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Old 05-12-2010, 06:40 AM   #1
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attic into closet/storage??


On my 2nd floor I have an attic space in a gable end of my house that is accessible via a door from an upstairs bedroom. I am wanting to somewhat finish this space off for storage and a sort of walk-in-closet space. I am also planning on using a corner for a future 2nd floor furnace room.

My goal for the finish job is most likely knee walls along the sides where the roof slopes down and then doing some sort of built in drawers into those knee walls. I probably won't use any drywall, unless recommended, for the walls and ceilings I'm thinking of some sort of cedar. Either chipboard or tongue and groove bead board.

My main question is insulating this space. I can handle the floor and wall(s), that's pretty straight forward. My main question is regarding the ceiling/roof line. The south side has no roof vents, but the north side has two roof vents, which if need be could be filled in and shingled over fairly easily. I'm just not sure what I should do. Those two roof vents are the only vents for this portion of my attic and my plan is to use this entire space for the closet/storage area.

Here are a few of my thoughts, if any would work....
1) Eliminating the North facing roof vents and just installing 3-1/2" fiberglass batting or cellulose to the underside of my "trusses", then installing my chipboard or bead board over that. I would also then use cellulose or batting behind the knee walls to fill any voids.
2) Leaving the roof vents, possibly adding 2 more facing south and/or adding a ridge vent, then using foam baffles and install them to the underside of my roof then install batting on the underside of those followed by the chipboard/bead board. I'd then leave a void/channel behind the knee walls to allow air trapped in there to get into the foam baffles. I probably should also point out, the roof's sheathing isn't attached directly to the 2x4 trusses. I still have 1"X strips, spaced several inches apart, running perpendicular to the the trusses, then the sheathing is nailed to that. Point being air would somewhat flow over and between the top of the trusses. Problem I see here is that I have no good way to get air flowing into the bottom of channel, which would be behind the knee walls. I would think that would allow for condensation.
3) Possibly using rigid foam ripped to fit between the trusses, effectively using it instead of the batting as in option #1 or even installing it similar to the foam baffles in option #2.

This is a 1915 Bungalow with 2x4 "trusses" and rafter tails, so soffit vents aren't possible.

Any other suggestions?? Thanks in advance....

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Old 05-12-2010, 07:04 AM   #2
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attic into closet/storage??


First you state that the floor is simple... not so..... The most critical part of this is to airseal the floor perfectly. Or fiberglass insulation if used is useless. Every penetration must be sealed with caulking or spray foam. The access must be insulated and sealed. do some more research on this process so you do not miss anything. The attic should be brought into the building envelope for what you intend to do. As such you do not need to vent the roof. Spray foam the rafters is your only correct solution to get sufficient insulation to prevent water damage from moisture entering from ice dams.

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Old 05-12-2010, 07:35 AM   #3
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attic into closet/storage??


The reason I say the floor is simple is because this is a gable end, which is on the same level as my 2nd floor. Entry is through a standard door and most of this is over current living space, with a little being over front porch. I plan on using spray foam to seal where the roof deck meets the top plate of the wall. I will use cellulose in the floor joist bay over the porch.
part of the reason I wish to do this project is because it is currently not very isolated from the current building envelope.
you mention spray foaming the rafters. I'll look into that, but I seriously doubt it's going to fit into a reasonabl budget on this. Unless one of the DIY kits will cover it. Would cellulose blown in as I install the ceiling do a good/comprable job?
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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not really. It will be okay since you are just using it for storage, but the issue is that the roof rafters are too small to get enough insulation in to prevent ice dams and this will be an issue if you eliminate the ventilation.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:25 PM   #5
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not really. It will be okay since you are just using it for storage, but the issue is that the roof rafters are too small to get enough insulation in to prevent ice dams and this will be an issue if you eliminate the ventilation.
What R-value would you recommend? I'm in South Central Kansas.

I don't doubt the spray would be better, I just don't think it fits my budget, unless like I say, I can get a DIY kit for reasonable that would work.

The reason I ask about R-value is that I'm wondering if I could do cellulose between the rafters and then place a layer of rigid foam under that. Just an idea. I'll look into it more, thanks for the incite!
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:22 PM   #6
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attic into closet/storage??


All DIY spray kits are about the same cost. About a dollar/sq ft. Send my your email by PM and I can send you some docs to review what to watch for.

