Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>cape cod with no soffits- what to do?
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cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

My wife and I own a cape cod that was built in the early 50’s. I had a small roof leak a few years ago and decided to just replace the roof, not just because of the leak, but it looked like it was on its way out. The roofers recommended vents in the roof close to the peak; they installed 4 or 6 of them and told me that was plenty. Knowing little about roofing and ventilation theory, I figured they would be the ones to know. Now, I have more leaks because they failed to inform me that I needed soffit vents and this is why I am getting ice dams. My problem is that now I have a new roof under manufactures warranty and no vents, I would need to hire a certainteed installer to install soffits on my house in order to not void the warranty. What are my options for venting the space? It looks like when it was built, the fascia was fastened directly to the roof joins ends and then the gutter installed over that. I was going to remove the fascia and reinstall it every other joist cavity then on the interior of the crawl space, create a way of connecting all ot them together and then all spaces would have ventilation. Or, is there a product that would help me achieve the same or better results without having a contractor install soffits and vents? If anyone has any suggestions…. Please feel free to reply, anything is better that another bill that I could have had done cheaper when the roof was removed. Im open to suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
Karl zaker, [email protected]

Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

I am experiencing a very similar problem. My ranch style house was built in 1958 and has very little attic ventilation and no soffits to which I can add vents. Before we moved in, someone installed a bathroom fan which vents directly into the attic - the whole bathroom ceiling is starting to discolor and warp due to the fan that comes on whenever the light is on. I have researched various opinions on attic ventilation, and I am wondering if it would be more trouble than it is worth to try and pay someone to add soffits and vents. Would it be better to just remove the fan and seal and insulate the attic instead? I live in Portland, OR a rather mild weathered, but very humid area.

Thanks for any input.

Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

Cape Cods typically have this problem. The usual solution is to install vents in the gable ends, often in conjunction with a ridge vent or the metal "top hat" vents.

Grizo5, your bathroom exhaust fan never should have been vented into the attic. It should be vented to the outdoors, not eliminated.

Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

The gable end vents may help some. Did the roofing company put Ice and Water shield down for at least the first 3 feet of the roof. This is to stop water from coming in if there is an ice dam. It is usually required by code in cold weather areas. If you still have problems you could have a spray foam company come in and assess whether spraying the underside of the roof would help. Good luck in your project.

Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

I don't think adding venting will eliminate ice dams. My attic is extremely well vented & I still get ice dams. Builders in my area put ice & water shield on the bottom 8' of an edge and 5' on either side of a valley

Re: cape cod

I'm considering purchasing a cape-cod style home in Ohio (I'm in Arizona) and am trying to understand how roof ventilation works with this type of roof and figure out through pictures if this house has it. There is also some ceiling staining, and significant cracking (up in the semi finished loft ceiling plaster) that I am concerned about. The seller told me the roof is "new" and that it used to have 7 visible vents (3 of them could have been bathroom fan vents) but that with the new system they didn't "need" that anymore. I think there are vents in the eaves all along the bottom edge of the roof (need to confirm this) but I don't see any evidence of peak roof vents or a cathedral vent. I know this is imperative and if it is missing that could be the cause of the cracking I am seeing. It is really hot in the loft so I also need to check insulation along the knee walls, etc. They have also added duct work to help cool the area, but its still hot and I think it is a drain on the capacity of the air conditioner.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

There are a lot of vents that you could be talking about in a roof. There are plumbing vents (cast iron or PVC sticking up through the roof), bathroom exhaust vents, ridge vents, turbine vents, gable vents and soffit vents. Here are some links.






Re: cape cod with no soffits- what to do?

With no-overhang eaves, you make the vent by leaving a gap at a trim board below the roof edge. You put a spacer every 16", where the trim board would be nailed, and leave the gap 3/8". Insect screening behind it keeps bees out.
A picture that is sort of like what I'm talking about:

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