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Any insulation experts in the house?

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Any insulation experts in the house?

Old 11-07-05, 02:22 PM
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Any insulation experts in the house?

Our house was built in 1969 and there is no insulation in the exterior walls. I called for a quote and the guy wanted to check the attic first.

He said that 60% of all heat/cold escapes through the attic and that 20% escapes through the walls.

We have two layers of rolled insulation in the attic. A little while after we moved in I decided to throw some plywood up there so we could store some stuff (which turned out to be A LOT of stuff). Well when he seen all this "stuff" and the plywood he said that was the worst thing you can do to your attic. He said it would be best if I could take EVERYTHING out and store it elsewhere (including the plywood).

Now, he told me the reason at the time but I can't for the life of me remember why it was bad to have crap up there. He suggested to blow an additional 6"-8" of fiberglass (not cellulose) insulation in the attic.

Now, he said he's been in the busines for 25 years and that a lot of companies will blow cellulose in the attic but he doesn't agree with that. He does say to spray cellulose in the exterior walls but says that fiberglass in the attic is much better.

What are the thoughts about this?

Thanks
Old 11-07-05, 02:32 PM
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No matter how hungry you get.....don't eat it. Cotton candy it is NOT.

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Old 11-07-05, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the advice!
Old 11-07-05, 02:51 PM
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The plywood is probably bad because it crushes the insulation. When it gets crushed it looses it effectiveness. How thick is the insulation right now? What size joists are up there? 2x4, 2x6....? You could easily just roll out the pink stuff yourself.
Old 11-07-05, 03:06 PM
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Not sure on the joist size. My quess would be 2x6 without going and looking.. We already have two rolls in between each joist. How much should there be??
Old 11-07-05, 03:11 PM
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Its bad to compress insulation. Hopefully you didn't compress it too much. It varies by climate but I think a R50 is recommended for a attic. Most homes probably have a R20. if that... R50 would be like 12" of insulation( I think)
Old 11-07-05, 03:20 PM
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http://www.owenscorning.com/around/i...ationhome.asp#
Old 11-07-05, 03:34 PM
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I can control my diabetes with diet so I don't need insulation.
Old 11-07-05, 03:41 PM
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Yeah, your mama's so fat, when she jumps up in the air she gets stuck.

Oh wait, that's INSULTation.
Old 11-07-05, 06:25 PM
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Insulation works by isolating little air spaces. If you compress it, it works worse than not compressed. So you want just enough to fill the available (big) air space, and divide it into thousands of little airspaces.

The total square footage of the attic may be more than the exterior walls, but not by a ratio like 3:1. You want to insulate the walls as much as you can. If you have normal 2 x 4 studs in the wall, you can only put in 3.5 inches, whatever R value that gives you.

In the ceiling, the joists are usually more than 2 x 4 (unless you have engineered trusses). You should certainly put in enough (total) to match the thickness of the joist. If you want plywood on top of the joist, to store stuff, that is the limit. Those joists in the ceiling may not be thick enough to support a big load up there. Compare them to the joists in your floor (check from basement). If the ceiling joists are thinner, they can't support a "normal floor load." Other than that, I don't see a huge problem with stuff up there. However, if you don't put plywood on top, the insulation in the attic could be thicker than the joists.

Surfaces that have NO insulation lose a lot of heat (just like you when you stand outside with exposed skin), Better to have a little insulation EVERYWHERE than none in some places, lots in others. You can wear the heaviest parka in the world, but if butt naked from the waist down, you'll still be damn cold. That analogy works for your house too. Insulate the walls, then debate whether you need more in the attic.
Old 11-07-05, 06:48 PM
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Hmm. That's weird because it's almost the exact opposite of what he said.. And the walls are more expensive so you'd think he'd want to do them.

It was $1,200 for the walls and $400 for the attic.
Old 11-07-05, 07:45 PM
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Max insulation that will fit in a 2
x4 stud wall is R-15. If the walls are already up, it is a pain to insulate them which is probably why he recommended simply insulating the attic. I suppose you could blow insulation into the walls but I don't have any experience dealing with that so I don't know the pros and cons.
Old 11-07-05, 07:50 PM
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If you know the dimensions of your house, you can estimate total area of walls vs ceiling. For walls, take total perimeter (2* length + 2*width, if a rectangle) x height (say 8' for 1 story, 16' for two-story). For ceiling, take length x width. Compare.

Probably the ceiling is somewhat bigger. If walls and ceiling have EQUAL insullation, the ratio of square footage is the ratio of heat loss. If walls and ceiling have different r-values, divide by r-values first and compare. (The plasterboard, outside sheathing and outside surface, whether brick or siding, provide some R-value. It is not just the insulation. But I don't know those numbers of the top of my head. It is small, but not completely negligible, compared to the insulation R-value.

How are your windows? On square footage basis, windows lose a lot of heat. If you don't have double pane glass or storm windows, or if they are not well caulked, they may be your biggest loss.
Old 11-07-05, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
How are your windows? On square footage basis, windows lose a lot of heat. If you don't have double pane glass or storm windows, or if they are not well caulked, they may be your biggest loss.
Totally agree (not that I ever disagree with OldDude).

I recently bought a house built in '76. The insulation look "ok" but I have single pane windows. No doubt, I will do something with the windows before anything major with insulation.
Old 11-07-05, 09:50 PM
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We got brand new windows installed last year so those are good to go..
Old 11-07-05, 10:17 PM
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Blown in insulation is a pain because they have to drill a hole into the exterior wall every 18 inches horizontally (between each stud) and on either side of any divider vertically. Depending on what your exterior walls are made of, all those plugs may cause problems. My father had blown-in insulation on his old house, and he finally had to install vinyl siding to cover all the plugs. A stucco house would need a full stucco job.

At least you have an attic. I have an 1960s flat-roof house without even crawl space. The only way I'll ever get more insulation up there is to remove the roof first.
Old 03-16-06, 09:07 AM
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Ok. I have recently installed an attic ladder in my garage and have moved about half of the stuff over from the original attic. I am now thinking about blowing in the insulation myself but wanted some opinions..

Home Depot has some thing when you buy X amount of bags of blown in insulation they let you use the machine for free. I'm thinking of doing this instead of paying the $400 to get it blown in.. Question is.. How much do I put in? I wouldn't think it's hard but has anyone ever done it?


Last edited by tbird2340; 03-16-06 at 09:10 AM.
Old 03-16-06, 10:05 AM
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Old 03-16-06, 11:03 AM
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my cousin is a contractor and at least around here he says for some reason insullation contractors are cheaper than buying the insultation yourself.

they must buy it in bulk or something.

i am in the process of redoing my house. i did a materials list for insullation and then got a quote from a company. sure enough, the company was cheaper then my insullation was from home depot and a local building supply.
Old 03-16-06, 11:06 AM
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Yea, I was going to price it first but needed to know how much to get.
Old 03-16-06, 05:09 PM
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The plywood may have been bad because it can act a vapour barrier. Since you had it on the wrong side (the cold side), you'd have condensation forming in the insulation.

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