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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    112

    Default How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    Doing a tear off on my roof my friend noticed I have no vapor barrier between my attic floor and the ceiling below. The blown in insulation,probably original from the 60's,is sitting right on top of the drywall ceiling with no vapor barrier.
    I guess I would have to remove the very thin layer (about 6-8") of insulation in my attic,and I would want to replace with a much higher R value faced insulation.
    What is the easiest way to get this old stuff out? My attic is only about 4' tall at the roof peak,and it goes down from there towards the soffits. I'm talking about 1200 sq. ft. of attic space here. Digging it out by hand and putting it into garbage bags seems like a nightmare of a job,especially laying on my belly the whole time.
    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    To be honest, it is doubtful that you'll see any benefits what-so-ever from adding a vapor barrier, unless you have moisture issues already.

    It is going to be a pain in the patootie, no matter how you remove it, probably the easiest way will be with a shop vac, but you're still going to have to empty the shop vac into bags. There might be an industrial vacuum method available, check with a few insulating contractors and see if they do removal and what the cost is.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    There is moisture damage. The roof is being replaced because the sheathing is rotting,while the shingles on top are still in good shape. The sheathing came off in splinters it was so moist.
    We also found both my bathroom vents to be vented directly into the attic,not outside. Also 9 of the 12 soffit vents were covered when I had the house sided about 10 years ago. The new soffit vents were in place,but the siding installers didn't remove,or at least open up, the original wood underneath the new soffit vent panels. So most were pretty much there for "decoration",venting nothing.
    All in all,ALL my sheathing rotted. I just want to make sure it does not happen again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    It is a first class PITA job but worth doing.

    Perhaps you can rake the insulation to one side, put down the plastic then rake the insulation to the other side to plastic the remainder. Or something like that.

    Tell us more about this roof. Did you add ridge and eave venting?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    I knew nothing about ridge vents till after it was too late,they're too far into the job now. I did have them add more of those old square type vents.
    I also had the company come out that sided the house,they are supposed to get back to me. I want them to open all the soffit vents and pay for at least some of the sheathing cost.
    I already vented the bathroom vents through a wall in the side of the house this weekend,so that issue is taken care of.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    Ideally you want ridge venting and eave venting with NO other venting. If you add ridge venting later, then defeat the square vents.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    I used a "dust collector" as opposed to a shop vac. I bought the plastic bags for the bottom, then just tied them off. If I have it right, they now make plastic liners for shop vacs, that would serve them same purpose.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    I used a dust collector to remove insulation from a job and it worked pretty well. I recycled the insulation after framing and sheetrock. Blew it back in. Used inline dust collector blower with trash can dust seperator into 55 gallon plastic drums lined with plastic bags lined bags. Used smaller 5 gallon cyclone close to suction hose to collect shingle grit and nails etc.
    Repurposed system for my shop vacume system

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How to remove old blown in insulation from attic

    I've also got some old blown-in cellulose insulation I'd like removed from my attic space so I can possibly do cathedral ceilings in my little old house. It's pretty gross and after having removed it in another part of the house with shop vac, dust pan and broom, would concur with other posters it is a big PITA job. I've called around and found a couple businesses that would suck it out with a big truck mounted vacuum so I'll probably do that this time. It's a little pricey, but probably worth it. One company does blown-in insulation and the other company is a crawlspace cleaning company. Good luck!

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