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Old 07-18-2009, 09:26 PM   #1
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


I know, infamous DIY last words... but how hideous of a project is it? We have an attic crawl space with no attic flooring. The home was built in '75, so odds are high that the insualtion is insufficient... It tends to be very warm on the 2nd floor in the summer, and very cool throughout the home in the winter... We have a new and strong attic fan... so I'm thinking that a good deal of our probelm is with insufficient attic insulation...

I've never gone up there... but how horrible of a project could it be? (backbreaking becuase it's in a crawl space? itchy (even if I wore proper PPE) becuase it would be fiberglass insulation without paper backing?

anyone done it themselves and thought never again? Or did you think it was a do-able 1 day project for 2 people? We would probably tackle this project in the late fall, when it's no longer sweltering hot up there.

after spending the day demo'ing the side stoop, I'm a little apprehensive to even think about another DIY project since this one's time frame enlarged from 2 days to 4 .

thanks for your input!

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:42 PM   #2
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


Not sure how much space you will have to move around. Always support you weight on the ceiling joists for one. Saving energy is always a good thing.$$$ I don't find fiberglass to be too irritating, just take a shower afterward.

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:50 PM   #3
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


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I've never gone up there...
Step one

In the older part of my house (built in 1945ish) i added insulation over this past winter. The roof is 4/12 with no soffits (has very little slop - little attic space). In the middle of the attic it is about 3-4 foot high, im 6' 3"ish.
I got it done, was not happy about it, but it did not kill me.

I slide acouple short peices (about 2' wide 3-4' foot long) of plywood up first, pushed up a bunch of insulation and moved around on my stomic sliding the plywood over the ceiling "rafters" so i would not end up in the living room the hard way. The house is 20x40 and it took around two 3 hour session. I also wore a mask, long paints and shirt.

I started at the edge of the house first.
Being the house does not have any soffits, i pushed the insulation as close to the edges as i could. If you house does have soffits, eve-over hangs, you do not want to do that, you will cut off the air ciculration in the attic and thats not good. If you do have soffits you probly want to staple up some vent baffles.

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


that's what I'm curious about too. I really have to poke my head up there and take a look around. We have the usual NY suburban roofline... I think a 30 degree pitch? We'd definitely bring several sheets of plywood up. I don't trust my balance enough to merely stand on the joists.

good to know you didn't find the whole fiberglass thing to be too irritating.... I was concerned it would be dispite proper clothing / mask /gloves....

thanks!
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:02 PM   #5
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


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We'd definitely bring several sheets of plywood up.
You might want to watch out for that, too much weight.
If its a "crawl space" like you say, more then likly when it was built, it was not built to hold alot of weight.

My is made from true dimension 2x4's (really 2" x 4" not 1-1/2 x 3-1/2), even if i could i would not put full sheets up there, also it would be hard to maneuver around since its such a small space.

Just some food for thought.

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Old 07-18-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


thanks imisspell... yeah, I already read that about accidentally blocking ventilation. I'm reading up on it, but I'm currently so consumed by our other home projects that I've been putting this idea on the back burner in spite of the obvious energy and $ savings

I'm currently trying to psych myself up with this thread by determining the DIY feasability.... (others did it, so can we!)

The major psychological hurdle is me actually GOING into the attic and assessing the situation first hand! (in other words, enter stage 0 of yet another major DIY project). This is over the main portion of the house, so it's likely a very large space... I'm guessing at least 1200 sq ft... one of the major reasons I'm even scared to look up there

My husband just loves all of these projects we do
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:09 PM   #7
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


I suggest you price around with a few local companies that specialize in doing blown in isulation. I found an outfit that did it for about what I priced I could do it myself (buying materials, borrowed blower machine, etc.). And they did a better job that what I would have done. They were in and out in a couple three hours - two with a big truck and super duty blower machine.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:10 PM   #8
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


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You might want to watch out for that, too much weight.
If its a "crawl space" like you say, more then likly when it was built, it was not built to hold alot of weight.

My is made from true dimension 2x4's (really 2" x 4" not 1-1/2 x 3-1/2), even if i could i would not put full sheets up there, also it would be hard to maneuver around since its such a small space.

Just some food for thought.

