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Old 02-05-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


I have an unventilated attic and am told that there should be no vapor retarder in the ceiling for this setup. I've got a dropped ceiling and would like to make it airtight to stop vapor movement by air leaks. I thought about gluing the panels but then I wondered if tyvek housewrap would work as all I really need is an air barrier.

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Old 02-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #2
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


Is there no insulation in this attic?

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


Tyvek is an air barrier only; NOT a moisture barrier. If you do this moisture will move to the attic space. This is why it should always be installed on the unconditioned cold side of a wall system ( where it should only be used). It will allow any moisture in the walls to escape to the outside while stopping air movement into the house.
Even if the attic is unventilated you should insulate it correctly. First get up there and seal the leaks by hand with caulk, sprayfoam and R10 pink foamboard paying attention to top plates of walls; sealing nonexistant top plates of gable walls with foamboard and foam, any penetrations of your attic space from below, and any attic bypasses like duct chases, plumbing vents, etc. Use caution sealing around light cans and chimney chases (ask if you need more info) as the items you need to seal them have to be noncombustible. This is the way to seal an attic from airleaks. Next cover everything with the correct amount of cellulose for your area and you will have no problems at all.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:08 PM   #4
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


Ack..Just realized you have a dropped ceiling. Is there nothing but thin leaky ceiling tiles separating your living space from the cold attic? If theres some drywall or old plaster there you are good to go following the above info...if not then.. i dont know, Id almost put up drywall to make a separation or condition the attic space and insulate along the rafters which is a whole different story.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:55 AM   #5
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


There are batts between the rafters. crevices are sealed. There used to be visqueen above the dropped ceiling but moisture was getting trapped that way. There is nothing between the dropped ceiling and the rafters. Drywall would make a good air barrier if put up tightly - not easy. It would be easier to keep the dropped ceiling and find another way to make an air barrier. So far, I can think of sealing the dropped ceiling panels into the grid or placing tyvek above it.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:52 AM   #6
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


Thing is that the thermal barrier AND the air barrier should be closely aligned with no gaps. Otherwise the insulation wont work correctly. It makes no sense for you to have an air barrier at the ceiling but insulation only in the rafters. If that is where the insulation is, then that is the only place where the air barrier should be. You should fully bring the attic into the conditioned space since its halfway there already. Make an air barrier along the rafters, maintain an air gap where needed btw the fiberglass and the sheathing. If drywalling is too much then use 2 inch pink foamboard caulked and nailed to the rafters. If you tape or foam all seams that will be a good air barrier. You could then put up plywood after that for good measure. So in the end your thermal and air barriers will be aligned and work together.
I did this myself last month for a side attic used as a storage area and it works.
Again putting tyvek on the tlles is really the wrong thing to do.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:21 PM   #7
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tyvek housewrap in the ceiling


foamboard is a vapor retarder so I'm hesitant. It would put me back to where I was with visqueen. My belief is that that the attic space needs to breathe to the interior. It cannot breathe to the exterior becuase of the roof membrane and putting another vapor retarder above the ceiling would create a double vapor barrier. Drywall breathes and can be an air barrier if done right. Keeping the suspended ceiling would be the easiest if I could make it airtight. Vapor retarders are quite a contentious issue and many folks think visqueen is a must above the ceiling but lately newer ideas are circulating about unvented attic assemblies that dry to the interior.

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