No attic access

kindred_nyNovember 1, 2010

I need advice. I bought my home a year and a half ago. It's a 1916 colonial style (I think) with a small crawl space above the 2nd floor living area. The bedrooms in the back and the closets in the front have sloped ceilings in the rooms, following the roof line.There is a crawl space down the center of the home, above the hallway,bathroom, and master bedroom. I have NO attic access anywhere except from the vents in the front and back near the peak of the roof. I don't think the attic is insulated, since the upstairs gets mighty cold(we use space heaters in the bathroom when we shower because it's so cold). I'm afraid to open the attic inside the house (in an upstairs ceiling) as we had bats this summer and I don't know what else might be living up there.But I want to see what the situation is and insulate if there is none.What would be the best insulation to use, and should I go through the ceiling or through the vents? I'm a single Mom, and money is definitely a factor! Any suggestions?

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Cutting an access hole into the attic is actually pretty easy.

If you had bats you may need to do some clean up work before insulating.

Blown in cellulose works well in older homes, and can be used to fill the available space above sloped ceilings.

Fiberglass is not as old house friendly, but can be used also.

Depending on your location and heating and cooling seasons a vapor barrier may not be required.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 11:12AM
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I'm in central NY, and it gets pretty cold (below zero most winters) and usually 90-100 in the summer. would I lay a vapor barrier down then blow in the insulation? How would I properly secure the hatch once I'm done so critters can't get into the house from the hole,and to avoid heat loss at that access hole? How do I know where joists are so I'm not randomly poking holes. And if it's plaster on the ceiling, then what? I'm fortunate to know the owner before the PO, and I know they put sheetrock over the plaster. Sorry about all the questions, but I don't want to get in too deep and have to call the "Over my Head" crew from HGTV or DIY network!! :-)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Those are all good questions and there are answers to them. However, based on the fact that you are asking them, I would be concerned about trying to walk you through this. Based on your limited knowledge (not a criticism, just an observation), you could quickly get in over your head, as you seem to suspect. Given what would be involved in this, you really need to call in a professional to at least size things up for you. I think if you tried to tackle this by yourself, you would not end up very happy, and with a potential mess on your hands.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 2:56PM
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I suspect you're right. I was hoping to do some of it myself to save $$, but I'm sure there are many horror stories of inexperianced DIYers who have thought the same and ended up spending double! Thanks for taking the time to post a response.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:24PM
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My first home, an 1880s downtown semi, developed a roof leak, as I saw water accumulating in a bedroom light fixture. There was no access, so I cut myself one and quickly found the source of my "leak". There was a common attic and the next door neighbour had a plastic tarp funnelling water from his roof directly into my ceiling. (Also found his stash of Playboys near his hatch. I guess wifey wouldn't approve.)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 7:26PM
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Oh,wow! (The Mr. Rogers theme song is running in my head as I'm reading your post!) What a mess!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 7:58PM
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