Soffits and attic insulation....


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I live on Long Island and own a colonial home with a second floor attic and
partial roof over my 1st floor den and kitchen off of the rear of the house.
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I'm just curious -- 1) how huge is "huge," and 2) why don't you like blown-in insulation, which seems to be pretty ideal for applications such as yours? I mean, it's not like you'd be looking at it every day. Chances are, by the next day, you'd forget you even had it.
Speaking as a pedestrian, there doesn't seem to be anything overtly wrong with your plan provided you're able to secure whatever you plan on using so there's a nice, snug fit over/around the holes. An actual construction-trade professional might have a different and far more qualified opinion, tho. Otherwise try it and find out. Not like you could ruin your house doing it or anything ;)
AJS
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You will neeed more than insulation to effectively close those holes. Since the holes are most likely not square, this should work. Try cutting plywood a bit larger than the hole, slide it up through the hole and position it to cover the hole. Construction adhesive should be enough to seal the perimeter. TB
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Tom Baker) wrote:

Don't you mean position the new plywood cover *over* the hole? Seems physically impossible to slide a larger piece of wood into a smaller hole. Assuming we're talking about a circular hole, that is. You can get away with it to a larger extent with oval-shaped holes, but I can't think of any electricians who carry oval hole saws. Screw the new wood "plate" on, seal with a bead of caulk, pop the vinyl back on, job done.
But all in all, I think this probably makes more sense than stuffing the hole with insulation since it would restore everything closer to its natural problem-free state. Why I didn't think of it in my earlier post is beyond me, but I suppose such things happen with the right-brained. Or the no-brained <grin>.
AJS
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About moving a piece of material through a hole: We don't know what the hole looks like, but here is an example. A square hole has a diagonal that is longer than its sides, so a square of material with sides about the length of the diagonal can be passed through the hole. The diagonal dimension can be calculated from A squared + B squared = C squared. There are lots of possible problems like no room above to manipulate the added piece, of course.
Tom
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My two cents... I wouldn't block the soffit venting, since ideally you want to keep that roof cool so you don't get melting and ice dams and the whole mess that comes with those.
Ideally, you'd get into that space, put in some sort of gable vent then insulate the floor of the space. That way your living space is insulated and the roof stays cool.
Of course this comes from a Mainer who wrestles with ice dams every year because the original contractor didn't vent my attic correctly. It may not be as big an issue on Long Island (although I'm pretty sure it gets cold down there as well, right?)
John

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Yes John, it has been unseasonably cold here on LI. Single digits, teens. though more recently 30's. I spoke to the contractor who did the siding who agrees....he would cut a hole in the side of the house to gain access to the attic floor space, insulate the space, then when closing the hole, place a gable vent there. Probably the best bet but certainly not the cheapest. I just thought that if I put it back to the way it was (sealed soffits) it would be ok and a heck of a lot cheaper. I'm in my home 12 years and never had ice damming in the 1st floor roof. Matthew

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Under this roof are heated rooms, right? The area was probably very tightly insulated and was considered too small an area, roof-wise, to worry about heat-buildup and proper venting.
Are there any recessed hi-hats in the ceiling under this area where you could pop them down, blow insulation over the whole kit-and-kaboddle, and then simply pop the hi-hats back into place?

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Your assumption of the relatively small attic space hence no venting is likely correct. When I had my CAC installed a few years ago the HVAC contractor called my house a "sweat box design" because of the non vented lower roof.. There are plenty of high hats in both the den and kitchen. The idea of blown insulation did cross my mind however I thought that blown insulation needed to be kept AWAY from the highhats as it is a fire hazard. Any advice on this?? Matthew

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Assuming "high hat" == pot fixture, yes, blown (or _any_) insulation on top of them is an extreme no-no, _unless_, the fixtures are rated for burial in insulation (75W maximum, thermal cutouts etc). They're not that expensive ($10-$20 apiece), but they'd be a pain to retrofit.
Given you weren't having problems before, I think just covering the "new" soffit holes is by far the cheapest solution.
If it were me, tho, I'd do full insulation, put an eave-end vent in, and replace the fixtures - or box 'em (see the electrical wiring FAQ) before covering with insulation.
"Boxing" them basically means boxing in about 8 cubic feet worth of joist gap surrounding the fixture with plywood, and _then_ covering with insulation. I'd recommend an inspector consult _before_ committing to that.
If you insulate, I suspect you need to guarantee the venting.
Yeah, it costs a lot more than just sealing the holes, but it'll probably pay for itself in reduced heating costs in relatively short order. Especially if you do it yourself.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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