What are insulation requirements please?


Old 03-09-11, 09:04 AM
Emarray's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Question What are insulation requirements please?

Hi there. I'm a DIY newbie living in New England. My house is a tri-level split with attic space underneath the entire roof. The attic floors have been insulated--that pink Owens Corning fiberglas stuff, some yellow with the same consistency, probably from when the house was built in 1964. but the attic/roof line is not. I'm wondering if it should be. We had what I would describe as "severe" ice dams on the roof this year, which says to me that there is not adequate insulation in the attic. SHOULD there be insulation packed into the beams that line the ceiling of the roof?

Thank you!
Meri, living in her parents' old house. Dad was a handyman and used to fix everything...until he got ill and could no longer do anything. He refused to admit it, and refused to hire anybody to do the work/regular maintenance that should have been done, so I'm left with an aging house and LOTS of work. Some of it I will learn and do myself. Some I will hire a contractor for.
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Old 03-09-11, 09:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
Add more insulation (preferably blown cellulose) over the existing insulation and make sure there is good ventilation from the soffit/eave overhang to the exterior roof vents. The purpose is to make the air under the rood itself as cold as possible to avoid premature ice melting and ice dams.

Old 03-09-11, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
Yeah. You should make sure you have adequate venting first, then add the appropriate insulation next. I second the blown in cellulose on top.
Old 03-09-11, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,995
Hi Emarray and welcome to the forum.
I'm a bit north of you so certainly understand those darn Ice dams. Before the insulation mentioned by Dick and drooplug, you will want to look for air leaking into the attic. Air leaks are easy to fix and not only save energy, but will reduce that heat in the attic, the cause of those ice dams. I'll attach a link from efficiency Vermont detailing where to look for leaks.

Once you have addressed the air sealing, then you need to prepare the attic for more insulation. You should have some form of venting at the eaves (low) and on the gables or ridge (high). Check what is there and we can help you judge if it is enough.

You will also need some baffles in each rafter bay (the roof) to prevent the new insulation from blocking the air flow from the eaves into the attic.

Now you can add more insulation, blown in as mentioned above or unfaced batts yourself. Both the blown in and batts are DIY, just that the batts aren't as messy.


here to help,

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