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Old 01-24-2013, 02:11 PM   #1
Linesider82
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Attic Insulation

Just completed blow-in attic insulation in my house. Specifically Owens Corning AttiCat fiberglass blow-in through home depot.

The house attic area is comprised of two parts, 1. the main original house with an average of 3-4" of original deteriorated faced batting insulation which came out to 1320 sqft of space. 2. A 2001 addition which was well insulated with aprx. 16" depth of insulation. Which was 700sqft of attic space.

My goal was to add some insulation to the addition area to seal obvious gaps in the addition's attic area, and to completely insulate the original attic space of 1320sqft to bring the rating to R60 value. I wanted to use blow-in for the ease of application and I also wanted it to be fiberglass to prohibit mold growth (which a paper insulation option would allow if moisture intrusion).

Prep. Work
1. Both bathroom fans did not vent to the outside, amazing right? I had to buy hoses, clamps, and exterior vent caps for each, & a 4" hole saw for handdrill to bring the hoses outside.
2. Recessed lighting, although all of the recessed lighting in the house was rated as self insulating, I could still see gaps of light down into the rooms below. I purchased heat rated domes at $15.00/ piece for 11 lights to cover each light. They are oblong and I utilized the longer side to fit secured between the ceiling joists.
3. Bathroom fans, microwave exhaust fan, electrical boxes. Basically everything that is electrical or generates its own heat needs a 3" barrier between it and your insulation. For this I purchased a roll of heat barrier (not cheap) but it allowed me to cut to size and utilize the ceiling joists again to create a "box" around these items and cut around hoses/wiring to accommodate the larger size than that of the recessed lighting boxes.
4. attic ladder. For most houses, there is a ladder for the attic that is the jacob's ladder style that folds... not my house, it is the one piece and extends into the attic. Essentially I build a "coffin" around it out of cheap 1"x3"x8' poplar for the frame, 1/4" ply to face it on the inside, then a roof out of the rigid foam doubled up and held together with 8" thru bolts secured to furring strips. the "coffin" was 2.5' wide by 12' long, and the rigid foam roof can simply be pushed up and to the side if electrical maintainance is needed. I also used unfaced batts to insulate the frame of this box and simply stapled it to the poplar frame.
5. Eve vent insulating, I installed roof rafter channel vents between each set of rafters to the eve vent area. the eve vent holes were spaced about 4' on center but I did not want any blow in insulation to enter the eve area space that spans the length of the house, so I used faced insulation cut into 10" wide strips and pushed it into the space between each roof rafter and abutting the underside of the channel vents, to block off the space where the blow-in insulation could enter the eve area.

Insulation time
This was by far the easiest part. From the Depot in store purchase only, I got atticcat blow-in and needed aprx. 34 bags by estimate of sqft/R60 rating based on how much insulation I already had. You get a free rental of the blow-in unit with purchase of 10 bails of this product. With myself in the attic, and a friend loading the machine outside, I was able to insulate about 1500 sqft to min. 20" depth in 3.5 hours. You get the unit that chews up half a bail at a time & 100' of hose, which shoots it out of the business end about 10' meaning you won't have to squeeze into the tight spots.

So, the majority of my time was spent on prep work as listed above.

Total cost of everything to install was $1700 including beer.

HD quoted me at $3700 for them to install it at R60 rating and do everything I listed above, minus the beer. Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out, saved a lot of $ by doing it myself (with volunteer friends) and will save even more in my oil bill for years to come. Also, the home insulation 10% tax credit (at least for CT was extended to 2013)
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linesider82 View Post
Just completed blow-in attic insulation in my house. Specifically Owens Corning AttiCat fiberglass blow-in through home depot.

The house attic area is comprised of two parts, 1. the main original house with an average of 3-4" of original deteriorated faced batting insulation which came out to 1320 sqft of space. 2. A 2001 addition which was well insulated with aprx. 16" depth of insulation. Which was 700sqft of attic space.

My goal was to add some insulation to the addition area to seal obvious gaps in the addition's attic area, and to completely insulate the original attic space of 1320sqft to bring the rating to R60 value. I wanted to use blow-in for the ease of application and I also wanted it to be fiberglass to prohibit mold growth (which a paper insulation option would allow if moisture intrusion).

Prep. Work
1. Both bathroom fans did not vent to the outside, amazing right? I had to buy hoses, clamps, and exterior vent caps for each, & a 4" hole saw for handdrill to bring the hoses outside.
2. Recessed lighting, although all of the recessed lighting in the house was rated as self insulating, I could still see gaps of light down into the rooms below. I purchased heat rated domes at $15.00/ piece for 11 lights to cover each light. They are oblong and I utilized the longer side to fit secured between the ceiling joists.
3. Bathroom fans, microwave exhaust fan, electrical boxes. Basically everything that is electrical or generates its own heat needs a 3" barrier between it and your insulation. For this I purchased a roll of heat barrier (not cheap) but it allowed me to cut to size and utilize the ceiling joists again to create a "box" around these items and cut around hoses/wiring to accommodate the larger size than that of the recessed lighting boxes.
4. attic ladder. For most houses, there is a ladder for the attic that is the jacob's ladder style that folds... not my house, it is the one piece and extends into the attic. Essentially I build a "coffin" around it out of cheap 1"x3"x8' poplar for the frame, 1/4" ply to face it on the inside, then a roof out of the rigid foam doubled up and held together with 8" thru bolts secured to furring strips. the "coffin" was 2.5' wide by 12' long, and the rigid foam roof can simply be pushed up and to the side if electrical maintainance is needed. I also used unfaced batts to insulate the frame of this box and simply stapled it to the poplar frame.
5. Eve vent insulating, I installed roof rafter channel vents between each set of rafters to the eve vent area. the eve vent holes were spaced about 4' on center but I did not want any blow in insulation to enter the eve area space that spans the length of the house, so I used faced insulation cut into 10" wide strips and pushed it into the space between each roof rafter and abutting the underside of the channel vents, to block off the space where the blow-in insulation could enter the eve area.

