Yes, it’s been crazy hot here this week, so naturally it’s the perfect time to spend all day up in the attic, right? Ok, maybe not, but I was hell bent on improving the insulation situation at my house and didn’t want to wait for this heat wave to break, because every miserably hot day without a decent R-value between my living space and the burning sun will make a significant difference on my NES bill.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a straight-forward insulation project, as I found in my research that I needed at least an R-30 insulation for an attic in our area, which is 9.5 or more inches deep, but the builder of my home, and many like mine, only used ceiling joists that were 5.5 inches deep. Normally, one could just fill the space with lots and lots of blown in cellulose insulation, but we need storage space in our attic, so after a bit of Googling I decided my best course of action was to stack 2 x 4 lumber end on end on top of the existing rafters, attaching them with metal tie straps on either side. Then I tucked some unfaced R-30 rolled fiberglass insulation between the rafters and screwed 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″ plywood panels on top (I definitely recommend screwing rather than nailing, which can cause cracks and OMG that sounded really dirty, didn’t it). I used unfaced insulation because I left some of the existing cellulose insulation down and you can use vapor retarder over existing insulation.
Note: Anyone considering a project like this should take into account whether their attic floor can handle the additional weight. I happen to have a bunch of walls directly underneath the area I added to, so I don’t anticipate a problem.
Proofreading this post just now, I realized I made it sound like everything was said and done at this point. It’s not. Not even close! I have a lot of crap in my attic, and as most of you probably know, having a lot of crap tends to complicate one’s life. I have to approach the problem like one of those sliding block puzzles, clearing one space, adding the lumber and insulation, moving a bunch of stuff into the finished space so that I can work on another space, etc. To me, this is easier than actually addressing the root of the matter, which would involve all sorts of cleaning and organizing- not my strong suits! I’ve only added one roll of insulation so far, so I’m going to be dedicating several mornings to come to this little endeavor.
One last note: Thanks to the 2011 Federal Tax credits, I’ll be getting 10% back on what I spent on the insulation. Find out more here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index
After pictures are coming as soon as my batteries are finished charging!