How to walk in an attic with blown insulation – Ways to work
Insulation in the attic isn’t anything unusual. Despite the popular demand for fiberglass batt insulation or rolls of fiberglass, blow-in insulations are the emerging trend. It’s simply because of one reason:
An increased delta in the R-value.
And, the common rule of thumb is, the higher the R-value, the better (R-value is the heat resistance for insulation, by the way).
While blown-in insulation is becoming more of a commodity, there is a rising problem on the horizon.
How to walk in an attic with blown insulation
Fortunately, this is the problem we will try to address today. We will give you some insightful solutions that have worked for many people. So, let’s get started.
What is blown-in insulation?
You will find blown-in insulation in about 20% of homes in America. The contractors make a small hole in the exterior wall and push small particles of insulation with a pump into the spaces of your house.
The same device can push insulation within your attic’s thick layer. These insulations work as a radiant barrier and help increase energy efficiency.
These insulations must remain undisturbed and intact. If you walk in an attic having blown insulation, it will disturb your protection.
Every movement you make in the attic can displace vital materials. This can cause you to shiver in the winter.
Blown-in insulation (Cellulose): The Advantages
Although the prime suspect of today’s discussion is blown-in insulation, it’s got a few good perks that make it very appealing overall. But, before diving into the benefits, some background information is needed, of course.
First of all, cellulose blown-in insulation is on the top for attic insulation. It’s a combination of woody constituents like cardboard, newspapers, etc. Before application, they process it using various resistive substances (e.g., boric acid).
The rest of the process is kind of interesting. First, they get completely processed cellulose into bags. Then with the help of a mechanical blower, it’s spread onto the surface in the attic. It’s almost like putting foam over a cake!
They are cost-friendly
Cellulose is way cheaper in contrast to blown fiberglass. You are pretty much looking at a 600 to 800 dollar investment in cellulose insulation in contrast to 1500+ dollars of investment in fiberglass for 1000-sq—feet of space.
Easy installation with proper insulation
If you are a DIY user, then you will be pretty happy with the blown-in insulation service. Not only does it offer solid insulation material (The R-value can go up to 3.8, which is around 3.6 for fiberglass), the self-installation efforts are feasible as well.
Blown-in insulation: The drawbacks
There are certain disadvantages to having cellulose insulation. Although the advantages are pretty substantial on paper, the problems it causes aren’t easy to get by.
It will not dry easily
One of the prime problems with this insulation is that it doesn’t dry easily. And that’s a very extensive problem if you are living in a cold and mushy weather condition. The longer it takes to dry, the more your problems will magnify.
Mold will come to haunt you
Mold is an inevitable issue with loose-fill insulation. Despite all the processing it goes through, you will probably find yourself paying a contractor to haul out tubs of mold from the attic. The sight isn’t very pleasing. Nor is the investment.
Heat is also a concern
Only when the insulation is around light fixture canisters, the heat can be a danger. In reality, blown-in home insulation can handle a good amount of heat flow and air leakage. Still, the canisters can be the source of high to extreme levels of heat. And this can be a concerning factor.
How to walk in an attic with blown insulation: ways to work the problem?
“My attic isn’t that easy to work on because of the amount of blown-in insulation. And advice on how I can improve my situation?”
It’s a common question in the minds of many folks who don’t really know how to tackle the situation.
In that case, there’s just one solid solution.
Sweeping the insulation from the joists
This is the easy way to do it. First of all, you’ll need to find suitable boards that are easy to walk on. Just make sure they are straight and don’t wiggle around too much on the plain.
Once you’ve done that, just go to the attic and remove the insulation carefully from the joists. Try and do a clean job here, as it may mess with the overall heat insulation performance.
After you’ve finished your job, carefully place the insulation back to where it was. So, if we were, to sum up, the whole thing, you’ll be:
- Finding a suitable work board that stays stable.
- Remove the insulation with the rigid foam board before any task in the attic.
- Get the insulation back to where it was after you have completed the job.
You could also use a fixed-handle shovel to remove the insulation. There shouldn’t be any issues with it.
Laying down loose walking boards
This solution is far more efficient and will not be messy! The steps you need to take here are as follows:
1. Find a suitable set of wooden walking boards (planks). In general, many folks like to use 2×6-inch planks. Make sure they are sturdy enough to hold weight properly.
2. Now there are two things you can do:
2.1 You could lay the plywood directly on the insulation.
If the insulation is not thick enough, you may lose some insulation efficiency. Also, the possibility of insulation going through the crack underneath is also a possibility.
2.2 You could lay them on the joists, building a catwalk-like structure.
This is more of a common practice, where the maintenance personnel doesn’t have to go through any hassle. The risk of losing heat also becomes minimal.
Is Cellulose Insulation Safe to Breathe?
