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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Attic Insulation for 1916 American Four Square

    My wife and I have been restoring a 97-year-old brick, American Four Square for the past 5 years. The home is in historic Cape Charles, Va., on the Eastern Shore. We are now facing a problem and hope someone can help us out.

    We have a walk up 3rd floor attic with a front dormer. It is our desire to make this attic a 4th bedroom. Last summer, we had our roof replaced with GAF Lifetime Designer Shingles in Sheffield Black and added side dormers. We would like to insulate the attic and then finish off the interior so that it still has that attic feel to it. In other words, keep the rafters exposed and install false planking over the insulation in between the rafters. Here is our problem: We neglected to vent the new roof as it was never vented prior to our project, and we did not realize that this would be an issue. Also, there is zero venting in the soffits. The eastern shore of Virginia can get extremely hot in July and August and is not immune to some very chilly weather throughout the winter months.

    In reading various articles we found on the Internet, it appears our only option now is to insulate the space as a “a hot roof”. This method is apparently achieved by spraying foam insulation into every single crevice in the attic, thus preventing any moisture due to severe temperature changes between the inside and outside of the structure. Is this our only option? Is there another more affordable approach? We are currently at a standstill because we don’t have confidence in contractors or insulators to give us advice that would not only resolve the issue but also maintain the integrity and aesthetics of the house. We would appreciate some objective and strong guidance from experts as to whether this can be properly done and how we should proceed.

    We would GREATLY appreciate any help you can give us! Thank you!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Attic Insulation for 1916 American Four Square

    Eeks. You really shot yourself in the foot with this one. I'm afraid there isn't going to be any 'good' answer that I know of.

    My best offering;

    1- Install overlapping sheets / layers of Celotex under the roof before re-creating whatever look inside you want.

    2- Install ridge venting to every rafter bay

    3- Install drip edge venting provided its not too late

    4- If #3 fails, come up with some sort of continuous eve venting

    5- If the above fails, use the room on 'nice' days.

    Hopefully another Pro will come along and prove me wrong. Round these parts we only care about air conditioning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: Attic Insulation for 1916 American Four Square

    Too bad you didn't come here before you decided to reshingle the roof. You could have had stress skin panels installed over the deck boards or in place of them, then shingle over them. The stress skin panels are two layers of OSB with a thick foam center, 4 to 6" thick. Your new dormers could have been built using them as well.

    Now, the only thing I can think to do is have foam sprayed between the rafters, then use rough sawn planks to cover the foam and install false rafters under the planks. The false rafters could be made from 4x6 rough sawn cedar on 48" centers to give a post and beam look.

    You will need to make soffit vents and some type of ridge vent. This might be a little tricky to do.

    Edit: my bad, you don't need the venting if you use spray foam. Might be your only option now unless you don't mind paying for another roof.
    Last edited by keith3267; 01-04-2014 at 12:00 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Attic Insulation for 1916 American Four Square

    Eeks. You really shot yourself in the foot with this one. I'm afraid there isn't going to be any 'good' answer that I know of.

    My best offering;

    1- Install overlapping sheets / layers of Celotex under the roof before re-creating whatever look inside you want.

    2- Install ridge venting to every rafter bay

    3- Install drip edge venting provided its not too late

    4- If #3 fails, come up with some sort of continuous eve venting

    5- If the above fails, use the room on 'nice' days.


    Thank you for your input. Are you saying that we would only utilize steps 2 and 3 if #1 doesn't work?
    Hopefully another Pro will come along and prove me wrong. Round these parts we only care about air conditioning.[/QUOTE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Attic Insulation for 1916 American Four Square

    You need at least 1, 2 & 3 to make it work. Trapped air isn't good as moisture will collect and destroy your roof.

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