Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Attic Venting in Queen Anne Victorian w/ turrets
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Christopher
Attic Venting in Queen Anne Victorian w/ turrets
Christopher

Hi All -- I've recently purchased a Queen Anne Victorian built in 1895located in Medford, MA.  The attic/3rd floor (yes, there is a room up there) has zero ventilation.  No soffit vents, no ridge vents, no gable vents, etc.  As you can imagine, it can get blazingly hot up there. While I don't have a temp reading, it had to have been 120F+ on some of those really hot days we had earlier this summer. The previous owner had an insulation company come in and insulate the attic floor and also added 20" of cellulose and fiberglass insulation in and around the eves and turrets.  So at least the heat doesn't make its way down into the 2nd floor (much).

While we have no immediate plans to finish off this space (the current room is unused and looks like it hasn't been used in 50+ years), we would like to at least have the option of doing so in the future.  And of course, I need to replace the roof this fall so now would be the time to add ridge vents, etc.   The roof line is complicated with the turrets forming valleys and hips as well has forming "islands" of higher roof lines than the rest of the roof.  And to complicate things, there are no soffits around the turrrets but decent-sized ones around the straight lines of the roof. 

So the biggest question is whether or not I should move forward with adding ridge vents during the reroofing, then add soffit vents to the areas where it is possible and if this will be enough. What (if anything) can be done to the turrets to promote air flow up and out given their higher height than the rest of the roof?

The other option is to do nothing but I've heard of premature roof/shingle failure on houses where the attic isn't properly vented due to the extreme heat buildup.

Anyone else have to deal with a similar situation?

Cheers!
- Chris

ordjen
Re: Attic Venting in Queen Anne Victorian w/ turrets
ordjen

Franco Spam!

ordjen
Re: Attic Venting in Queen Anne Victorian w/ turrets
ordjen

I recently visited a long tme friend who lives in Las Vegas. His house is new and I was interested in how the attic was insulated. The underside of the roof is totally insulated with sprayed foam and the attic is inside the house "envelope". It is actually cooled up there with A/C. The advantage is that the roof stays relatively cool and the brutal heat is kept away from the living area below the ceiling. This is especially noticeable in a ranch house like his. The living level stays cool, without heat radiating down from the ceiling, as the attic is about as cool as the house living areas.

The danger in a poorly vented attic is that condensation and ice can form on the bottom of the roof sheathing, causing formation of rot and mildew. If the roof structure is coated in closed cell foam and well insulated, condensation will not form. The closed cell foam is also the vapor barrier, keeping moisture from getting to the wood sheathing.

The existing heating/cooling system could be extended into the attic area, or, it might be a good use for one of the split system heat pumps  Franco is hyping in his above spam.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.