No attic insulation over one bedroom.


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Old 02-20-19, 06:27 PM
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No attic insulation over one bedroom.

Just purchased a one level single family home that was built about 5 years ago. Upon entering my attic for other reasons, I noticed that one of the smaller bedrooms at the front of my house did not have insulation above it.

I am not an expert at insulation by any means and I am guessing that what is in the attic is blow in type or something similar. It is loose and walking through it pushes it all over the place.

My question is whether or not there is ever a reason to not insulate over a room like this. I ask this because I don't want to waste time and money adding insulation in the attic over the room for no reason.

It is definitely not the easiest area to reach, but it doesn't seem that hard where someone would have avoided it all together.

This room also runs about 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house which is heated by a Propane Furnace/Forced Air setup. This requires a space heater to be used in that room at all times to take care of the delta in temperature.

The HVAC guy advises that the temperature is lower in that room because the duct work is longer to that room than others. This might be correct, but I am sure that the lack of insulation in that room can't be helping (if there is indeed supposed to be some there).

Would pictures or additional information help? It will take me some time to get a picture up.

Thanks for any input.
 
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Old 02-20-19, 06:37 PM
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I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't / shouldn't be insulated.
 
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Old 02-21-19, 02:54 AM
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I am sure that the lack of insulation in that room can't be helping (if there is indeed supposed to be some there.
Would have to agree, no situation ever would warrant not insulating a ceiling above a conditioned living space.

Since you are at a point that something has to be added, excellent time to take a look at the rest of the house and determine if it's got adequate insulation and if not resolve it all at once.
 
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Old 02-21-19, 06:57 AM
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Before insulating make sure to air seal around any wiring, plumbing that was run through the top plates and the exhaust fan and ceiling light box..
 
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Old 02-21-19, 08:20 AM
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Makes you wonder how the house passed city inspection. What else did they not do per code?
Be sure not to block soffit vents when you add the insulation. Foam insulate any ceiling penetrations beforehand.
 
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Old 02-21-19, 11:07 AM
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Pictures would be interesting. Given the probability that they just missed this area, very low, then where did the insulation go. One possibility could be a critter. Raccoons have been known to destroy insulation in their efforts to customize an attic to their needs. Does it look like there is a lot of insulation piled up in another area?

Bud
 
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Old 02-21-19, 11:51 AM
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Depending on the size/shape of the room, if there is too much soffit ventilation, strong winds can blow the insulation right off the ceiling... or at least away from the perimeter. If that was the case it would usually be piled up in the soffit.

This is a great reason why people who say "you can't have too much ventilation" are dead wrong.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 08:33 AM
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Too much missing to be a coincidence. Pictures give the impression that there was some insulation effort. In reality, this is just spillover from the rest of the rest of the attic which has about 13 inches of insulation.

The installer label (from about 5 years ago) says that it is "Owens Corning" Pro Pink L77 Pink Fiberglass Unbonded Loosefill Insulation

Some more questions:

1) It looks like there is little clearance to add Batts for a DIY. 2) If I added Batts, over/under the areas that are hard to reach would it be effective?

2) Do I need to add that same type of existing insulation?

3) Is this insulation the itchy type?

4) If I have to add that same type of insulation and it requires the hassle of going out to rent a machine and blow stuff in then how did people do this before this type of insulation was invented and was it effective?

Thanks
 
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Old 02-23-19, 08:55 AM
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Wind as X mentioned is a possibility but you would see it piled up somewhere nearby.
If the name of the company that installed the insulation is up there I would stop by with a few pictures and give them a chance to protect their reputation. If one of my employees did something like that I don't care how long it had been I'd help fix it.

Batts are not a problem and can be cut to fit as needed.
Adding more insulation doesn't have to match what is up there.
5 years ago it shouldn't be the itchy type, but face mask and long sleeves are still advised.

Did the installation company leave their name up there?

Bud
 
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Old 02-23-19, 09:09 AM
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Thank you. Well the name of the company is up there. The home inspector advises me to do what you did although I am a little bit ticked that he didn't notice it. Yeah, he can't catch everything but I Mr. Amateur scared to walk around the attic did.

I did a search of the company and they did not get great reviews.

I read that in the areas where the batts would get compressed, I should just leave the insulation loose under that area or something like that.

I am a bit embarrassed about not knowing what all of these different pieces of wood are and what they support but in my perspective if I just threw the batts over/under those pieces of wood and didn't get it right I'd always be wondering. I know that's not what you are saying...you mentioned cutting and trimming etc.

