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johnsag49 09-23-2009 03:51 PM

Insulating a 1 & a Half Story Cape - Help!
My wife and I recently purchased a 50s era Cape Cod with very little insulation to speak of. What little is left is a poor patchwork of balsa-wool kraft-backed insulation between the roof joists in the two side crawlspaces. The house is a "story and a half," so the 2nd floor rooms take up most of the attic space, leaving me no real way to see the condition of the insulation (if there is any) above the 2nd floor ceiling.

We're planning to replace the roof in the spring, but until then I'd like to insulate as best I can before winter. I've been reading what I can online, but have seen some conflicting information. What type of insulation should I use, backed, not backed, loose-fill? Should I insulate all the empty space under the floorboards (if possible,) or just focus on the exposed areas in the crawlspaces? Should I attempt insulate the roof, even though i'll be getting a new roof next year? If so, how do I get to the top of the ceiling area covered up by the room? I've also heard you can insulate all the walls around the 2nd floor instead of the roof area... is that something to look in to?

Thanks all for your help!

mpepin 09-30-2009 10:44 PM

Concentrate on the kneewalls in the 2nd floor rooms AND the floor joists in the small attic space behind the kneewalls. Insulation and air-ceiling must go together, make sure you caulk all seams and spray-foam every gap and hole before you place and insulation. If you can afford it, spray-foam the entire space (with icynene or similar) as that will insulate and air-seal at the same time.

Also, you should be able to see if there's insulation in the sloped ceiling by going intot he small attic space and shining a flashlight up along the rafters toward the peak. If it's not insulated, there's no easy fix. You could always add insulation on top when you re-roof in the spring!

Gary in WA 09-30-2009 11:04 PM

Mike, second time I agree with you, we're on a roll.

You'd have to pull the ceiling drywall to access the rake ceilings for cellulose:
Be safe, Gary

johnsag49 10-01-2009 06:52 AM

RE: attic insulation
5 Attachment(s)
Hey guys, thanks for the reply. I wanted to show you some pictures of the areas in question. As you can see, much of the old basal wool insulation is intact. Some of it (near the entrances to the crawlspaces) is gone and should probably be patched. I can access all the area under the floors, which I would like to insulate with either cellulose or regular fiberglass.

2 questions: between the floors: faced or unfaced? and how do I handle holes and areas where ducts come in and out?

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