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How To Install Attic Baffles Or Vent Chutes


Milt R. of Boston, MA wrote:

Itchy, I'm Baffled!

I plan on adding more insulation in my attic. A friend told me to make sure I have baffles installed. Can you tell me a little about baffles and how they're installed?

Baffles, sometimes called vent chutes or rafter vents are used to keep air flowing through the attic. There primary purpose is to keep insulation from clogging the lower ventilation. Attic ventilation is necessary to prevent moisture build up that can potentially cause rotting. 

There are two popular types of baffles. One is made of cardboard and the other is constructed of foam. These are prefabricated and usually come in widths of 16" or 24". They are designed to fit over the vented area at the wall plate and extend up the rafter.

If your ceiling hasn't been dry walled, installing baffles is a breeze. Simply get on a ladder, and staple them on top of the wall plate and up the truss or rafter about every 4". Make sure there is a space of at least 1" between the baffle and the plywood roof deck. These vent chutes only need to be installed where the lower vents exist. 

If your installing baffles in a existing attic it's a whole different story. This will require crawling to the end of the eaves. It is tight and sometimes you may be crawling over existing insulation and it can get very dirty. 

Installing the baffles is the same as above but it is a slower process and may require a certain amount of cussing to get the job done. But, that's OK because nobody can hear you in the attic anyway. 

Before installing vent chutes in a existing attic, make sure the vents are free of any loose fill insulation. You can do that while your installing the baffles by brushing the insulation back into the attic or you could do it from outside the house using a leaf blower on the lower vents to push it back.

 

Safety First! Don't try walking or even crawling on the drywall - stay on the ceiling joists. Before you get started, make sure you are wearing protective gear. Goggles, dust mask and protective clothing are a must. I would also recommend a hard hat as many roofs have nails protruding through the plywood. I know from experience what it feels like to bump your head into an exposed nail and believe me, it smarts!

Related Tips and Advice:

How To Insulate A Vaulted Ceiling
How Much Insulation Do I Need?

How To Install Blanket (Batts) Insulation  Over Existing Attic Insulation

How Install Blown In Insulation In A Attic

Adding A Plywood Attic Floor Over Insulation

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