Suffocation - When Attic Venting Is Blocked

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723
http://actvra.in/Mpj

One thing that is easily visible on pre-drywall inspections is attic ventilation.  What you don't want to see is suffocation - when attic venting is blocked.

Over the years attic ventilation has changed, and even improved.  In fact, there is even a theory out there that subscribes to NO attic venting, based on the kinds of materials used to insulate the attic.  But that is another story.

One of the most effective forms of attic ventilation is called soffit and ridge venting.

Intakes are provided for air to get into the attic space from the soffits under the gutters.

Another long, continuous vent is cut out of the ridge of the roof, and covered to prevent moisture,insects and animals from getting inside.

As air enters the soffit vent and warms it rises and convection draws it toward the top of the roof, for eventual discharge.

The idea is to try to balance the amount of air coming in and going out.

It is a passive system, but effective because it is pure physics.

IF PROPERLY INSTALLED A SOFFIT AND RIDGE VENTILATION SYSTEM WILL NEVER FAIL.

When insulation is rolled or blown into the attic, it is important that it go to the very edge of the conditioned space below so a proper thermal barrier is provided.  To accomplish that baffles are installed, of cardboard or styrofoam, so that insulation can go right to the edge and yet air can get inside.

In this house cardboard baffles were being used.

They are fine.  They are stapled along the bottom at the top plat and on the sides against the truss rafter.

Ideally a 2" gap is left between the cardboard and the roof sheathing.   This gap allows enough air to get inside.  Each opening between the truss rafters gets the same baffle installation.

In this house I noticed that the baffles were stapled such that no gap was provided between the cardboard and sheathing.  The cardboard is touching the sheathing!

No gap, no air, no venting.

This attic would be suffocating for lack of air.

Obviously without air getting in there would be no convection drawing the air out.  The attic ventilation system is defeated by the improper installation.

And, looking around, this installer was completely consistent!  Every single baffle was so stapled.

This is the builder's "professional" subcontractor who does not understand what the baffle is for or how a soffit and ridge ventilation system works.

THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION.

My recommendation:   pre-drywall inspections are the only time the house is in a skeletal state and everything can be seen easily.  I highly recommend them!  You never know what might be found, but there is only one way to see it!  Do the inspection!



 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC 12/02/2012 08:12 PM
  2. Scott W. Johnson 12/03/2012 02:08 AM
  3. Roy Kelley 12/03/2012 02:38 AM
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Rainer
26,997
New York HOME INSPECTOR Inspector Holmes
http://www.linyhomeinspection.com - Farmingville, NY
John Holmes

Hey Jay,

  I am always happy to see a fellow Inspector looking for, and worrying about the right things. In this day and age everyone seems to be in a rush. The Real Estate Market here is slow, so guys are cutting their prices, and its showing up in their work. They cut $100 off their price so now they have to rush through an Inspection! The Attic Suffocation you are talking about may not create a problem for several years, so not reporting it wont hurt the Buyer for quite a while, so these guys get away with it.

 I am concerned about my clients new home for the life of the home. I want my Client as happy 5,10, or 20 years after I have Inspected it! After all its not a used car we are checking out here. We are looking at peoples Homes , some place where they will raise their families!

 Keep up the good work Jay, Im happy that others care like I do. Please Realtors, dont convince your Clients to price shop their Inspection, lets stop these guys that are taking advantage of Our Clients. Buying a Home is a Huge Investment. Inspecting it is a Huge Responsibility! Go to The Inspector who understands that, and feels the same way.

            You wouldnt price shop for your Family Doctor to care for your Children would you ?

                                                         Inspector Holmes Home Inspections

                                                          Protecting Your Biggest Investment

                                                              John Holmes 631-805-6006

                                                             www.linyhomeinspection.com

Dec 03, 2012 09:40 PM #49
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you John.  I have one or two blogs on this site demonstrating my care!  As do other home inspectors.  This is a great forum for advertising the good guys.