People always ask us this question at oh the lovely things. Cellulose insulation comes from recycled and ripped-up newspapers. You may find a little bit of paper fiber in it. Don’t worry; it is just recycled paper material.
In total, the presence of paper content is around 75-85% in this insulation. There are also fire retardant materials like ammonium sulfate and boric acid. This insulation has the highest amount of recycled content presence than any insulation method. So undoubtedly it is the best environment-friendly choice. You can minimize your own carbon footprint by using this product.
All in all, cellulose loose-fill insulation is an affordable, non-toxic, highly efficient solution to your insulation needs. So, why not buy it today?
How to stay safe while working in the attic
It doesn’t matter whether you do your own repair or hire someone else to do it; safety should be your top priority. Most attics are full of cables, wires, and pipes. You can call it a no man’s land of hazards. There can be asbestos, potentially dangerous materials, insects, or high heat
So before attempting to work in an attic, you need to learn the safety tips. If you hire someone to do it for yourself, you should make sure the attic is free of any hazards.
6 Safety Tips for working in an attic
Here are some basic tips and precautions for you to consider before going into an attic :
1. Wear suitable clothes
The standard costume before entering into an attic is a pair of pants and gloves with a long sleeve shirt. These items will protect you from any irritation and insulation.
You should consider wearing a baseball cap or a hoodie to prevent any nails or scrapes from sticking through.
Most safety experts and professionals recommend a hard hat. But we hear people say that they can not pay attention to details if they wear a hard hat. So we leave it to your preference.
2. Wear a respirator
Wear a disposable N95. It should be enough to prevent something from getting into your lungs. They will protect you from dust, airborne fibers, and harmful objects. You should also wear goggles or safety glasses to stop anything from going into your eyes.
3. Wear appropriate shoes
Most of the attics are full of electrical wires, plumbing, ductwork, and cross braces. You don’t want to step on any of that. So if possible, create a temporary platform to walk on or use walk boards.
If you have any experience in rock climbing, this will help you walk in an attic. How is that?
In rock climbing, the first lesson is to have three points of contact before making any moves. Keep that in mind while working in attic insulation.
4. Bring a light source
Bring a flashlight and a work light with you. We recommend bringing a flashlight even if your attic has an adequate light source. With a flashlight, you can check the areas where light can not reach.
5. Do not disturb the insulation
The insulation will keep down the fibers, mold, dust, dirt in the attic flooring. Do not disturb them even if you have protective gear because they will stick to your clothes and move to your living space with you.
But you can’t always stay alert. So you should vacuum yourself off with a vacuum cleaner. Put a drop cloth under the hatch and vacuum yourself. Carefully vacuum any particles that you have knocked through it.
If you spot tube, knob, cloth-covered wiring, old wiring, signs of animals, animals, or vermiculite insulation, leave it as it is. Do some research and bring an expert to get rid of these items.
6. Take a tetanus shot
Do you remember your last tetanus shot? If you had your last tetanus shot more than seven years ago, get a booster shot. Take care of any cuts or knicks as promptly and properly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s mark some of the common queries that may come to your mind and find their answers.
- How do I maneuver my attic with blown insulation?
If you have enough space in the attic, use a snow shovel, broom, or something to push it aside. The best outcome might come from a sweeping side broom—no need to broom it all. Just broom down to the attic rafters of the ceiling in your working path.
- Is blown-in attic insulation worth it?
You will definitely earn some benefit from installing blown spray foam insulation in the attic unless the house is relatively new. Installing blown insulation will increase the value of your house, decrease the cost of electricity bills, and make your house a more comfortable place to live in the winter and summer.
- How much does it cost to insulate a 1500 square feet attic?
Proper attic insulation will cost you around 1-5$ per square foot. The cost does not involve the structural insulation panels installation price. To insulate a 1500 square feet attic, you might have to pay around $1500 to $7000.
- Should I remove old insulation before adding new insulation?
As per the advice of the insulation specialist contractors, you should remove the old fiberglass insulation before the cellulose insulation installation. The removal of the existing insulation will reduce the damage caused by the rodent excrement, mold, or mildew in the ceiling joist or soffit vent.
- Will insulating my attic space make my house cooler?
An insulating material does not let a house get too much hot air. In this way, it can work as air conditioning. But, the insulation reduces the air movement in the roof deck by air sealing. The air seal will not let the cool air leak. This reduces indoor air quality. This is called convection.
Above all, you can save up to 10% on cooling if you install loose-fill fiberglass insulation in your attic floor insulation. However, our solutions on how to walk in an attic with blown insulation; ways to work the problem may not be to the liking of many.
Frankly speaking, the human mind is very creative when it comes to solving problems. And our goal for today was to introduce you to some of the suggestions that work. That much we can guarantee.
But if you do find anything that can be helpful, don’t forget to share it with us. We will be more than happy to convey your message to the readers out there.
Good luck and happy hunting!