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Old 11-28-2008, 08:58 PM   #1
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


Hi all,

I want to make a small workshop in my attic. I'm looking to do the minimum I can get away with - new walls and whatnot are not (currently) in my plans. The problem I have is that the non-floored area has large heaps of blown fiberglass insulation on it. It gets everywhere, I feel itchy after being up there and I'm sure it isn't good for my lungs.

To combat that, I have been thinking about trying to staple some plastic over the insulation to try to keep the dust down. Because of the way the attic is laid out, I wouldn't be able to truly seal the insulation off, but I could put up some form of barrier between the insulation and my proposed work space.

I'm concerned that since the fiberglass would not be completely sealed, fiberglass dust would still be an irritant and a health hazard. Any thoughts on this?

Thank you,

Jason

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Old 11-28-2008, 09:09 PM   #2
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


I have a couple concerns with this idea.

First, the insulation is there for a reason...On the attic floor, etc. You need it and shouldn't move it without completely insulating the roof and walls. Doing that would require an HVAC system since the area is no longer ventilated to exterior air. Simply moving the insulation out of the way will result in massive heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

Second, the addition of a plastic vapor barrier all over the attic could potentially lead to moisture problems.

Third, is your attic's floor framing adequate for use as a floor? Most of the time, ceilings are framed for little live load, which disqualifies them for use as a floor.

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Old 11-28-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


I'm sorry that my description is pretty vague, but it's hard to explain what I'm hoping to do. I wasn't planning on moving the insulation or sealing it really. Perhaps a better way to think of it is that I'd have plastic walls that won't completely seal my finished space. My concern is that the lack of seal would cause the fiberglass dust to be a safety/health/irritation problem.

The attic has a floor on it already, placed there during construction for use as attic storage. I'm not planning on too much heavy stuff up there - a workshop table, a chair, and me. Do you think that would be too much of a load?

Thank you for your reply!
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:22 PM   #4
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


Quote:
Originally Posted by durdom View Post
The attic has a floor on it already, placed there during construction for use as attic storage. I'm not planning on too much heavy stuff up there - a workshop table, a chair, and me. Do you think that would be too much of a load?
I don't think anyone would be able to tell from only a description of words.
Maybe a picture would help, plans of the house would be better yet.

Im no engineer but i would think theres a difference between storing some boxs and what you want to do. Alot of people will lay down plywood in their attic to make it easyer to slide boxs around, its doesn't mean its a floor and can be used as "liveable" space.

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Old 11-29-2008, 08:05 AM   #5
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


would need to see truss layout. are they attic trusses? don't seal the floor.if it is a newer house with 2x12 bottom chord members on the trusses i would think it would already have a floor.check load etc. it is always possible.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:12 AM   #6
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


Quote:
My concern is that the lack of seal would cause the fiberglass dust to be a safety/health/irritation problem.
Ayuh,...

I think you're making much ado, about Nothing....
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:23 AM   #7
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


As far as the flooring sturcture goes, the floor joists need to be 2x8 or greater, to use that area as additional living space, or work area.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:36 PM   #8
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


durdom, another thing to consider is the insulation fibers that will get in your clothes, hair, shoes, etc. each time you go up there. When you leave the attic you'll be bringing those fibers with you and unintentionally spreading them through the house. Also, each time you open the access panel or pull-down stairs, a small amount of the fiberglass will go down into the living space below. Having your own man-cave up there would be cool, but probably not worth the mess.

It's just something to think about. The access to my attic is in the closet of my daycare playroom. Before I opened the panel to go up there, I moved all of the toys to the other side of the room so insulation wouldn't get on them. Ha! There was insulation on the toys, crib and everything else in the room. And even though the door was closed to the hallway, the fibers still worked their way under the door. All of that even though it's just batt insulation up there.
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:47 AM   #9
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


This sounds like a bad (moderator edit) idea. Setting up in exposed, blown in fiberglass makes no sense. If you can't build it so it's safe, stay out of the attic.
Ron

Last edited by Termite; 12-17-2008 at 08:17 AM. Reason: inflammatory language removed
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:20 AM   #10
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Remodeling attic & fiberglass safety


[quote=durdom;191280] My concern is that the lack of seal would cause the fiberglass dust to be a safety/health/irritation problem.
quote]

Fiberglass is an irritant, especially to your skin (itchy). Simply being around it probably won't be an issue at all, but disturbing it will cause it to become airborne and go everywhere. Remember, it isn't asbestos...It won't give you mesothelioma.

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