Would you mind giving me a few insulation options here?

This is particularly annoying for me because I am willing to bet that even when I am done with this hassle, the room will still require a space heater and be 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house. This has been my limited experience with things of this nature.

Thanks for your patience and time.

Also, there are 2 gable ends right above this pretty small room. I think that might not be excessive for the entirety of the house as a whole but it sure is cold up there.

I guess that I should not block these?

 
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Old 02-23-19, 09:26 AM
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Well jj, you are in the right place as dozens of the pros here have a lot of experience in what you need to do, even advise on how to work up there without making a new entrance to downstairs.

But first, since it sounds like that company is still around I would print off a few pictures and type up a letter asking what happened to the insulation you expected to find up there. You found his card that indicates he wanted other people to know who did the the install and thought he might want to finish it. Be polite and don't threaten any recourse. The fact that he is still in business says he isn't entirely bad and giving him a chance to fix something a worker may have skipped for some unknown reason will tell you what kind of company he actually is. Worst is he says not interested. Best is he didn't know and will have a truck swing by and filler up. I think the fill-er up is a good possibility, it is inexpensive advertising and all businesses need that. Give him a chance.

Bud

You posted while I was typing, but attics are supposed to be cold.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 09:32 AM
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Here is the deal. According to the current energy standards in most locations, attics should have R-49, and with blow in insulation depth sticks are often required to give a visual representation of the depth. That "should be" 16.25" of your ProPink L77.

Yes, you could put unfaced batts in to achieve that R49, however you would be spending a small fortune to achieve R49 and you would need to do it in layers... first filling your trusses to the top of the bottom chord, (such as with R19 or R21) then laying an additional layer perpendicular to the first across the tops of the bottom chords, (such as with R30) while cutting around all the obstructions with each layer so that there are no voids. Have you ever tried to move around in an attic on your hands and knees? Not easy. Plus you can easily put a foot through the drywall if you aren't careful.

No, you do not "have" to use the same insulation as what is there, but there are some benefits to blowing fiberglass. More economical (costs less)... faster... no cutting or notching... safer.

As far as being itchy, that depends on the person. No, it is not like the fiberglass from the 60's that was comparatively heavy and seemed to have pieces of actual glass in it. That stuff was bad! I have no problem working with fiberglass insulation, but everyone is different. No matter what type of insulation you choose, you still might want to wear long sleeves, gloves and a respirator. Those things can't hurt.

And as far as how they did it before blown in became popular... yeah they laid in batts. And the effectiveness of the insulation was directly proportional to how good of a job they did at installing it... you got gaps everywhere and air leaks around things that were hard to cut around. With blown in insulation there are no voids and less air infiltration. Its like covering your ceiling with a blanket vs. having a coat on that is partially unzipped.

If it was my house, there is no question I would rent the machine and blow it in. With a helper it would take longer to go get the materials and unload them than it would take to blow that small area in.

The price difference plus the labor makes it a no brainer.

If you buy it at Lowes or Home Depot, blown in insulation (at R49) costs about $1000-$1100 per 1000 sq ft. Plus the machine rental is free for 24 hrs.

If you buy batts, as mentioned above the cost for the same area (1000 sq ft) is about 50% higher. $1500-$1600, depending on the product you buy.

(Not saying you have 1000 sq ft, just using that as an easy number to figure and compare.)

And any small room that is surrounded by exterior walls on 3 sides will be colder than the rest of the house. Just saying... there is more exterior walls in that one room than any other room in the house with only one or two exterior walls. So no, just adding insulation to the attic is not going to make the room instantly warm, but it will help and it definitely needs to be done... no question about that.

Bud's idea about calling the installer would be a good first step. That insulation didn't just disappear into thin air.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 09:38 AM
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Roger that Bud. I like the approach. I like the old fashioned letters and pictures approach. It is pretty soft. Reviews can be subjective too and they ARE still in business.

I work sort of over that way as well. Might make sense to pop in. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 10:01 AM
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Thank you very much X. I left a voicemail for that company to see what they do. Thanks for giving me a rationale as to why that room will still be colder but will still needed to be insulated. EDIT...there are other rooms with the 3 outer walls that don't suffer this though. The card that they left actually said that the old insulation's r-value was r-38 and I noticed the sticks you mentioned in a few places as well. Perhaps the number was higher based on that, but I want to minimize my trips to the attic and will get that data later. At least I know where things should be.

Perhaps batts for the small room wouldn't be too bad if the rest of the area is effectively R49.

Thanks
 
 

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