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Insulate 2nd floor ceiling without drilling any holes?

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  #1  
Old 03-20-13, 07:29 AM
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Insulate 2nd floor ceiling without drilling any holes?

I am currently insulating a gutted bathroom, first with rigid foam insulation [by me], then sealed over by a contractor with spray foam. Later I intend to rip out the primary bedroom ceiling and do the same up to R-50. The ceiling in that larger BR is not in great shape, so replacing it with a nice ceiling will be a plus.

While these ceilings are open I have access to the bays above the ceilings for two seldom used 2nd floor bedrooms that have zero insulation. The ceilings in these two smaller BRís are in good shape so I would prefer to not poke any holes in them. I would like to blow insulation into the closed area between ceiling and attic floor from the bathroom and primary bedroom by inserting the hose 16-18 feet into the bay, turning the machine on and slowly withdrawing the hose leaving a nice tight insulated barrier. Has anybody ever done this? Will it work? Tips or tricks?

The attic is a nicely finished office/bedroom with a beautiful hardwood floor. For me it will be just a fancy storage space> When I replace my hot water heat boiler I will leave the 3rd floor radiator in place, but will not hook it up to the new system. This is why I am looking to insulate the 2nd floor ceilings. But, I would rather tear out the ceilings than mess with the hardwood floor!

Iím looking at using Attic Cat fiberglass or Greenfiber cellulose available at Home Depot. My spray insulation contractor only does open bay closed cell foam.

I will appreciate any direction you can provide!


TGS
 
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  #2  
Old 03-20-13, 07:34 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'm not sure I'm on board with your plan, I would not disconnect the heat from the third floor and insulate between the second and third floor.
 
  #3  
Old 03-20-13, 07:50 AM
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Any reason? The third floor room is not insulated either and tearing it apart to insulate would be a major project for a space I will not be using as living space. Other than the basement itís the largest room in the house. To me it doesnít make sense to allow the heat from the 2nd floor to freely flow up there at todayís and tomorrows heating cost.

As far as the radiator is concerned the pipes will be just capped in the basement for the next guy to hook it back up. He can insulate the 3rd floor too if he needs the space! I expect that I will be there 20-30 years, so Iím customizing the home to my needs for that period. If I die early, I wonít care.
 
  #4  
Old 03-20-13, 07:58 AM
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OK, go ahead. Resale is not a concern for you so my concerns are no longer pertinent for the most part.

You don't have access to the two ceilings mentioned such that you can just blow in insulation normally - you need a plan like "slowly withdrawing the hose?"
 
  #5  
Old 03-20-13, 08:06 AM
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Mitch:

Do you think the insulation would fill properly? I'm hoping that there may be someone out there who can give me some tips and positive reinforcement.

If it's a bad idea, rather than waste that $, down the road my next option may be to have a contractor pump some foam up through the ceiling with the smaller holes. But, I would never get payback on that investment. I don't need R-50 in those rooms, the doors are left closed most of the heating season.

I have an inquiry out to Owens Corning on their product, no reply yet.

.
 
  #6  
Old 03-20-13, 08:20 AM
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Hi Starz,
Even without adding insulation at the floor/ceiling level below that seldom used space at the top, the heat and moisture that migrates up there is a potential for mold. Adding the insulation as you are asking will lower the temperature up there and permit more condensation. Warm inside air carries a lot of moisture and when it cools to its dew point, it can no longer hold the moisture.

The debate between heating or isolating upper floors to reduce energy costs has shown a clear risk of mold. My best advice would be to improve the insulation in that upper area. Here's my thinking. Whatever you add up there, ceilings, walls, and air sealing is an improvement all around. Less risk of mold and lower energy costs. Also, installing insulation where you are suggesting becomes ineffective when the above improvements are eventually made. Whenever possible, try to make each improvement part of the next and progress towards the desired end results.

IMO
Bud
 
  #7  
Old 03-20-13, 09:00 AM
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Bud:

Additional information. I have been in the house since 1992 and have seen no signs of mold up there despite never leaving the 3rd floor radiator on. Perhaps a function of the dry radiator heat on the floors below. What I also should have mentioned is that I have a hip roof with three dormers and consequently have knee walls all the way around except where the dormers are.

The space behind the knee walls is well ventilated, unobstructed from the soffit vents to the peak. Consequently, 20-30% of the 2nd floor ceilings have this really cold floor area above them. If mold were an issue I could always leave an attic window cracked open once I have the 2nd floor sealed.

Does this flow of ventilation change your thinking on the mold issue?

Thanks,

TGS
 
  #8  
Old 03-20-13, 01:21 PM
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Your objective is to reduce the heat going up to that space. That will then reduce the surface temperatures everywhere up there. If you read up on air sealing, and I'll attach a good reference, and make sure none of the larger/easy to fix leaks remain, then you will probably be just fine.

Is your reasoning for adding insulation to this inbetween ceiling/floor to increase comfort or reduce energy consumption. If you are looking to reduce energy consumption, I can take a shot at estimating the before and after to give you an idea as to what savings you might expect. It will take a list of questions, but the calculation is actually rather easy.

Bud

http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf
 
  #9  
Old 03-21-13, 06:12 AM
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Bud:

Thanks for the link. That will take me a while to read, but looks to be excellent reference material.

Yes, my objective is to save energy over the next 30 years and unless I win lotto thatís where I will be. I appreciate your offer of calculating savings, but I think my unusual treatment will complicate the calculation. That is, Iím already committed to insulate the 10x8 bathroom ceiling to R-50. Then, I plan R-50 in the 15x14 bedroom. Since I leave the radiators off and the doors closed in the two spare 2nd floor bedrooms most of the time during the heating season, thatís why I will be happy to just blow R-20 or so in those bays while I have them open. That wonít cost much DIY. My guess is that your calculation assumes the same insulation value in all the ceilings and that all rooms are heated at the same level.

There are no ceiling lights on the second floor so the only penetration I have to worry about is the bay where the soil pipe and the four new 20 amp wires exit the second floor. I will have my spray foam contractor put an extra thick coat in that area. There are no cracks in the plaster ceilings of either spare bedroom. There is a door to the 3rd floor stairway that I have sealed with exterior door weather-stripping, etc.

When Iím done I think I will be pretty tight for a 100+ year old house. Still no word from Owens-Coning that their Atticat fiberglass can be installed in the manner I need to use it?

Thanks,

TGS
 
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