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Insulation help for my new cape cod style bungalow!

I just bought a cape cod bungalow style house that needs gutted and redone.. The second floor "roof" area is where the bedrooms are. One has already been gutted after a fire by previous owners. I'm planning on tearing out ALL the drywall, plaster, walls, ceilings, and floors where needed (most of the house).   From looking inside the room that had the fire in it, I can see there isn't much of a gap for insulation as well as roof breathing room.   I can easily figure out how to put it into the walls that are vertical, but the angled walls/ceilings are where I'm stuck. (I call them ceilings, someone else calls them part of the walls, either or, it still needs insulated!  lol)   The room with the fire does have a roof vent, but I haven't pulled the other rooms yet to know (still working on gutting the downstairs to get rid of termites and damage as well as water damage).


Anyone have any idea how to go about doing this?  I do want it insulated after having moved out of an apartment with no attic insulation and $600 a month heating bills that I do NOT want to repeat.  The rooms are on the small side, so any bit of extra space for the ceiling will make a difference.. 





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Posted 2011-08-19T04:50:08+0000  by Jen-001 Jen-001

Well Jen, no soffits makes this fix a little more complicated, but not impossible.


A wall installed vent will not be the answer, and here’s why.  I discussed venting as a critical factor to cooling the roof in hot conditions, but not the winter issues of roof ice dams and interior condensation.


It is not unusual for homes to be built without soffits on at least one side of the house.  Wall insulation is placed all the way up to the ceiling insulation and the attic is vented by low gable vents combined with either high roof vents or (not and) a ridge vent.  This insulation is often sufficient to prevent living space heat from melting snow and creating leaks from ice dams forming on the roof edges.  The gable vents allow sufficient cooling in the summer, and all is well.


With the attic space as a living area, there is no gable venting possible.  With no soffit area to provide venting, all that’s left is the fascia space or just under the roof shingles for venting.  Using the wall for venting will introduce heated air to the roof underside in the winter – not good.


I am aware of 4 ways to fix this.  First would be drip edge venting or direct roof edge venting.

See this site for more information:  Air Vent, Inc.


Second would be direct fascia venting behind the gutters, and third is to pull up the roof and ventilate it directly with raised panels:  Deer Park Roofing.


Lastly is to use a roof panel just along the eave that vents into the channel under the sheathing:  DCi Products.


I hope this helps,


Best Answer

Posted 2011-08-26T15:06:56+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Hello Jen.  Welcome to Home Depot’s how-to Community!


The only difference between insulating the angled ceiling and insulating exterior walls lies in the need for that breathing room you mention.  The underside of the roof needs ventilation during the hot summer months.  There are a couple of ways you can do this.


One is to buy attic ventilation channel.  Run it all the way up the sheathing until you get past the collar ties.


Attic Channel at


As you can see by the picture, the channel does not have to be very deep but it has to be there.  Then you can use faced fiberglass insulation and then drywall to complete the “ceiling”.


Another method would be to create your own channel using wood strips alongside the rafters and complete the channel by tacking foam board insulation to the strips.  Lastly, use 4 mil or better plastic sheeting for the vapor barrier, and then drywall.  If you wanted to use faced fiberglass insulation with this method then you would need to tack ¼” plywood or hardboard to the strips to prevent the fiberglass from blocking the channel.


No matter how you go about this, you will need to ensure that there are soffit vents to allow cold air up into the roof channels, and roof venting to let the hot air escape.  Also, because these rooms will be living areas, you must cover whatever insulation you use with drywall.  This is a basic fire hazard protection step.  Even though space is at a premium, please don’t forget to do this.


I hope this helps,


Posted 2011-08-19T14:22:30+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Get the kind with a paper backing, cut it to size, then use a staple gun to staple the paper to the beams.  As was noted, make sure you have proper ventalation as required by your county code.


-Bob McIntosh


Posted 2011-08-22T17:42:24+0000  by RedHeadRehabs

Thanks!  those are awesome ideas that I hadn't thought of!  I will definately use one of those (which one I haven't yet decided.. lol)


As for soffits, those will be an issue on most of the roof. This particular design has no overhangs except on the front of the house. Would a wall installed vent work as well?  And what is required for those?

Posted 2011-08-25T19:14:30+0000  by Jen-001

Fantastic!  I didn't even know these types of venting existed!   I have a TON of info to read up on now and a decision to make!  


Thanks SO much for your help!



(If I could choose 2 to accept as solution, I would choose both because both answers complete the solution, but it will only let me choose one :( )

Posted 2011-08-27T04:38:07+0000  by Jen-001

You’re welcome Jen.


Please come back and let us know which method you decided to use.  Pictures of course always help.

I’d really like to see how it worked out.


If there is anything else you need, we are here to help.


Thanks for joining the community!



Posted 2011-09-02T13:45:43+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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