Sunday, April 17, 2016

The DIY Designer - Insulating the Attic

As a do-it-yourself designer I often work with clients who also want to do the work themselves.  They sometimes just need someone to work out the design, help with product selection, guide them in the process and keep the project moving.  Although I am predominantly a  kitchen and bath designer, I get a variety of questions from my DIY clients.  Questions range from How can I get more use out of this spare room? and How do I paint my kitchen cabinets? to How can I get rid of  all this clutter? and How can I soundproof this room?.  Last year one of my clients asked me about insulation.  From a builders presentation at KBIS, I had some current knowledge about insulation but  I still asked a builder friend of mine before passing on any information to my client.  Well, Saturday morning we worked on blowing insulation into the attic, so I got to use some of my own advise and leaned more in the process. It took about an hour and a half.

While Al was in the attic with the hose blowing in the insulation, I was breaking up the cellulose insulation and filling up the blower.  It's messy work, hard on the back but I wouldn't classify it as hard work.

When we built our house sometime ago we used panel insulation.  It was a bit overwhelming because bits of fiberglass would cling to my clothing and would find their way to any exposed skin I had forgotten to cover up.  But this process was a whole lot easier.

Setting the blower up was easy but you have to do it correctly for it to work efficiently.  The bigger  gauge(wire) and the shorter cord seemed to work better.  The blower will shut itself off from time to time if something isn't connected correctly.  Or it may not start at all, depending on what is wrong with the connection.

Once you are up and running, the process is simple - just keep everything moving and never put your hand down in the blower. You will have to stop from time to time though to sweep up the fibers that got away and to drink some water.

The blower works better when you break up the cellulose into small pieces, the bigger chunks take the blower longer to process.  This fiber material is not the old fiberglass material, this is an 85% recycled material made from newspapers that includes a fire retardant.  However, you still need to wear protective clothing - gloves and a breathing mask for sure. You do not want to breath in this stuff.  I don't think I would do this if I had asthma or any respiratory issue.   As with any project you endeavor always read all the instructions first.

So, that project is done.  Onto the next one.

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