Balance Attic Insulation and Storage Space
LESLIE: Frank in South Carolina needs some help with some insulation. What can we do for you?
FRANK: I am looking at purchasing an older home and it has a full walk-up attic from side to side and it was built in the mid-40s. And the floor inside the attic is lumber laid diagonally across the floor joist of the attic. They appear to be – shoot – probably 2x6s; something I haven’t really seen before.
TOM: Mm-hmm; the floorboard. Not the floor joists but the floor surface?
FRANK: The floor surface is the diagonal boards, yes.
FRANK: And I would assume that it has not been insulated or well-insulated and I’m wondering what I can do to insulate that without having to pull all these individual boards up, which I very seriously doubt I can get them all up.
TOM: Well, do you know if there’s insulation under it right now?
FRANK: The best I can see, very, very little.
TOM: OK, and how much do you care about whether or not you have storage space up there?
FRANK: I’d like to utilize the storage space.
TOM: Well, if you – then you kind of want to have your cake and eat it too, Frank, in that situation. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: We would probably recommend you take up the floorboards and make sure that those ceiling joist cavities are totally insulated; filled completely with probably unfaced fiberglass, not faced. Unfaced fiberglass …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, to the top of those joists themselves and then again across those joists so that you have way more insulation; sort of building up above the floor itself.
TOM: See, the problem is, Frank, you need more insulation than you have ceiling joist…
LESLIE: Than those bays allow.
TOM: … depth to fill in. So you’re going to have to have some insulation up and above the ceiling joists and you can’t compress it. Now, if you want to just do something that’s a lot easier and maybe have a little less insulation, what you want to do is sort of carve out the area, perhaps around the attic stair, that you can use for storage and for the rest of the area go out and pick up some unfaced fiberglass batts; lay them right on top of that floor. That will give you some additional insulating power without you having to rip up the floor. But again, you have to sort of carve out some area where you’re going to store. You’ll have less insulation there and more insulation in the areas perhaps towards the outside walls.
FRANK: Alright, well I certainly appreciate it. Thank you very much. I enjoy your show.
TOM: You’re welcome, Frank. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.