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Old 03-09-2012, 02:37 PM   #1
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Removing old damaged insulation


The 850 sq. ft. ranch style was built in 1969, WI, R-19 was used but faced up....the last owner worked at a paper mill and decided it would be nice to add a layer of string paper over the top....yes, paper with strings running both ways....very sturdy. When I bought the house in 1990, one of my bosses talked me into buying the insulation that looks like newspaper and he went up in my attic and stapled up 8 eve vents then the insulation. For the last 5-7 years now, I have been getting dark shadows on my ceiling in a few rooms. Painted with zinzer stain blocker paint a couple of times.
After taking an interest in insulation how to's, I decided to climb up to the attic and investigate what I had going on. I found several of the vents laying in very unleveled blown in dusty insulation. Big humps of what turned out to be the R-19 bunched up for some reason....and the worse part, picking up the Faced UP R-19 ... there was only about an inch of good insulation attached...the rest looks like critter bedding and a fun house for who knows what was tunneling through. I only wished I would of had this interest in 1990. I did have a ridge vent added within the last 5 years. Plus there is a gable vent and attic is open from the garage.
I do have several questions....

1. What is the best method of removing the old insulation?..so far I have been bagging up...lots of bags.

2. Can I put in 2 layers of R-30 or 38 unfaced?...east to west then north to south OR do I need the bottom layer to be faced? ( Paper down ) I was planning on the new pink batts ...not the itchy stuff

3. Is it possible to paint a vapor barrier to my ceiling?...since they need to be painted again? What type of product can be used?.

4. Once I inspect wires and seal any openings, will I need to treat the attic to prevent rodents for inviting themselves in again?. I will close the attic off from the garage.

5.Does anyone know how to rig up a leaf blower/vacuum. Would like to vacuum everything up. I do have a craftsman 6.5 amp variable speed.

Thanks for any advice.


Last edited by Megsmom88; 03-14-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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Removing old damaged insulation


Get an insulation company or rent an insulation vacuum to just vacuum it out. No need to really waste all your time trying to bag it up.

Get all the old out, seal up any penetrations, wire chases, top plates, and then blow the attic to full depth R-Value with cellulose. Critters like cellulose a lot less than fiberglass.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:36 PM   #3
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Removing old damaged insulation


I called around to find a vac to rent....nothing. I called several contractors.... they are more than willing to put the new insulation in ....but to take it out....nope. So I am back to bagging and bagging. But the positive side is that I am learning about How Not To Insulate An Attic. Not only did I find R-19 faced up, a layer of string paper, than blown in insulation....I have found the last owner cut strips of Carpeting to fit between the joists, one section on top of a junction box. I have found that there are Huge areas with no drywall ....above the basement stairwell and the top of internal walls and the drop ceiling above the kitchen cabinets.
The Air Sealing part....to make sure that is done correctly....I will hire someone to do it. I can't imagine how many cans of great stuff I would have to buy.
I Look forward to having a safer house with lower heating and cooling bills.... my challenge.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:25 PM   #4
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Removing old damaged insulation


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Originally Posted by Megsmom88 View Post
I called around to find a vac to rent....nothing. I called several contractors.... they are more than willing to put the new insulation in ....but to take it out....nope. So I am back to bagging and bagging. But the positive side is that I am learning about How Not To Insulate An Attic. Not only did I find R-19 faced up, a layer of string paper, than blown in insulation....I have found the last owner cut strips of Carpeting to fit between the joists, one section on top of a junction box. I have found that there are Huge areas with no drywall ....above the basement stairwell and the top of internal walls and the drop ceiling above the kitchen cabinets.
The Air Sealing part....to make sure that is done correctly....I will hire someone to do it. I can't imagine how many cans of great stuff I would have to buy.
I Look forward to having a safer house with lower heating and cooling bills.... my challenge.
Good for you.

You are doing the hard/back breaking part already.

You might want to take a stab at the air sealing part too!

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-...llection=72770
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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Removing old damaged insulation


OK... I am back..... Bagging old insulation was a slow process due to extra time at work and little time at home....found I was sharing my attic space with at least three chipmunks.....yes they all watched in disbelief that I was stealing their home and food. One even ran inches in front of me.
What is the an effective way of sealing the areas the chipmunks use to enter the attic.....and is there way to keep the attic a less attractive home for them?

I have vinyl siding and noticed my dog scratching at the corner piece.....when I pressed on the corner....a chipmunk let out a yell....If I put a chunk of steel wool up in the corner piece will that keep them out?
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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Removing old damaged insulation


i don't think steel wool will stop them. they will just pull it out. i would use some wire mesh nailed on somehow.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:12 AM   #7
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Removing old damaged insulation


Your going to have to post a picture or the loose siding in order for us to be able to figure out how to fix it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:04 AM   #8
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Removing old damaged insulation


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Your going to have to post a picture or the loose siding in order for us to be able to figure out how to fix it.
Not loose siding, but the bottom of the corner molding. I haven't looked around, but maybe there's a siding manufacturer that makes a bottom cap. Otherwise, you may need to fab a few. Or, take the easy route and shove in some expanded metal and glue it in place.

Last edited by Seattle2k; 03-27-2012 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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Removing old damaged insulation


I bought a case of Great Stuff Pest Block for air sealing and sprayed some of it up the corner channels then added some steel wool and another squirt of the pest block. Just waiting to see if the chipmunks will chew the foam out, if they do then I will cut some pieces out from some extra siding to cap off the ends. Thanks for the great idea.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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Removing old damaged insulation


steel wool embedded in foam should keep out rodents. copper mesh is even better since it won't rust, you can find it online. For large openings you can also try hardware cloth, use broadhead screws to secure it and throw some foam on top of it.

If you are going to try air sealing your entire attic, you might want to invest in one of these:
https://www.energyresults.com/shop/p...52d-SH01-.html

The foam for the guns is more expensive than Great Stuff squirt cans at Home Depot, but the gun gives you a precise bead so you use less. You don't have to finesse the trigger like you do with the squirt cans, you just set the dial for the right size bead, then pull the trigger, so it's a lot faster. Unlike the squirt cans, when you release the trigger it stops the foam, whereas the canned stuff continues to ooze from the straw.

It's a bit of an investment, but if you have a whole lot of sealing to do ...


Last edited by M3 Pete; 04-11-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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