shape) vents, which probably were stucco'd over at some time in the past.
Check your attic again and look for the framing for a window or vent. It's probably been mistakenly covered over.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The attic does have 2 windows - one converted to an attic fan. that's not really the problem - it's what I have to do to finish it properly.
The unfinished attic is a peak - that is the house is a narrow stucco with a high pitched roof so if I finished the wall the of course it would all be angled, not verticle to the floor.
The vent issue is a pain in the A## because I don't have soffits - the roof line end right at the wall - I think I have to put in these soffit vents that would be very visable.
So looking at all this work - that got me wondering why there's 8 gazzilion houses with finished attics and no ridge vents. I'm jealous.
Barry

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The reason those houses don't have vents is that they weren't veiwed as critical elements. It's not a "best practice" but then neither is having no overhanging soffit. If the ceiling meets the ridge rafter then venting isn't as critical--think of the roof space more like a wall than an attic. If interior construction is done properly for your climbate, then moisture migration from inside the living space to the insulated space is minimized.
Check this link for information on best practices for specific climates. A true wealth of information. You might also ask for opinions on 'alt.building.construction', various pros there may have specific experience with this issue.
http://www.buildingscience.com /
Will Niccolls
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Barry Feldman wrote:

The area was considered a living space and vented by the windows.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
thanks Joe, thanks Will for the web site.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Barry Feldman wrote:

It's not about the moisture, it's about the heat buildup. Top floors in older homes also typically didn't have air returns if they even had forved air heat in the first place, so that makes it just about impossible to add whole house AC unless you add a 2nd AC unit in the attic strictly for the top floor. Without the ridge vents, the heat just hangs in the attic, making the AC even more useless.
--
So if you meet me, have some courtesy,
have some sympathy, and some taste.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.