This is a long OP because there is a lot of background info - I appreciate in advance everyone reading through it and offering their opinion and advice
We purchased/moved into our current home in June 2009. The house was built in 1962 and I live in a North suburb of Chicago IL about 15 minutes west of Lake Michigan. I am at a point where I need to address our attic situation and would like opinions on whether or not I am on target with what I believe the overall project should be (3 parts to it), as well as if any of the parts of the porject should be left to a profesional as opposed to me doing it.
Here's some back ground on the situation and attic pics as well.
During our pre purchase home inspection our inspector pointed out in his report that there were some issues with the insulation in our attic. Admittidly I have not been up in the attic since we moved in and have not done anythign about it. The main issue is that our second floor is constantly 10-15 degrees hotter or colder (season dependent) than the first floor. On top of that our bedroom is extremely warm in the summer - it never gets below 77 and is susally around 80-85 degrees when the temp outside is hot (85-90 or higher). I also now know that there is massive amounts of air leaks - especially from the 7 canned lights in our master bedroom. The reason I know is because this past winter I needed to replace a couple of the bulbs in the canned lights. When I was putting in the new bulbs I could feel the super cold air rushing in through the light fixture - obviosuly the light fixtures are not air sealed and I assume are causing a good portion of the issue with the temperature in our bedroom.
The other problem is that the access hatch to the attic is super small and located in the corner of my wifes closet - the insepctor we used said he barely got up there and he is smaller than I am so I am not 100% confident that it will be easy to get in and out of the attic using the current acces hatch.
After reading a lot of the threads on the forum about attic insulation and air sealing I have come to the conclusion that I have 3 parts to the overall attic project:
1. Install a new/bigger attic access door with a ladder in the hallway
2. Replace the canned lights with new air sealed canned lights as well as air seal the entire attic. Additionally add rafter air flow vents because from the pictures I have it seems like they have insulated over the soffit vents
3. Correct the insulation in the attic
What I would like to get opinions on is if I am on the right track as well as if any of these 3 projects should be given to a profesional to do - specifically the canned lights and the attic access door/ladder. I have posted the pics I got from the inspector at the bottom of this post
Project 1 - attic access door/ladder
I am not sure of the exact spacing between the attic joists so I am not sure if I will need to open up/re frame the area that the attic door will be installed in. Going with a worst case scenario that I will need to re-frame the joists do you think that is a DIY project or should I let a profesional handle the entire job of installing the new acces door and ladder? I have done some framing work but it was many years ago - from the research I have done it doesn't seem too hard to do but I wanted to get opinions on that -- if anyone cal tell the joist spacing from the pics I posted that would be awesome
project 2 - replacing canned lights and air sealing attic
I am mostly concerned with replacing the canned lights with air sealed fixtures. All of the electrical is already run and I have definitely replaced enough hard wired light fixtures that I am comfortable with disconnecting the electrical lines and connecting the new ones. The big thing is I have never specifically worked with canned light fixtures and am not sure if there is something unique about replacing the fixtures that would make it something I can't handle. Should I let an electrician replace the canned fixtures?
The air sealing part I feel comfortable with based on all of the articles I have read - is there anything about air sealing that would make you say to leave it to a profesional?
Project 3 - correct or replace the insulation in the attic
Once I have completed projects 1 & 2 the last part would be to correct the insulation. From what I have seen in the pics I am not confident tha the insulation was done correctly as there is what looks like a small amount of some sort of blown in insulation under unfaced fiberglass bats that were clearly added at a later time. Not to mention the many areas that are missing insulation altogther because whatever contractor the previous owners used to renovate the bathrooms clearly did not replace the insulation when they were done. -
My main question on insulation is if I need to rip it all out and just insulate as if the entire attice was uninsulated or try to use what's there and just add to it -- hopefully the pics will help with this question
Thanks again - I appreciate anyone who got through this very long post. Thanks in advance for your opinions and info
Here are the pics - they are not in any specific order and definitely are not of the entire attic but just what the inspector felt I needed to see