Dec 03, 2012 09:43 PM #50
Rainer
25,374
Dave Brice
Pacific West Home Inspections - Salmon Arm, BC

Good one Jay. The contractor that installed that old style of soffit venting baffle should find another profession. I believe that older type of cardboard style baffle vent has a wax coating to prevent moisture and wetting issues. I'm surprised to see that such baffle vents are still being used (old stock?).

Further, in your blog, should say that the soffits are underside/underneath of the roof overhang and not underside/underneath of the gutters, there's nothing underneath the gutters as they are stand alone along the outer edge of the roof overhang attached to the fascia board.  

Dec 03, 2012 09:51 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Dave -  Thanks.  I really don't think that was a contractor.  Around here the builders use LOTS of people they pick up at 7-11.  I call it, sarcastically, "7-11 construction."  If the shoe fits.

As to your second point, I think the graphic makes that clear.

Dec 03, 2012 09:57 PM #52
Rainmaker
1,032,509
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Jay, once again, you have made us so much wiser!  New home buyers need to take advantage of the opportunity to inspect a new build throughout the building process.

Dec 03, 2012 10:08 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Sharon, but smart isn't what we know, it's what we do with what we know!  So, go and do that voodoo that you do so well!

Dec 03, 2012 10:14 PM #54
Rainmaker
473,592
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, I see these cardboard baffles quite often. Pretty common baffle material around here. But any baffle needs to be installed correctly. Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking (or not thinking).

Dec 04, 2012 12:11 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Not thinking Don.  Too hard.

Dec 04, 2012 12:45 AM #56
Rainer
152,607
EMILIA B COOPER, REALTOR® SFR.NCHSE.AHWD
LAROSA REALTY - Orlando, FL
Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate

Jay, I am very grateful for all this explanation, very educational and we all need to know such information ... greatly appreciate it!

Thanks for sharing!

Dec 04, 2012 01:29 AM #57
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Emilia.  Information is why I come to AR too!

Dec 04, 2012 01:32 AM #58
Rainmaker
67,980
Sherry Laursen
Remax Premier Group - Tampa, FL
MAKING YOUR REAL ESTATE DREAMS A REALITY
Thanks for the info. Always anxious to learn all I can about the homes I'm viewing. We always have professional inspections done, however its always nice to know what their talking about instead of standing there clueless.
Dec 04, 2012 03:49 AM #59
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I am glad you feel more informed Sherry!  That's the idea here!  I love to learn on AR too.

 

Dec 04, 2012 04:44 AM #60
Rainer
132,865
Rob Renk
Center Street Lending - McKinney, TX
AE | Fast Fix/Flip Loans for Residential Investors

Great post.  I really like your explainations on home related items and why they need to be fixed and what to look for.

Dec 04, 2012 08:35 PM #61
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Rob.  We intend to instruct!  And can you play me "Let It Be?"

Dec 05, 2012 07:32 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,321,213
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

For a few years our county was insisting on the Northwest Energy Code - and as they interpreted it, houses got no air at all. I've seen houses built during that time that were covered in mold.

Dec 05, 2012 03:39 PM #63
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I see this new "ventless" construction from time to time Marte, and wonder about it.  Nobody knows what the long-term effect will be.

Dec 05, 2012 06:37 PM #64
Rainmaker
1,288,565
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

How can that contractor be called a professional when this is so basic?

Dec 06, 2012 02:29 AM #65
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It is basic Lyn.  And he is NOT a professional, as you suggest.  He was hired by the builder, maybe that morning from 7-11, given information on what to do, and did it.  He had no idea what he was doing or why.

Dec 06, 2012 02:41 AM #66
Ambassador
1,640,495
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Jay - the idea tht the attick need to breathe is simple to understand, but I had no clue, until I read this. It does not affect my clients as I work with condos, but it is always good to know

Dec 06, 2012 10:54 PM #67
Rainmaker
1,726,679
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I'm glad you learned something Jon!  That is why I come to AR.

Dec 07, 2012 11:46 AM #68
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

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