I would like to get some advice from all you pros.
In my attic the insulation is very old I think original from 1961. It has packed down to no more than 3 in in some spots and less in others. The insulation looks like it could have been a white wool type.
Along with being very dirty it had a lot of debris on top, old pieces of wood, drywall, electrical wire and old shingles from the house being roofed over 20 years ago.
My question is should I remove all the old debris and insulation or should I just install over everything?
Should I blow in, use the roll of batts?
I noticed I have 2 different size joist up there 2x4 and 2x6.
I was thinking that if I remove the old stuff I could find all the gaps and caulk. This might make a lot more work than I think.
It would be best to start all over - remove what you have. Then, regardless of your joist size (hopefully the spacing is consistent) I would put in r-19 between the joists, and then another layer of r-19 perpendicular to the first layer. Giving you r-38 over all. Good luck.
You won't know if you can do something if you don't try.
It is better to remove the old, compressed insulation as it is taking up space that could be new insulation - but not that much better. It's more important to seal any air gaps between the attic and living space - Edges of drywall ceilings, plumbing and wiring paths etc.
For the best bang for the buck and the least amount of work, get blown in insulation and a blower. Most places will rent you the blower for free if you buy a minimum amount of insulation.
You will need to make sure that any soffit vents remain clear - use foam or cardboard baffles to keep the blown-in insulation from the soffits.
If possible I will always opt for the batts of insulation over blown in loose. (unless the area is so low, you cannot get in to place or unroll or place the batts)
We have two thick layers of batts in our attic. One only has to roll one strip of the top layer up or flip it to the side, in order to see and step on the rafters to get across for any attic work. (like electrical or cable changes) Batts also tend to stay in place better than the blown, which can shift, drift and compact easier, plus controlling where it sits next to any soffit vents is easier.
might as well remove the old stuff if it's contaminated, and that allows you to find and seal all the attic bypasses (gaps around chimneys, holes for wires and pipes, etc.) with fire-rated products like firestop silicone, cement board, etc.
two schools of thought on insulation. batts are stable, but they have gaps through which air can exfiltrate. blown insulation is more thorough, unless you have air movement from powered vents (wind turbines or active blowers) or sideways openings that let wind through. the foam guys beat both at triple the cost.
I had a clean attic, so I just blew fiberglass over the existing cellulose. it has stayed put and kept my R40. due to creepy installation of the vent pans to the soffets, I had to redo about half of them, and since I couldn't find a good match to what was up there, I removed half and replaced with new, using the salvaged sections to extend my shorty pans to rise above the insulation.
it's not hard at all to fan the blown insulation with your gloved hand, I got the hang of it about the time the bad plugs on the blower shorted out. I let the lumberyard do the repairs and finished up the next weekend.
between that, a new storm door, replacing all the blown thermopanes in our windows, and caulking ALL the floor/wall and window/door frame gaps before putting new trim on, we cut our fuel oil use by almost 2/3. yes, 2/3 in a 1978-built house.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Just something to be aware of and take precautions...
Also,...Be sure and check on your locality's building codes and regulations. In the U.S., the National Electric Code (NEC) forbids blown insulation in older homes with certain types of outdated wiring systems, because overheating wires can create a fire hazard. Your installation professional will be able to advise you on the best type of insulation for your particular structure. As with all insulation products, you should avoid attic vents and heat-producing obstacles such as light fixtures.
...This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
Thanks to everyone. Pretty sound advice you all gave me.
I will price batts vs cellolose. Lowes is having a special on blown in .99 ft that includes labor and material. That may be a So Cal deal.
One other question.
My house is listed of a floor plan of 1437 sq ft.
I have a attached garage. Does the 1437 sq ft include the garage? I have always assume it was separate.
The reason I asked when pricing the insulation can I use the sq ft or should I go on the attic to measure.
Generally speaking, when a real estate agent talks about size it is heated square footage. So I'd bet your garage isn't included in that number.
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
If you happen to have a ceiling over your garage stalls, I would sure consider insulating that too.
When you go into the attic to measure, be sure to wear an approved resperator, gloves, eyeglasses, tape your pants to your shoes, wear a hat, and carry your cell phone in case of emergency
Or just measure your floor space of the garage and call it good enough
The trouble with blown in insulation is that it gets moved around too easy when someone climbs around up there, and it is rather nasty stuff, and no pushes back where it should be so you can end up with spots that are not properly covered.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Right you are Ron45, the NEC states K&T wiring to be insulation free as those wires are air cooled.
Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
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