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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Attic-Insulation Upgrade Takes a Wrong Step

comments (4) November 22nd, 2011 in Blogs
DonBurgard Don Burgard, Copy editor

This is what 50 bags of cellulose insulation looks like.
Blowing cellulose really is as messy as they say it is.
When I put my foot down, I dont mess around.
Even with a bruised ego, I was still able to appreciate the strange beauty of an attic covered in cellulose.
This is what 50 bags of cellulose insulation looks like.Click To Enlarge

This is what 50 bags of cellulose insulation looks like.


Over the weekend, I blew a layer of cellulose insulation into my attic. With about 10 bags to go, I was already thinking about how good that beer would taste when I finished. And then my foot went through the ceiling.


I was nearing the end of a project that included installing a new attic ladder, ducting two bath fans and a range-hood fan through the roof, air-sealing cracks and ceiling penetrations, and surrounding the whole-house fan and attic hatch with plywood boxes. All of this work was directed toward tightening the attic and preparing it for the cellulose. After about two hours of blowing, I was moving backward, in the direction of the attic hatch, when I lost my balance trying to move the hose out of the way. Although I was able to grab a nearby piece of vertical bracing, I couldn't break my fall enough to avoid driving my foot hard through the drywall below. In an instant, my glee over a job nearing completion turned to despair.


Offering a boost to my depleted spirits, my wife (who had been feeding the blower out on the deck) volunteered to buy a sheet of drywall so that I could patch the hole and we could finish blowing the cellulose. While she was gone, I trimmed out the opening. Three hours later, the opening was patched, the remaining bags of insulation had been blown into the attic, and the mess on the floor below had been cleaned up.


If you're thinking there's a lesson here, you're right. Despite the countless hours I had spent in my attic with no greater disaster than the occasional bump on the head, all it took was a moment of carelessness to turn my anticipated celebration of a job well done into a mess I had to fix. In retrospect, I can be glad that the only injury I suffered was to my ego, but I'm still disappointed that I wasn't able to cross the finish line of my long project with arms raised in victory. 


I still haven't had that beer yet. Maybe I'll feel more like celebrating when I get my heating bill for January.


posted in: Blogs, insulation, attic insulation, cellulose
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Comments (4)

Jordon786 Jordon786 writes: Have you ever thought about foam board for [url=]attic insulation[/url]? Rigid foam insulation panels to fully seal and insulate the attic directly beneath the roof rafters and directly inside the gable ends.
Posted: 3:39 pm on March 5th

DonBurgard DonBurgard writes: With fiberglass batts already in place, I planned to add a 7-in. to 8-in. layer of cellulose on top. After doing some calculations, I decided 50 bags would do the trick. Here in Connecticut, both Lowe's and Home Depot sell a product made by Green Fiber, so that's what I used. At Home Depot, you can use the machine for free with the purchase of at least 20 bags. (According to the website, Lowe's offers the machine free with 25 bags.) The total cost to insulate the attic was equal to the total cost of the insulation: $500.
Posted: 1:34 pm on December 1st

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: This is good stuff, Don. Would you mind telling us how much cellulose you installed and what it cost? Where did you get the machine and did you have to pay a rental fee?
Posted: 8:06 am on November 30th

bruceclarke1949 bruceclarke1949 writes: Well Don I was just thinking about blowing cellulose insulation into my attic, You have reminded me to be extra careful.
Posted: 6:14 pm on November 29th

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