Adding Insulation To The Underside Of A High Ceiling - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 11-16-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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Adding insulation to the underside of a high ceiling

I have a dilemma with an old church I'm renovating: The attic has virtually no insulation & is not easily accessible in some areas in order to stuff in additional fiberglass batts.
Its been suggested that rigid foam board could be attached to the underside of the ceiling along with furring strips (1x3s) in order to attach drywall afterwards.
I'm down with that suggestion, but it still means that I'll only get an addional R-7 or so when all is said and done.
Is it possible to attach some sort framing material to the ceiling (ie 2x4's?) so as to:
a) lower the height of the ceiling a bit
b) add another R-12 with fiberglass batts
My biggest worry is additional weight this will add to the structure!
Any ideas or alternative options out there? (but please do not suggest icky dropped ceiling w/accoutic panels - it just looks cheesy)
Maybe a dumb question but are metal studs a lighter weight option instead of wood for this?
PS: we will be putting in steel rods to the expanse between the walls to add more structural support.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:23 PM   #2
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This sounds like a great time to call an insulation expert. It may be possible to completely fill the vaulted ceiling rafter pockets with foam.

Look for an insulation contractor that does foam insulation.--MIKE--


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Old 11-16-2009, 10:34 PM   #3
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I would contact a Structural Engineer to evaluate the structure, or a Contractor, at least. Before you furr the ceiling, is the roof system rafters or trusses? If rafters, the collar ties are not made to hold the walls from spreading, rafter ties serve that purpose. A little background for you, page #39:

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Old 11-17-2009, 07:52 AM   #4
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You mention adding "additional" insulation, so I am assuming there is some insulation in place now. Before you add anything below that existing insulation, you need to know if there is a vapor retarder in place. If so, you do not want to end up with it somewhere in the middle of an insulation system. Depending on construction details, you would likely be much farther ahead, financially at least, to blow added insulation in on top of the existing.

You also mention adding steel rods to tie the walls. Like Gary, I'd recommend a structural engineer to look at your options before you go about that. That could look as cheesy as a drop ceiling, but at least an engineer will tell you where to put them and what size they need to be.

Last edited by Maintenance 6; 11-17-2009 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:01 AM   #5
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Insulation & removing ceiling to install you pay for once
Heating/cooling you pay for every year
Well worth it to take the proper steps to put the required insulation in place

Where is the Church located ?
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for input guys...!

To GBR: Now I've been reading all night about rafter ties, roof spread, bowing walls & other nightmares etc. (Yikes!)
I think the metal rod(s) could act as a modified rafter tie if placed correctly... you see them alot in similar buildings like this.
PS: I will be having some structural improvements in another area of the room after talking to an engineer last month. I find it wierd he didn't suggest beefing up things with rafter ties(?), but a local builder I know has done the steel cable thing in another large building. I think I should go big - or go home - and do both the structural work and the added cable/rod system.
O'Mike: I am trying to look into spray in foam insulation quote.
Maintenance 6: Vapour barrier? no such luck!...gotta get that put in too. (Thanks for bring it up tho)
Scuba Dave: yah, i'm with you, the costs will be recovered eventually in lower heating bills (maybe in my lifetime)
PS: I'm up here Manitoba, Canada (keep driving north from Fargo, ND)
Thanks guys - any suggestions/ input/advise appreciated!
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:02 PM   #7
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Sounds to me like you have a good bit of common sense.(and an above average grasp of things mechanical!)

Keep us updated as you move the project along.--MIKE--


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