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  1. #1
    Lisa Simkins's Avatar
    Lisa Simkins Guest

    Default Why are soffits bricked up?

    Hi; I have seen this in the attic of two old houses recently (1920's - 1940ish). The soffits appear to be brick and mortared up from the inside, maybe to keep critters out. Does anyone know if this was an original construction technique?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    leonardo, new jersey
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    yes, to keep the blown in insulation in the cavity, today they staple a card board curb with a space on top for the ventilation, it allows the air to move. Some times in condos where the wind blows off the atlanitc here, it moves the insualtion.

    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    What was the exterior of the building?
    Is that charred wood or is that only moisture stain?
    That collar tie looks burnt


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    something going on there with no passive air for sure

    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

  5. #5
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    It was common back then to use bricks to fill the gap between the studs. It stopped the wind from blowing through the walls. Gave almost nothing for an R value. Go to Inspectipedia, they have a an article on it...good luck


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    I see moisture stains from a profound lack of ventilation.
    Also, some very long unsupported spans for 2 X 4 rafters. Mind you, that is good quality wood and the hip design is strong. There's a good chance the original attic had no insulation whatsoever, so closing the soffits off made sense.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I see moisture stains from a profound lack of ventilation.
    Also, some very long unsupported spans for 2 X 4 rafters. Mind you, that is good quality wood and the hip design is strong. There's a good chance the original attic had no insulation whatsoever, so closing the soffits off made sense.
    Its a hip, with real lumber, I bet they are 2x4,


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    $20 on 2x6


  9. #9
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    $20 on 2x6
    Not from that pic ..i did mean a real 2x4 not dimensional lumber...that hip king would be a 6 though,,,nes pas


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    $20 on 2x6
    I can bill your CC if you email me private.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
    Lisa Simkins's Avatar
    Lisa Simkins Guest

    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    What was the exterior of the building?
    Is that charred wood or is that only moisture stain?
    That collar tie looks burnt
    When I was there I did not get the impression of charring. There was definitely moisture damage from failed shingles, and probably poor ventilation, although roof vents had been added. The inside of the house was original plaster and hardwood floors so a serious fire history is unlikely.

    Roof framing was 2 x 4, with 2 x 6 collar ties for my betting friends. 1920's construction.

    The building is brick, and possibly solid due to arches over windows although there were no header rows. The basement was finished with old plaster so joists or sills and framing was not visible to check wall construction.

    The attic access was so tight, I could only think of Jenny Craig as I was exiting!


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why are soffits bricked up?

    Double brick wall.

    Plank decking breaths well, however in older homes no vapour barrier, and no ice shield, staining likely from ice damming and condensation over the years and lack of insulation.

    It is also common for older home such as this to have long rafters true dimensional 2x4's.

    Old homes never had soffit venting due to natural air leakage.


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