Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Throw money in your walls not out your roof

I think it's time to cash in a certain Christmas gift that involved a massage because this past weekend I spent 10 hours army crawling around my attic (thanks to the AWESOME help of the father!). My kinda good time. JK. BUT it was all in the name of an efficient home. You see, the heat that my furnace was giving off, was literally going right out the roof.

How do I know this? Well a few clues: The upstairs was FREEZING (also due to a broken window and the heat not being turned on up there...) and in the location of the attic you can see a little dip in the snow on my roof, meaning that the roof is venting out warm air melting the snow which is dripping down until it can freeze again (at the eves) creating icicles.

Side note: who needs a fence in the winter with all this snow? Literally burying my house.


The picture below shows a few of the icicles, but also of the ice dayyym. See, as the snow melts on my roof (where the heat is escaping) it's falling down towards my gutters (no heat here) and freezing back up causing an ice dayyym. So phase 1 to get rid of these is to insulate thy attic. You can also see what roof vents are in the image below under the eves.



K see the pictures below, the first is with a flash so you can see wassup in thur. The second is without. That light? Is outside. WHICH IS FINE. But the rest of the space was on an insulation-lite mode and just wouldn't do for a building science geeko like me.



A BRIEF idea of how attics work (well, the one in my house, there are different types, k?): Think of buildings like a living organism. They need to breathe and air out (so it doesn't get moldy/frost inside). The overhangs on my roof has soffits, this is where air comes into the attic and is to float through the attic and up the roof. Which is good, and healthy. But the interior envelope of the home needs to be tight and properly insulated so that this cold air doesn't penetrate causing a cold atmosphere and heat loss. 

Steps  to beef up your attic insulation:

1. Add roof vents. This will help direct the air through the attic and up into the peak of the roof and keeps the insulation out of those pockets. These are super easy to install with a staple gun. Add these wherever you see light (where the soffits are located)


2. Add shims to beef up the walls. You don't want to squish insulation, you want to allow it to live at it's full width to get the full R-value of the batt. We added 1x2 shims to the studs so we could staple the insulation batts onto them creating more room for the batt to sit. 


3. Start adding the insulation. We started on the floor boards, adding batts directly on top of the batts that previously were there to create a thicker barrier between the inside of my home and the cold air. 


Step 4: Insulate the walls! Using a staple gun and kraft paper faced insulation, it was a pretty simple install. 


Overall, the prep was by far the hardest part. There were areas that needed 2x4's added to get even beefier insulation, and of course the obligatory 2 trips to the hardware store ate up some time. But installing the actual insulation went as fast as we were able to cut the panels and refill the stapler. 

Time will tell if our plan worked! But for a couple hundred dollars in materials, this will surely pay off shortly thanks to this lingering winter!


BUT, you knew I couldn't just end a post with some lame pictures of insulation in a creepy attic right? Thanks to my mudar, resident painter extraordinaire, we have another little transformation!






This color is a little hard to take an accurate picture of, especially with the non-existent sun - BUT it's a nice light green to spruce up the space. Looks so much better sans carpet/cream walls. Also, a little surprised it took this man a whole month of seeing these beauties before he took a screwdriver to them.


Little by little people, little by little. 


2 comments:

  1. This is exactly what I was looking for. I just bought my first house and I have a feeling that I need to either increase my attic insulation or replace it all together because this entire winter my upstairs was freezing and my energy bills were outrageous. I don't go in my attic at all so I have no idea what it looks like up there. I never even thought to take a picture or even take a look at my roof when it was covered in snow. That is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much for sharing, this was very helpful. On a side note, the light green color is gorgeous! That is one of my favorite colors.

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    1. It's always a good idea to add insulation! You shouldn't need to replace it, just add right on top - unless it has asbestos or has water damage. Good luck :)

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