Our home insulation saga continued this past week. Three men from the company we contracted pulled into our driveway Friday morning with all the equipment they needed to blow cellulose insulation (shredded newspaper) into our third floor attic.
Luckily they were three nice, neat guys, but I learned that installing insulation takes a lot longer and is a lot messier than I ever expected.
My husband and I prepped the space by removing just about everything from our third floor living area. The few pieces of furniture we left, including a few boxes, sofa and small dresser, needed to be covered with a drop cloth. The dresser wasn't (OOPS) and you can see in the accompanying photo album that it was coated with dust. We didn't move things out of our attic, but put everything in a pile and left a clear pathway to the attic perimeter where the roof meets the floor.
When the workmen came into the house they lined our stairways with a special kind of plastic that adhered lightly to the carpet. That was necessary because they tracked a lot of dust in and out of the house as the day wore on.
Our insulation team had a very long hose, probably about 50 feet, and about 3 inches in diameter, which was attached to their shredded cellulose machine. They threaded that hose through the side window at the landing of our staircase that runs from the second to third floor.
On our third floor, an office/bedroom and a large bathroom run from the front to the back of the house. The right and left sides of our Dutch Colonial are flanked by attic space. The left side, as you're facing the house, is usable attic space, and the right side is just an empty cavity with no door. The staircase and landing sit between the two rooms. You enter the usable attic through a door at the top of the landing.
The insulators started with the usable attic, where they drilled about nine holes in the wood floorboard and several more around the chimney before blowing in insulation. That process, including positioning the hose, laying drop cloths and floor plastic and installing cellulose took them 3 to 3 1/2 hours. But it only took care of one side of our third floor “attic space.”
Since the other space that needed insulation was on the other side of the finished rooms and didn't have easy access (aka, a door), our installers had to saw a small rectangular hole in our office room wall that the skinniest of the trio could fit through. That poor guy had to climb through a roughly 2-foot by 3-foot opening and into our unused “attic” space to determine if there was a slight opening between the front and back of the house where the workman could insert the hose and blow in cellulose into the back cavity space. Unfortunately, there wasn't. The staircase and various supports were in the way.
So, after filling the front floor area between the office and the roof with several inches of cellulose, the workmen had to cut three 2-inch holes in the bathroom wall in the back of house to blow cellulose into that area. Sounds pretty straightforward, but this entire procedure--insulating the two attic cavities on the right side of the house--from beginning to end, including clean up, took them at least another four hours. The total insulation job took a total of about eight hours.
They left our house a little after 6:00 p.m. with a check for $1,700 in the boss's pocket. Less than a week later we received the necessary forms to apply for our 30% tax credit, which will bring the final cost closer to $1,200. Assuming an average heating oil price of $-----per gallon, we think we can recoup that expense in three or four years. Not too bad. We're already feeling more comfortable!