Is the contractor right?

kindred_nyNovember 22, 2010

My home is a 1 1/2 story (?) 1300 sq ft home. Upstairs on both sides of the house the ceiling slopes down (where the roof is). I asked a contractor friend about insulating the attic (he would have to first open the ceiling to allow attic access- there currently is none) and he said in order to insulate properly the ceiling would have to come down and would have to be re-built. He said this is due to the fact that the roofing would rot if insulation were stuffed in the space and the roof not allowed to breathe. Does this sound right? I was just going to open the access and blow in cellulose. (cheap and easy) Will the cellulose make any difference in heating, or would it cost me a roof?

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You need to have a space between the roof / rafters and the insulation. This allows the air to move around inside the attic. There are a few ways to to this. Not an expert, but pretty sure the contractor is correct.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:57AM
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Get a second opinion, if not a third - not because he's necessarily wrong, but you do want to not make a big mistake with something that major.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 9:05AM
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You can attach baffles to the underside of the roof deck in the slopping areas to hold back the insulation.

If the ceiling is already tight against the underside of the roof deck there is no space for insulation anyway.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 9:10AM
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Yes, from what I understand of insulating roofs, he's correct. When we put up the ceiling in our attic, first we used plastic baffles running from ridge vent to the soffets, then used bat insulation on top of the baffles, finally putting the drywall over the insulation.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:39AM
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I'm not one with a lot of experience with this, so bear with me if this is a REALLY dumb question... Would installing roof vents help? Just a thought - like I said, probably ignorance on my part. (Our attic has 2, 1 front & 1 back side of house). Seems less destructive than tearing down the ceiling, (but I've seen what came down out of ours, so I'm biased, lol). If that was a viable option someone else would have mentioned it, so now I guess I'm curious - or misunderstanding the whole scenario.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 12:00PM
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"he said in order to insulate properly the ceiling would have to come down and would have to be re-built"

This is the place were he goes wrong.

You can slide the baffle in from either a knee wall access or the attic, and only fasten the ends to the roof deck.

When the insulation is then added it will hold the middle up against the roof deck.

There is no reason to remove the ceiling.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:22PM
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Sorry, kindred, I thought you were insulating the "floor" of the attic (directly above the ceiling). That's where ours is.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:37PM
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We have blown-in insulation in the roof just as you describe wanting to do, and our roof is not rotten. Well, not that I know of.

Old houses are leaky. Things don't rot that easily.

What is your ceiling material? Ours is tongue-in-groove, and between nails going up from the ceiling and down from the roof, sliding things into that space is no piece of cake. Took us a long time just to wiggle a wire through for a ceiling light. Also, I believe our TiG is actually a structural component of the house, and it's not coming down for anything!

And our access is from the knee wall - there are openings into those spaces, and you can look up the roof spaces from there.

Talk to someone who knows old houses.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Good advice. Thanks! I will think about calling someone in. I wanted to go with this guy because he is a family friend and I trust him to do the work if I have to be at work, and just in general to not rip me off. (Single mom with not a ton of experience in this area). But guess I should call someone who knows old houses. He does a lot of new home construction (million dollar homes-- beautiful stuff!). I will probably have him open an access, though. I'm dying to get a look up there!Who knows what I'll find!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Always ask for three FREE estimates, before doing any work. It may be that your friend/contractor is right, but nothing wrong with more information :)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:07PM
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