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Advice on Attic insulation

9 years ago

So we just finished the second year in our house and both years we had some pretty cent sized ice dams, I haven't noticed any damage and I'd like to keep it that way. Our house is a story and a half cape built in the 50's with 2X6 rafter and vaulted ceilings upstairs. Additionally there are no soffit vents or really any place to put them with our very limited roof overhangs. There are a three ridge vents (one at each end and one in a large dormer with an attic fan). Currently there are fiberglass batts up there, with a small amount of airspace in the vaulted sections but I think for the most part air is being restricted. The knee-walls are insulated with the space outside them having insulation in the first floor ceiling. I took a picture just after some light snow that I think gives you a pretty good idea of how ugly the current insulation situation is.

My eventual vision is that when we replace the roof (hopefully still a few years off) we would put some additional foam over the existing deck, leave an airspace and a new deck over that and vent the soffit.

However I am wondering what can be done more in the sort term. The second floor is "finished" with wood paneling that we would like to pull out and install Sheetrock and if we are going to try to insulate it would seem like this would be the time. I would prefer something that we can do ourselves (leaning towards XPS sealed with canned foam). With the future plans I would think trying to seal the attic space would make the most sense however with only 2X6's for rafters that does not give a lot of space for insulation (without adding depth and lowering the ceilings which we would like to avoid because it's low as it is). Would it make sense to put as much XPS up there as we can but keep an airspace (4-4.5" of XPS)?