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How to insulate your attic or crawlspace

How to insulate your attic or crawlspace

A buddy of mine was looking to insulate his attic space. In its "before" state, his attic had about six inches of insulation. He wanted to add enough insulation to give him an R value of 38. His attic space was approximately 400 square feet. He elected to go with the blown-in, do it yourself insulation over professional services. He received quotes to insulate his attic space for around $1500. Doing it yourself can result in a substantial savings over professional services as you will soon see. Here we have pictured our rented insulation chopping and blowing machine.

insulate_attic_crawlspace_install_do_it_yourselfer_job
The Insulating Machine or Box.





How to insulate your attic or crawlspace

Our first major conundrum in the attic insulation process was to determine if the hose was long enough. Well, actually I lied. Our first mistake was that we began hauling all the bales of insulation up to the second floor, right below the attic. Luckily, our homeowner realized that we didn't need to do this before we got more than a few up the stairs. The constructions indicate that the Insulation Chopping and Blowing Machine needs to be outdoors. I later learned why and so will you. So we dropped the insulation bales that we had hauled up back down through the open window that you see here and ran the hose from the attic to the machine. Sure enough, we had plenty of hose.

insulate_attic_crawlspace_install_do_it_yourselfer_job
The hose is long enough!





How to insulate your attic

Here's another shot of the hose down to the insulation machine. By the way, we chose the cellulose insulation which is mostly made up of recycled materials. We were being green. Plus this stuff is non-itch and the claim held up to be true. It was about $9 a bag. We had calculated anywhere from 10-14 bags of insulation to get his 400 square foot attic up to R-38. Remember, he already had 6 inches of insulation to start with. Turns out we only needed 7 bags to do the job.

insulate_attic_crawlspace_install_do_it_yourselfer_job





How to insulate your attic or crawlspace

Here's me, Jerry's webmaster, getting my hands dirty. How about that - the webmaster rubbing elbows with the home improvement crowd. Despite the summertime heat (although this day was relatively cool), I went with long sleeves and long pants (as I didn't believe the no itch claims at first). I found a really nice breathing mask with an exhaust valve so no steamed up glasses and no rebreathing of hot, moist, recycled air. This was the first filter mask that I have ever used that was a joy to wear. Maybe I'll take one on the airplane with me the next time I travel.

Okay, I'm loading the machine here. I would not recommend doing it like this. In other words, don't stick the whole bale of insulation in at once. You have to break up the stuff to get it past a hand-protecting grid. The best system I found was to leave the stuff in the bag and break off chunks as the insulation machine requires more. If you stick a whole bale of insulation on top then you've got to break off chunks as it sits on the machine. If you start breaking chunks of insulation off the bottom the whole bale of insulation will eventually collapse and make a mess. Also, consider putting a tarp down and then rolling the machine over the tarp before use. You'll end up losing about a half bag to a bag of insulation on the ground. If you have a tarp their to catch it, it makes for easy pick up.

insulate_attic_crawlspace_install_do_it_yourselfer_job
The Webmaster of newkirkpainting.com hard at work.



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