Attic Venting (King of the House) Bellingham, WA Real Estate Inspections

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

In the Pacific Northwest, we have lots of precipitation and moisture. Since those of us who live here realize that, you would think that houses would be built in a manner that makes them resistant to moisture problems. It is amazing to me how many houses in our climate have roofs with poor to no drainage and poor or missing gutters or downspouts that empty next to the house.

Another problem, maybe not as intuitive to understand, is the case of the under ventilated attic.  General guidelines for building state that attics should be ventilated. Around here that venting, usually, consists of ridge vents, box vents, gable vents or soffit vents.  Venting should, ideally, be low (under eaves) or high on the roof, such as ridge or box vents. And putting more and different types of vents, for the sake of more vents, is not the right plan. Doing so can, in fact, lead to impeding ventilation and airflow. The system has to be designed right.

Since people never go in the attic, attic problems are often hidden: Out of sight and out of mind. But what happens when the vents are not functioning properly? Here is a photo.

This attic is under ventilated, hence the abundance of fungus. There may be too few vents; however, that is hard to determine since those vents that were present at the soffit were completely blocked by insulation.

This is a good example, and a lesson -- homeowners should not take for granted that every system is working just fine in the attic or in a crawl space. If the homeowner does not want to check, or traverse, such areas on an annual basis, then he or she should hire someone else who is knowledgable, to take a look. It is much easier to resolve problems prior to their becoming significant cleanup issues.

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Rainmaker
384,631
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Get to the Greek attic "Furry Walls don't bring me Down., Furry walls please stay around, furry wallls.... furry wallls"

Apr 29, 2012 01:25 PM #1
Rainmaker
692,665
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

O.K. Now that Donald has me totally confused. LOL

Hello Steven,

I don't get to see much of this where the attics are totally fungi'ed up like that. I did however in Michigan when I was inspecting where we did get a lot of rain.

Good shot of an "attic in distress".

Best, Clint McKie

Apr 29, 2012 04:18 PM #2
Rainmaker
692,665
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Steven,

I suggested this one. I like the fact you are bringing attention to a seldom looked after problem.

Proper Attic ventilation.

Best, Clint McKie

Apr 29, 2012 04:24 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,278,156
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, Mason, if not resistant at least MORE resistant!  Soffit and ridge is probably the most effective here.  Is that the case out there?

Apr 29, 2012 04:30 PM #4
Rainmaker
646,955
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

WOW~~ I can't imagine living with all of that fungus in my home!  That has to be very unhealthy.

Apr 29, 2012 06:57 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,185,931
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Don, You always had a way with words.

Clint, thanks for the suggestion.

Jay, same here, that is usually the best if everything is open and not blocked

Joy, at least it is up in the attic. People usually have no clue.

Apr 29, 2012 09:18 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,278,156
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I had one the other day where the people had diligently added insulation and in doing so covered up the soffit vents.  And you know the result.  They tried, but did not understand the entire system.

Apr 30, 2012 02:38 AM #7
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Rainmaker
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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