Attic Insulation Question

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Old 01-12-14, 11:17 AM
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Attic Insulation Question

We are currently in the process of finishing our basement and we now need more storage space to keep things that will not be damaged by the heat in the attic during summer. We do have a very large attic with some very wide open spaces that could be used. I would love to put some 3/4 inch plywood down in some areas, but the problem is that it is all insulated with blown in insulation.

The joists are 2 x 6 and my first though was to remove the blown in stuff, roll in some batts with a comparable R value and then screw the plywood down over the batts. I would only want to do this in the areas that are open and would leave the blown in insulation in areas where there is lots of ducting, pipes, etc.

This would also help in any future projects that involve running anything through the attic since, outside of the small walkway that the builder installed that runs to the furnace in the attic, the only way to move around is to carefully walk along the top of each joist. In the area that the builder installed the walkway, he did use batts below the flooring.

Anyway, I just wanted to get some advise from the forum to see if this can or should be done, and also to ask for any tips or gotchas that I need to look out for. I have also added a few pictures of the attic to help. Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-12-14, 11:27 AM
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Old 01-12-14, 07:06 PM
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For several reasons attics are very poor for use as storage areas. The best answer is to get rid of some of your junk, er, treasures, rather than storing them in the attic. If you just can't part with them the next best thing is to rent a storage locker, climate controlled is best but also most expensive.

For most people, when it comes to tossing or paying to store, they quickly find that they do not need the arithmetic tests and English essays from junior high school nor do they need to keep the old, outdated clothing that no longer fits. When storage is free and plentiful people have a hard time disposing of almost anything.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 07:52 PM
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You are correct in that the attic is not the best place to store things and I did not mean to imply that we were simply moving everything from the basement to the attic. I plan on placing a lot of the lighter,non heat sensitive items up there. We are also purging a lot of the junk in the basement as well, so we are trying to approach it from both ends.

As mentioned before, I would also like to floor the area up there as much as possible to make getting around in the attic easier. I ran wires recently for my home security system and found it almost impossible to work up there and came close to putting my foot through the ceiling on more than one occasion. I will be running more coax and such in the future and would just like something a little more solid to make getting around in the attic easier. I plan to keep the blown in insulation in the busy areas with the supports, pipes and ducts since I think that blown in probably works better in filling all the hard to get at gaps.

That said, I am really looking for advice on what to do and what not to do since I have never replaced blown in insulation with roll in batts before. I would love to make the attic much more accessible, but at the same time, I do not want to shoot myself in the foot by doing something wrong.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 08:38 PM
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#1 You do not want to get rid of the blown in!
Compressed insulation is useless.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:12 PM
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Almost anything you do in the attic will increase the load on the ceiling joists of the room below. A hundred years ago and more attics were merely unfinished spaces above the living quarters of the house, they were able to be finished if and when additional space was necessary. Today the attic is built in a manner that normally does NOT allow for finishing it to living quarters. The ceiling joists (or more often bottom chords on trusses) are not sized to handle any more load than the ceiling below. Just adding a floor increases that load and then piling things on the floor adds even more load.

I know well the problems of maneuvering around in an attic as I too have had to run wiring in the attic. Adding a floor will severely limit the amount of thermal insulation you can add to the attic and that, in my opinion, is even worse than the increased loading from a floor and stored items. As Joe states, compressed insulation is useless. To avoid compressing the insulation you would have to install a raised floor and that entails even more building materials which translated into more weight. I have made a couple of "sleds" out of 2X4s and 1/2 inch plywood that I can lay across several joists to distribute my weight as I crawl around doing my wiring and such. It IS a pain to have to do it this way but it is also the only way to not cause problems with extra weight or compacting the insulation excessively. I always keep in mind that once I finish the wiring there will be little reason to enter the attic again.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 08:41 AM
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Add atticfoil, easy DIY to be done in the winter.
Attic Foil Radiant Barrier - AtticFoil® Do-It-Yourself Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation

My attic in N. Texas only gets to about 120deg. in the summer, so I have alot of stuff stored up there. Also make sure you have enough air flow, you may want to put ridge vent in also with more soffit intakes.
 
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