attic insulation need advice and small rant

roxanMarch 25, 2012

I have a big box store come to give me an estimate for insulation. They tell me after measuring that they don't remove the old insulation (which I want) they don't install batt (which I want) nor do they insulate into the area of the attic where my vaulted ceiling is. Wouldn't I need insulation there? There would be nothing but air between my ceiling in the living area and my roof? Note: the insulation area would be for the flat portions in the attic, approx 1200sf or half of the home sf. They will seal the lights and around the bath vents and also make sure there is proper venting in the eaves etc

House was built with rock roof and we put new roof that lasted only 15 years, hence recent new roof 2 yrs ago. The attic has a heavy duty aluminum radiant barrier most of which is coming down due to debris from old roofing jobs. I had NO IDEA (dumb me) what this was for and neither did the guy that came to give the estimate. So he said I should pull all of them out before they would start blowing in the insulation. After MUCH searching online I find out this radiant barrier was installed to prevent most of the heat coming into the attic. I live in So Cal and my house faces north-south, south being exactly where the vaulted portion and no insulation is.

To the roofers credit, he did suggest and we did install 3 dormer vents but at this point I am not sure if they have helped. We already have gable vents on each side. The garage opens directly into the attic and has a dropped ceiling with new insulation and an auto fan in the gable vent there. Garage is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than rest of the house. Of course, this is DH's domain, LOL.

So now I am left with wondering what to do next. I don't want blown in insulation. I get conflicting information about removing old insulation and now I feel like I need to replace all the radiant barrier to keep my house cool in the summer. I don't want auto gable fans or turbines due to noise, it will drive me nuts.

I am mostly venting now in this last paragraph, because no matter what I do to research contractors ie. BBB, friends etc, no one seems to take pride in what they do or have concern for the job once the money is in their hand. I am afraid to hire anyone anymore for anything. I could just sit here and cry I am so frustrated. I know home ownership comes with maintenance but I feel like I am spinning my wheels on things that should not have to be done over in such a short period of time. Even my HVAC guy installed my furnace & AC improperly and I just find out after 6 years. Sigh........

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energy_rater_la

the only way to install batts over batts is if the second layer were unfaced. you don't install two vapor barriers
in the same building assembly.

can't push batts into cathedral ceiling, if cathedral follows roof line. (is this ceiling vaulted into attic
or does it follow roof line?)

insulation shouldn't be in contact with radiant barrier
either.

fix radiant barrier, air seal between living and attic space then blow over batts.

call insulation companies, get several bids.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:40PM
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GreenDesigns

It will be really difficult to install insulation above a vaulted area, even blown in. Your best bet would be to turn the attic into an unvented one and use foam over the vault and to create a seal and insulate on the roofline, not the floor/ceiling plane. It won't be the cheapest choice, but it will make the home much more comfortable and energy efficient.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:54PM
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millworkman

take both energy and Greens advice but definitely call an insulation company. Never call a box store for installation of things like building materials as you already see what happens. Also even though you say you have gable vents if your roof is shot after 15 yrs you may have a ventilation issue which a insulation company can also help with.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:00AM
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roxan

Thanks for all the help guys. We had the big box store come out on a whim just to get an idea of the cost and sq ft that would be needed in case we decided to add insulation ourselves.

We were NOT wanting to have them put new insulation on top of the old since is was full of dirt and debris regardless if it were blown in or batt. We have unfaced insulation on the attic floor, not sure what the vertical install on the outside walls are.

We are taking the good advice given and will be looking into getting a reputable insulation company come to give an estimate soon.

The gable vents were put in after the 15yr old roof failed so we are a little more optimistic that this recent roofing job will last longer than the last one.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:18PM
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brickeyee

"vertical install on the outside walls are. "

If these are the attic walls, they do not need any insulation.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:38PM
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energy_rater_la

I smile every time I read the title
cause it is a small rant.
usually the rants are longer than
the actual problem.

I am curious about the insulation in
verticle walls.
are these exterior walls in the attic?
or are they knee walls..where ceiling changes
height and attic floor is several levels?

if the former..exterior walls..you don't
need insulation
if they are knee walls batt insulation
and foil/foam sheathing to air seal
and reflect heat out of walls.

sorry its so confusing..but houses
are all different. keep shopping insulators
post back & we will advise you as best we can.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:20PM
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