Upgrading attic insulation for storage

Old 10-13-08, 12:46 PM
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Location: Wilmington, DE
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Question Upgrading attic insulation for storage

Question...The attic in my home is poorly insulated but before I start, I would like to continue to use this space for additional storage. I am not sure of the square footage but it is enough for my family.

Please excuse my ignorance. Let's start off with the ventilation in the attic. It looks as though their may have been an attic fan of some type installed on the east side of the house. You can see "louvers" that are permanently opened. These same louvers are on the west side of the attic as well but obviously no fan. An attic fan would be a nice future project but this fan has never worked since purchasing the house a few years back and I would assume that modern attic fans are installed through the roof (please correct me if I am wrong). I need some advice on what to do about this old non-working attic fan as well as what to do with the open louvers on both sides of the attic. In the summer the attic is HOT and in the winter it is freezing. We obviously have issues cooling the 2nd floor in the summer and heating the 2nd floor in the winter. I know that the attic has to "breathe" but not this much in my novice opinion. These opening are only one part of the issue.

My second issue is that the attic itself is horribly under insulated with blown insulation. In some areas you can see bare spots. I know that the answer is add more insulation but my question is should I remove the little insulation that I do have and replace it with either batt or blown insulation keeping in mind that I would like to add flooring for storage? It does not seem that any vapor barrier has been used. I would obviously re-insulate properly after removal of the old blown insulation.

Any advice to either question will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Old 10-13-08, 04:30 PM
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Let's start with insulation. In most areas of the country, 10-14" in what is needed. But most construction is 2x6 joists in the ceiling(floor of the attic. If you are using some of that space for storage, push the blown-in insulation uder the plywood flooring, and fill the joist bays with R30 faced insulation(if directly on the drywall). Or use unfaced insulation over the existing blown-in. The best way of adding insulation is to bring the existing up to the joist level, the run another layer perpendicular to the joists.

To do insulation the proper way, but usually not realistic for existing construction: sister wood to the joists to built them up and increase the space under the storage floor, for additional insulation. Then reinstall the storage floor over that. Keeping in mind you need to increase all the insualtion.

Ventilation is a must, in winter as well as summer. If you don't have soffit/ridge venting, gable vents are better than nothing. A thermostatically controlled fan in one gable end works well. But suck cooler air from the shady side of the house, and exhaust to hotter side.

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