Insulation time
This was by far the easiest part. From the Depot in store purchase only, I got atticcat blow-in and needed aprx. 34 bags by estimate of sqft/R60 rating based on how much insulation I already had. You get a free rental of the blow-in unit with purchase of 10 bails of this product. With myself in the attic, and a friend loading the machine outside, I was able to insulate about 1500 sqft to min. 20" depth in 3.5 hours. You get the unit that chews up half a bail at a time & 100' of hose, which shoots it out of the business end about 10' meaning you won't have to squeeze into the tight spots.

So, the majority of my time was spent on prep work as listed above.

Total cost of everything to install was $1700 including beer.

HD quoted me at $3700 for them to install it at R60 rating and do everything I listed above, minus the beer. Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out, saved a lot of $ by doing it myself (with volunteer friends) and will save even more in my oil bill for years to come. Also, the home insulation 10% tax credit (at least for CT was extended to 2013)
Excellent, I might need to buy some blown in myself next year good to know.

Bent Rods and Screaming Reels!

Spot NAZI
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:08 PM   #3
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The HD yard sticks I used to fill to a certain depth of insulation.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Great add some AIRSEALING and you would have seen even more difference.
Google Airsealing and you can find lots of information. The great thing about it is that it is labor intensive = little materials more labor and great for homeowner who have time but not much money.

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Old 01-24-2013, 05:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pete F. View Post
Great add some AIRSEALING and you would have seen even more difference.
Google Airsealing and you can find lots of information. The great thing about it is that it is labor intensive = little materials more labor and great for homeowner who have time but not much money.
I plan on doing that for exterior walls & window replacement. The original part of the house that I mentioned has the old style wooden windows w/o the double pane glass filled with whatever they fill them with. But yes, the airsealing idea is and would have been even better to do!
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:30 PM   #6
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Be sure your soffits are not blocking ventilation. My buddy's roof was wet ON THE INSIDE because his insulation was over the soffits.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:53 PM   #7
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Be sure your soffits are not blocking ventilation. My buddy's roof was wet ON THE INSIDE because his insulation was over the soffits.
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device
All set, and excellent point, channel/soffit vents like a "C" shape stapled to the roof decking allow the eve vent air to flow to the ridge vent. The space below these vents was blocked off with faced batting insulation. Water and insulation should never be introduced. If I had more time, I would have used the airsealing method in combination with the channel/soffit vents to build a plastic barrier nearest to the eve vents. For my house, a ranch, the Northern exposure is 14' off the ground to the eve vents, and the southern exposure is about 10' with full sun. The house gets sun all day and sits on a hill so there is ample air flow/wind to dry up moisture which is a good thing for the house, but browns the grass after June. I use the word Eve interchangeably with soffit*

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Old 01-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #8
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:42 PM   #9
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Just a little update, 1. We received an oil delivery the day after installation, which should provide a decent comparison for our typical household consumption of oil. 2. Today, I tallied the end cost including all misc. tools needed to complete the job and it cost 1499.31 this was a few hundred dollars under my initial cost estimate, and 2200 under home depots estimate.

Bottom line is that it pays to do it yourself if you can, and if it is a project like insulation it will pay you back in money saved.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:43 PM   #10
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Gearing up to do this exact project in my house. Prep this week boxing all the recessed light cans, installing proper vents in the bays where soffits vents are, etc. Also putting insulated AC hose on the bathroom fan to the roof vent to prevent the moist air from condensing when it hits the cold air in the attic space. From all I have read, this Atticat system is almost fun to do. (as usual, the devil is in the prep work...) Matt, how much did your heating/cooling costs change?
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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Update on prep.
My recessed lights are IC (insulation contact) rated and Air-Loc by Juno. So I do not need to box them as the manufacturer states that I can blow insulation on them. As for being Air-Loc.... we do have some drafts blowing through them. I pulled out the bulb and cut small strips of the metallic duct tape and cover the small openings inside the cans. It worked, as we did not have any drafts during the blow over Saturday/Sunday. Now to figure out when I can spring the dough for 20 bags of the Atticat at 35/bag....

Other notes; If you do not have IC rated cans, there is a whole can of worms regarding heat if you box them to stop the draft. You will want to install CFL or LED bulbs as they are much cooler. If mine were not IC rated, I would probably have opted to change them out for IC rated, as the heat/fire issues would have me losing sleep.

Check with your electric company to see if they sponsor any rebates for insulation. Our local electric company will pay 50%, up to $1600. They need an estimate and have to inspect before and after. They will not pay for labor if you do it yourself. ie They only include labor if a contractor does it. (which kind of leaves me in the middle, being a contractor....)
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