Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes

Avatar Evan | June 24, 2013 1045 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

This is part 6 of the prep work we did to get everything ready to blow GreenFiber cellulose insulation in our attic. At the bottom of this post we have a link to every post in this series if you want to check out the whole shebang :)

After we finished cleaning our attic, getting the wires/cables in order, making the map, fixing the exhaust vent, and re-stapling up the old insulation, we were finally able to get to one of the essential prep-work items all the tutorials talk about- adding vent chutes.

Vent chutes, also called soffit baffles or air chutes, are these styrofoam or cardboard covers that you put at each soffit vent to block blown insulation from clogging it and to guide the air coming in from your soffits up and over the insulation. This helps keep your attic ventilation in order: if you have insufficient ventilation, your attic gets hotter than it’s supposed to and all that insulation you added has to work against much more heat.


Vent chutes are also fun to pose with.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

Did you notice the ninja Mochi in the above picture? I know I can kinda be distracting so if you did, go you! And yes, woot! This is Evan again. Hi.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

But back to business. Some things you’ll for sure need to install these things

  1. hard hat (nails poke through the roof from the shingles… and bumping into them hurts)
  2. staple gun
  3. long poking device (we used a garden hoe, pictured above)
  4. vent chutes
  5. some boards to lay on (I chopped some to length for easier carrying)
  6. good breathing mask
  7. head light
  8. eye protection
  9. gloves, long sleeves, and long pants to keep insulation off your skin

To find where your soffit vents are, go outside and look at the edge of your roofline anywhere there is an overhang. You’ll see the outside of your soffit vents from there, so make a mental note of how many there are. Then go into the attic when it’s light outside and turn the lights off. You should be able to see daylight filtering in where you found the vents outside, where the roofline meets the attic floor. If a vent is currently blocked by insulation you won’t see light, which is why it’s good you counted them from the outside already.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

You’ll want to start by clearing a way as much existing insulation as you can. I used a garden hoe for this; getting it all with my hands would have been hard even for my long-armed self. Make as much room for the chutes as possible because they are flimsy and it is hard to push them past insulation below and nails sticking in from above (these are the things that cause the most trouble).

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

The best method I developed (took me three tries) is after you’ve cleared a path, put your long poking device inside the vent chute (between it and the ceiling) and push down to hold it away from the roof. This way you can guide the chute past the protruding nails.

Once you have the chute in place it is time to staple!

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

No real secrets I’ve found here. Just make sure you have a staple gun you can shoot with one hand. This would have been very difficult (or impossible) if I had to use both hands to shoot it. Try to press with your body and leverage your weight to push instead of your fingers if you can. It recommends doing a staple every 4 inches or so. Do the best you can, and then use your garden hoe again to press the insulation (the excess you pulled out in the beginning) back against the bottom of the chute. This will help hold the base of it against the roof (where it’s harder to reach your staple gun).

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

You might end up at some odd angles, and you will DEFINITELY end up incredibly sweaty, but it really does not take too too long to install these very necessary items.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

Psst – To see the whole process from start to finish, check out our other posts! You can see our overall plan for blowing insulation, and check out all the prep in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 7, Part 8Part 9, and the actual blowing of insulation. Big project!

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This post currently has 11 responses.

  1. BOB WILSON, England

    November 15, 2014 at 4:59 am

    ROOF VENTS: Think about it? Flat pieces of plywood cut to size, or 12″long x4″x4″ scrap timber, or wire netting mesh will do the same or even a better job for nil cost. You’re roof is over-ventilated, all you need is 3 vents each side of the attic space, and a slit-line. meaning an 1/4″ inch wide slit right along the topmost under-ridge-tiles. You can close / seal – the costly and unwanted existing vents by stapling “breathable roof membrane” across the chute mouth/s. In fact you can use cut squares of SCRAP breathable membrane to replace the vent chutes.Roll insulation does not move, just loose blown insulation does. You have roll insulation the best type made by I think Owens Corning. God Bless OUR America, A limey Brit.

