Attic Insulation

February 19, 2017

As mentioned in the previous post, the attic of my house had virtually no insulation in it. Indianapolis is sort of in a weird place when it comes to weather. We don’t often get heavy snowfalls or bitter cold in the winter, however, they do happen every so often. Since heat rises, an uninsulated attic lets out a lot of heat. Adding insulation is like putting a thick quilt over the top of the house, trapping most of the heat underneath it, which is what you want in winter. By trapping the heat, the heating bills should be lower. So the theory goes, at least.

In fall of 2016, I started looking at insulation, hoping to install it before winter. My first choice was to get insulation made from recycled denim, but it isn’t carried by stores in my area and getting it shipped to my house would have been prohibitively expensive. Fiberglass insulation is also expensive, but it’s available almost everywhere. Reluctantly, I decided to go with fiberglass because it’s cheaper and more commonly available. The final product I chose was Owens-Corning kraft-faced R-38 batts. Each floor of the house is a little over 800 sq ft, so I planned on getting that much insulation. Since each pallet of insulation covers approximately 320 sq ft, I bought two pallets and planned on seeing how much I needed after going through it all.

Due to financial circumstances, I didn’t buy the insulation until January 2017 at a cost of a little over $1000.00. Each pallet had eight bundles of insulation, and inside each bundle were eight batts of insulation. The hole to access the attic is in a closet on the second floor, and the hole itself is pretty narrow. I tried to fit a whole bundle through the hole, but it was to large. In the end, I cut open the bundle and fed the batts through the hole one at a time. It was pretty tedious, but I eventually got the hang of it.

In the attic, there isn’t a lot of room around the access hole, so at first I was feeding four batts into the attic, before climbing up and putting them in their proper spots. This got to be pretty annoying since it took more time to get the batts into the attic than it did to place them. The first day I placed 20 batts (of 128) before giving up (I was doing this after work, so I was already a bit tired).

The next day, again after work, I figured out I could throw the batts away from the access hole, near where I wanted them placed. Doing this, I would have 8 – 10 batts in the attic before I climbed up to place them properly. That day I placed 38 batts.

The following day, I took a day off and saved the rest for the weekend. That Saturday, I placed enough batts to cover pretty much the entire attic, and I still had two bundles (16 batts) of insulation left. I’m saving those because I’ll probably be able to use them later.

Insulating the attic was a bit haphazard, in my opinion. The attic had, and still has, quite a bit of debris left over from where the roof had been repaired at some point. Plus there was the blown-in cellulose insulation. I laid the fiberglass over the debris and the cellulose, but when I start renovating rooms on the second floor I’ll get rid of the cellulose and construction debris at the same time. The nice things about the insulation batts is that I can move them around and get them out of the way while I’m doing the renovations, then I can put them back later. During the renovations, I plan on installing the fiberglass properly.

Access to the attic.

Access to the attic.


A bunch of bundles of batts.

A bunch of bundles of batts.


Dressed appropriately for the job.

Dressed appropriately for the job.


One of the birds' nests in the attic.

One of the birds’ nests in the attic.


The first batt is installed.

The first batt is installed.


More debris from roof repair.

More debris from roof repair.


Debris from roof repair.

Debris from roof repair.


About half way done.

About half way done.