Airsealing the floor and adding blown loose cellulose costs about $700 plus around 17 hours of labor on the average.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:22 AM   #7
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All DIY spray kits are about the same cost. About a dollar/sq ft. Send my your email by PM and I can send you some docs to review what to watch for.

Airsealing the floor and adding blown loose cellulose costs about $700 plus around 17 hours of labor on the average.
I am sending a PM and do appreciate it very much.

As for airsealing, let me make sure I understand what you are referring to. I plan to go around and spray foam or caulk any areas where the top plate of exterior walls meet the roof rafters and roof lines as I can see gaps in those areas. 90% of this attic space floor is over existing living space, which has about 15" of blown cellulose. I plan on most likely leaving most of that in place, unless that's a bad idea. There is no vapor or moisture barrier in place, so I don't see why it would be any worse than adding cellose or something for sound deading. If wrong please advise.

Over the front porch, which accounts for about 10% of my floor space in this area, I'll blow cellulose insulation in before putting down my floor decking.

On the exterior walls, which are just clap board siding nailed directly to the studs. I'm told by an inspector and a contractor that I don't need a vapor or moisture barrier, but I plan on using batt insulation on the walls with the craft paper facing in. Before doing this, I'll caulk any gaps in the siding and I'm spray foaming around any opening such as a window or where two walls or roof and wall meets.

FWI...I was told that about the vapor/moisture barrier, when I inquired about blowing insulation into my walls for the rest of the house as there isn't anything there now. They just said caulk everything very well. My siding is cedar clap board.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:48 PM   #8
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attic into closet/storage??


Dense-packed (3.5 lbs/sq ft) will provide air sealing in the walls, loose fill will not. With no air barrier, batt insulation is near useless. In your case it is more commonly called "filterglass" since it will only filter the dust and moisture and not provide much R-Value. Without perfect air sealing, batt insulation is just plain bad.
The attic.... you need to remove the old insulation then air seal then you can place the old and some new if you want back in the same location. Loose fill does nothing to air seal. You need to spray foam every penetration. Recessed lights, fans, electrical, pluming, chimney, wall partitions, duct work. See docs for a better pic of this work. Utility companies will often pay for or at least rebate you for this work if done by a BPI certified energy auditor. Federal tax credits will rebate 30% of the material costs this year and up to $30,000 next year. The wall separating the porch roof and the main house is another common area that is built wrong and provides another bad air leak area. Be sure to fill this completely with cellulose to limit this leakage.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:20 PM   #9
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attic into closet/storage??


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Federal tax credits will rebate 30% of the material costs this year and up to $30,000 next year.
Is there something new that has passed ?
The limit so far is $5000 spent for a $1500 Tax credit & that ends Dec 31st 2010
That is combined for insulation, windows/doors, roofs, heating/HVAC, biomass stoves & water heaters

There is a 30% credit for Geothermal, Wind & Solar energy without an upper limit thru 2016

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...edits.tx_index
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:29 PM   #10
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attic into closet/storage??


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Is there something new that has passed ?
The limit so far is $5000 spent for a $1500 Tax credit & that ends Dec 31st 2010
That is combined for insulation, windows/doors, roofs, heating/HVAC, biomass stoves & water heaters

There is a 30% credit for Geothermal, Wind & Solar energy without an upper limit thru 2016

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...edits.tx_index
Home Star passed the house yesterday! By a big margin. Fairly easy in the Senate. This will pay this much for Gold Star program, which can only be done by a certified energy auditor. Meaning do it right and get the rebates. But the Silver Program will pay a good portion of the retro-fit material costs for DIYers also.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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Home Star passed the house yesterday! By a big margin. Fairly easy in the Senate. This will pay this much for Gold Star program, which can only be done by a certified energy auditor. Meaning do it right and get the rebates. But the Silver Program will pay a good portion of the retro-fit material costs for DIYers also.
Thanks, I was hoping something new would pass
1st I had heard of this
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:56 PM   #12
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attic into closet/storage??


check for state and utility programs. My average job for residences is about $2000 without HVAC. Homeowner only pays $75. And that is only the utility payout in CT. About 9 states have excellent programs.
And most have low or no interest loans for major retro-fits that are paid by the utility companies or your property taxes Here we get a 30,000 loan, no interest no security loan.

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