  2. dave

    November 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Old 2 story home, small… Attic has original insulation, years ago some county grant money , they came around and blew in some loose stuff.. I was in the attic a few months ago, checking to see if a bathroom vent that was installed a few years back was actually venting to outside or attic. It was outside, so that’s good.
    Anyways, I noticed a few baffle chutes here and there, not every joist, they were just loosely set there., at the time i didn’t know what they were.
    So with winter coming, we get a good amount of ice buildup at the soffet line, so i was going to go up there, make sure the baffles are installed properly, and then maybe put some additional batting up there.
    I got frustrated with the thought of doing it myself. Just had a contractor look at it;
    he states: – the house is 80 years old, and the slanted part of the roof is only built with 2 by 4’s, not even 2 by 6’s! And they are 30 inches apart.
    – He states, he wants to just pack the slanted part of the entire roof with dense packing, just like you would a wall he told me.
    – does not want to use any baffle chutes, because being only 2 by 4, there is no room for both insulation and baffles ( makes sense technically).
    – said with the new homes, or even newer homes that have deeper joists, they use just the chutes in the slanted joists, and insulate. Leaving the soffet areas open (to keep colder). All makes sense.
    – but he states with my situation, you have to make the call and say, let’s attack the heat loss by insulating, over just putting in baffle chutes.
    – He states because i have a good ridge vent in the roof, along with 2 gable vents, you should be fine with ventilation.
    – So he would pack in the soffet area, the slanted part of the roof, and then put an additional 6 inches on the attic “floor”.

    said that’s what he thinks based on my home, and his experience. He is quite reputable by the way.

    your thoughts?
    I asked about, just making sure the baffle chutes are there, keeping soffets open, but then increasing attic floor insulation. He said, probably, but he still likes the idea of more insulation, and not using chutes.

    I just had the second guy come out to look at the attic insulation. These guys come highly recommended in syracuse. He looked at the attic and states:
    – it looks like someone did come in and blow insulation in the attic floor, and that it is probably sufficient, that part. Not much more could really be added.
    – said the problem is below the knee wall . said, not sure if i have soffet vents, however, he said the chutes would do nothing, because the insulation that is down in those areas, which of course are very difficult to get to, are filled with about 3 inches of batting, however, there is no more room to put anymore insulation in that area because they are 2 by 4’s. And that with only 3 1/2 inches of insulation, you only have about an R12. Said, that is not enough to keep the heat loss contained below, and that is what is hitting your roof and causing snow melt/ice.

    – said you could pull out what is there, and attempt to put more in , however, it is still a limited space to pack anything higher to get the higher R value.

    – said expense option is to start removing drywall, etc.. and use the spray foam.

    – he said the chutes will do nothing if you remove the insulation, because the point is there is not enough insulation to begin with? He stated that with foam, you don’t need chutes, because the foam insulates all of it. no need for chutes.

    I don’t understand that, again, i thought below the knee wall was to be left open?

    where is this heat loss coming from that i get the ice?

    One side note: he stated, that a metal roof would be good in the future to keep the snow off??

    so now, i have both companies saying something about the 2 by 4 thing, and that one guy wants to put dense packed insulation in that knee wall area, and another said it won’t make a difference, because it will still only give me r12, and both say no chutes?

    Also, I still don’t know what he is talking about with heat loss i have? He said the attic floor is fine, probably not so much heat loss. but it is the other area where there is heat loss., again, heat loss from where? i thought the only place you get heat loss is from the attic floor? no? and if some state there should be nothing in the soffit area, to keep it cold, then what could he be referring to?

    I’d like to call him back , but not sure what question to ask him?

    • Katelyn

      November 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I’m sorry, I wish we could help you out more but we are by no means experts, just a couple of 20-something DIYers with our first house. Sounds like we live in a different climate than you so many the rules differ.

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