A Baffling Experience

You know how one project leads to discovery of another, bigger, more important project? Meet my ventilation issue.

Missing Baffles
Vaulted ceiling over the bathroom has no ventilation baffles.

Last year we did some minor wood repairs on the house ourselves, but we decided there were too many similar issues, so we budgeted for professional repairs this year.  I called Jared at DoneRight to get a quote.  He came down from my roof with photos of extensive hail damage from a few years ago. This is our first experience with it.

While we waited for the insurance company’s estimate, my guy did his own. Jared also noted our vaulted ceilings and suspected the spots were due to improper ventilation. His trip to the attic confirmed that. I knew the issue existed, but had been putting it off till we needed a new roof, because it required removing the old one. I had seen the issues, and chose to ignore them as not terribly important. Big mistake.

Vaulted ceiling over living room has no baffles. This is where most of the ceiling spots were.
Vaulted ceiling over the living room has no baffles. This is where most of the ceiling spots were.

There is a formula for proper attic ventilation. Many contractors don’t know it. Clearly the roofing company we used 10 years ago didn’t. I called to their attention the ceiling spots, and they could not figure out the source. So we dealt with high heating and cooling bills, poor air circulation, and high humidity, not to mention the mysterious ceiling spots. For many years!

There are a handful of issues that are being corrected, too. Another contractor’s solution to ventilation was to create gable vents, which have caused another whole set of issues. A relative’s well-intended electric roof fan installation over the garage attic actually caused separate issues. They’re all getting addressed now, as I type. Some vents are getting closed up, some are being replaced with turbines, and the attic area between the vaulted ceilings and the soffit-vented, open attic is getting a removable barrier. And the bathroom vents are finally being routed properly (an issue I paid a handyman to correct, but he decided it wasn’t necessary).

 

Proper baffles provide proper ventilation over vaulted areas.
Proper baffles provide proper ventilation over vaulted areas.

But the biggest project is the baffle installation. Decking has been removed to allow for this. I was told there was no damaged decking, and no damaged insulation. The baffles are going in along the joists, which isn’t as easy for them as I thought it would be. Ventilation and comfort are on the way!

Those uninsulated areas along the soffit overhang are supposed to be that way, since they are beyond the exterior walls. And there is enough insulation over the rest of the living areas.

With the ventilation issues addressed, the electric roof fan eliminated, and our new insulated garage doors, we should have much lower electric bills this summer. That’s good, because we have a high hail damage deductible set by the insurance company, which we didn’t include in our budget. (And I am very glad to have that hail damage coverage!)

Having the ventilation done along with the roof and other repairs is cost-effective, not to mention sanity-saving. In two days it should all be done. The new paint job is going to have to wait a few months, though. While not ideal, it works to have the most important things done first, and save up for the next project. Long-range thinking.

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The Tough Get Frugal

When life gets real, the tough get frugal.

And this is the story of my life. Life has been getting pretty real around here lately. So I’ve changed the name and the direction of this blog to reflect that.

I’ve got projects, and I don’t have a ton of cash. The jobs have to get done right, and frugally. Some have to be done by contractors — such as the roof replacement and ventilation project currently underway above my head. Others can be DIY and accomplished pretty easily without big expense. The key is knowing your skill levels, learning to use tools, and getting creative.

Hopefully, my experiences will help you in your own frugal adventures. Leave a comment below about your recent frugal practice. It’s all about the sharing here!

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