help with adding attic insulation/ventilation

tofu_flavoredDecember 10, 2010

Hello - I think I need to add insulation to my attic. I live in Atlanta on the second floor of a two-story building; my place is pretty cold/drafty in the winter and hard to cool in the summer. I have looked at many different websites about attic insulation and I think the blown-in cellulose would be beneficial. My attic space is insulated only on the attic floor with R-19 fiberglass batts between the joists. The batts are about level with the top of the joists, about 6 inches. (I hope I'm using this terminology correctly.) The building is older - from the 1950s I think - and I suspect the attic is not sealed well. Shouldn't I look under the batting to check on any leaks, and if that's the case, should I keep that batting or just remove it all and have new cellulose insulation blown in? The current batting doesn't seem to be in bad shape, ie, water damaged or too compacted. The other issue is that I don't think the attic is well ventilated; it gets *extremely* hot in the summer. Do I need to determine this and possibly resolve this issue (adding soffits? etc.) before I add insulation? Do I just need to get someone who knows what they're doing to look at everything?

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Current EERE recommendations call for R30-49 for attics in your area. You should also add soffit and roof venting. The cellulose can be blown in on top of the existing fg batts.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 8:45PM
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OK, so you have 3 basic problems - drafts, venting and insulation.

Drafts are simple to fix but sometime time consuming. Obvious areas are windows and doors that aren't sealed properly. All the insulation in the world won't help if the wind is whipping through the living space.

For the attic, you should add soffit vents before insulation. That way, you can put little baffles in front of the vents and you'll avoid spaying insulation over them. You should also have roof venting. In summer, the air will come in through the soffits and out through the roof vents.

For insulation, I would spend a little prep time before you start spraying cellulose. A few cans of expansion foam will do wonders to minimize air flow from the living space to the attic. You will probably have to roll back the existing insulation to see the problem areas, but you can roll it right back when you are done. Then, you can spray in cellulose over the top.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Ok, sounds like I definately need to do some prep work. Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:24AM
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