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Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Attic Ventilation / Painting vs Replacing Gutters / Leaking Basement

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

Q:

We need help in determining which method of attic ventilation we should use when we have a new roof installed (tear off).

Our house is a big, two-story house that is about 3500 square feet. There is an overhang and insulation in the attic. Should we install soffit vents (which a roofer said would be difficult because of the insulation), a power vent, add to the existing five bird vents or install ridge ventilation on three dormers?

Theoretically we know the soffit vents combined with bird vents or a power vent it the best combination, but we don’t seem to have a moisture problem.

A:

I hope this answer helps you breathe easier.

You should install one free clear foot of attic ventilation for every 150 square feet of attic space. What “free, clear” means is if you cut a one-foot square opening in the attic and covered it with insect screening, you have reduced the size of the amount of ventilation it provides. Vents are stamped with the amount of ventilation they provide.

Adding the proper amount of roof and eave ventilation not only makes the attic cooler, it also makes the house cooler, saving you money on your air conditioning costs. Proper ventilation helps prevent ice dams and it reduces the possibility of mold growing in your attic and rotting the roof structure. It also prolongs the life of your shingles.

So to summarize, proper ventilation saves you money, protects the roof structure, prolongs the life of the shingles, reduces ice dams, and helps your health. Other than that, they don’t do much!

I don’t particularly care if you install vents or square top hat vents as long as an equal amount of soffit or eave vents are installed.

If insulation is stuffed or blown into the eaves, the insulation should be pulled back and baffles installed. If you don’t have overhangs with vents then consider installing the “Inhaler”. The Inhaler is from Galco Sales Inc. (800-837-7663). It provides proper thermal attic ventilation for those without soffits. You should never install ridge vents without soffit or eave ventilation. By the way, if you have a gable roof and you install a ridge vent you should seal up any gable vents at the ends of your house. It’ll be easier than venting your frustrations.

Q:

To paint my aluminum overhangs and gutters would be $800.00 or to replace them would be $3500.00. I am 80 years old and don’t want to get ‘taken’. What is the smart thing to do?

A:

Clean them thoroughly and paint with a quality latex or metal paint. At your age, it’s not even a close call. If you were a lot younger, I’d probably still say the same thing if the aluminum is in good condition.

Painting aluminum lasts a lot longer than painting a surface like wood, which is porous. If done properly, the paint could last 10 to 15 years before needing repainting. The key words are “done properly”.

Q:

I am having a leakage problem in my basement.  I feel moisture and smell mold or mildew and can even see water coming in when it rains heavy at the seam where the floor meets the wall. What can I do to stop this water leakage?

A:

When water enters the basement at the joint along the base of the foundation walls it “usually” means the exterior grade is sloped improperly back toward the house. The ground around the exterior should be built up and slope toward your neighbor’s yard for at least four to six feet. Before you put dirt against brick, dig down a little and clean the mortar and bricks with a stiff brush then seal the bricks and mortar with a water proofing mastic such as Eco-Flex Liquid Rubber Waterproofing or Thoroseal Foundation Coating. If you don’t seal it first before you put dirt up against the brick and mortar, the wall could actually absorb moisture, which will cause future problem and leaking. You may not be able to do the sloping if your house is close to the neighbors. In that case, yes, a sloped walk should help. If you really want to be absolutely sure and dry, have the wall waterproofed. Get several estimates, and check credentials and references with the Better Business Bureau on any company you eventually decide to use.

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