Saturday, November 1, 2014

Insulating the Attic

Sven arrived in an SUV around eleven o'clock, and we immediately headed out to buy the insulation and rent the blowing machine. After being in the attic earlier this morning, I did decided to reduce my purchase of insulation from 15 bales down to 12. This saved about ninety dollars, and I think was probably more than enough insulation.

It took two trips to get all the insulation and rental equipment home: the hose for the blower came in two full-sized trash cans, and twelve bales of insulation takes up a lot of room, too.

Interestingly, the "Home Depot Credit Card Fraud Department" called me up on second drive home, wanting to make sure I had actually purchased three hundred and eighty dollars worth of insulation. While it's certainly an unusual purchase for me, it's not really something I would expect a credit card thief to run out and buy, either. I imagine they're a little twitchy after they leaked all those credit card details.

Once everything was at the house, we got set up. Sven would be outside on the deck loading insulation into the blower, and I would be up in the attic, shooting out insulation. My end of the hose had a wireless on/off switch for the machine, which was really handy. Sven and I suited up: him in denim overalls, gloves and safety glasses, me in a full tyvek suit, glasses, gloves and respirator.

It took about an hour to go through all the insulation. I am definitely an amateur at this. I had a really hard time estimating how many bales of insulation remained, and came down from the attic a couple of times to check with Sven. If I were to do this again, I would do a couple things differently: First, I would try to have some sort of walkie talkie (or maybe just a local skype call) between the two workers. Secondly, I'd try to estimate how high the final insulation would be, and make some hash marks with a super-large sharpie on the truss uprights to keep myself consistent.

But it all worked out. The machine was surprisingly quiet, and Sven said it worked great at his end. On my end, insulation just puffed out the hose, looking a lot like pink snow. I was pretty glad I was wearing the respirator, as little flakes of fiberglass were drifting in the air the whole time the I was in the attic. The range of wasn't that great - maybe ten feet or so.

The ceiling slopes up to the right in that bottom photo - I wasn't quite that bad at distributing the insulation.

I had put plastic sheeting up over the closet door, to keep the mess contained - I didn't want fiberglass getting into the bedroom. Interestingly, there was a strong and steady draft into the closet, and then up into the attic. Which was great for keeping the mess contained, but strongly indicates I need to find a way to seal the attic access - if I don't, all this hard work with the insulation will just be routed around, through the access door.

(I could try to keep the closet door closed, but let's be honest: going way overboard and designing and building a fully automated, submarine-grade attic access would be easier than convincing Brianna to keep the closet door shut).

Here's the mess in the closet at the end of the project, and most of that fell down while I was doing the area immediately surrounding the attic access:

Unfortunately, the attic is tired of me entering and exiting so much, and the drywall cracked:

I think that's the first time I have legitimately left something worse at the end of a project.

Sigh. What's a little more drywall to patch and paint? I've done so much already.

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