_
well, I was going to cut them in half. yeah, there's no way a full sheet would even fit through the entrance. It's just a simple square opening in the bedroom closet ceiling... roughly the size of 1-2 rectangular ceiling tiles...... I've got to check the wood dimensions... I believe it's 2" x 4", but not sure if that's true dimension or std 1-1/2 x 3-1/2
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:14 PM   #9
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


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I suggest you price around with a few local companies that specialize in doing blown in isulation. I found an outfit that did it for about what I priced I could do it myself (buying materials, borrowed blower machine, etc.). And they did a better job that what I would have done. They were in and out in a couple three hours - two with a big truck and super duty blower machine.

hmmm... REALLY?! well, I will definitely check out that option. I will first pop my head into the attic, however. Mainly becuase I want to see the insulation job myself. (was it done properly, how deep is the fiberglass insulation... the basics) once I do, I'll likely price that out.

I'm a DIY'er becuase I don't have a lot of $... it's definitely not out of pride of personal workmanship... I'm lazy I would love nothing more than to hire a pro for the same cost as a DIY (and any pro that is the real deal surely would do a better job than we could anyway!)
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:18 PM   #10
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


Are you doing blown-in or fiberglass batts/rolls?
I always put wood up to walk across
A 4x8 sheet of plywood you could cut in 3rds = 16" strips
If your attic is not high enough you may not be able to fit even a 16" x 8' long piece of plywood up there

I start at the furthest area away from the opening & work my way back to the opening
I leave the wood up there in case I need it again
Wear a mask - attics tend to be dusty
Fiberglass doesn't bother me - I take a cold shower after - NOT hot/warm

I also install a light or two up there if it doesn't have one
Verify what you have for joists up in the attic
If its filled up to the top of the joists many people then roll out insulation across the joists

Keep receipts - insulation & other energy saving purchases (not labor) are good for a 30% Tax deduction 2009 thru 2010, Max up to $1500 back

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Old 07-18-2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


oh yeah! you're right. I bet 8' is too long. 3rds huh? ok. Thanks...

If we do it ourselves, we'd do fiberglass batting (w/o paper backing becuase I read somewhere that you only put batting without paper on top of paperbacked batting? not sure why...)

I would definitely hang some lights up there and wear a mask. I would never work with fiberglass w/o a mask. The free floating fibers are just a wee bit larger than asbestos, and still have the potential to do some serious lung damage. I took a pathology class a decade ago, and they discussed at length how physicians/gov't were debating at the time about restricting fiberglass useage becuase of its asbestos-like qualities.

we unfortunately won't likely get any additional $ back on our tax return from this project... I think there's a 1500 max on home improvements. we're already replacing our windows. However, there likely would be substantial energy savings in the winter! if they extend the tax credit to 2010, I would delay the project and tack it on that year's return
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:58 PM   #12
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


Yes - no paper when adding insulation
The paper acts as a vapor barrier & you only want 1 barrier

The tax refund is for 2009 AND 2010 together
$1500 MAX for the 2 years total
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:05 PM   #13
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


I recently went up my attic for the first time and it's not too bad. I found that the easiest way was to use two broom sticks laid perpendicular to the joyces and then feel in the insulation for where the next one is and put knees there, and end of toes should go against next joyces so it holds your weight fully, and not the drywall. To get a better idea of where the joyces are just look above for the diagnal part and where it meets at the soffit area.

Bring a flashlight at least, it's dark! I'd even install some lights if I was to go in there often.

Also make sure you eat a good meal before. Insulation looks like cotton candy and it's very tempting... :p
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:10 PM   #14
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


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Yes - no paper when adding insulation
The paper acts as a vapor barrier & you only want 1 barrier

The tax refund is for 2009 AND 2010 together
$1500 MAX for the 2 years total
oh boo! that ruins that idea.... oh well

oh the paper is a vapor barrier? ok, well that makes sense then. I'm really curious what's up there now. I will take a peek as soon as I recover from my masonry aches and pains
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:54 AM   #15
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how hard could it be to add extra attic insulation?


Menards sells a really nice 25.00 light with 3 AA batteries that straps to your head and will make a world of difference even with existing lighting up there. Gloves will also help you from picking up splinters and don't bump your head on the ceiling as there may be nails pointing downward.

Just for balance only and not hanging your full weight upon there is a lot of woodwork up there to help you navigate your way around.

At least check check it out....

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