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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Insulation installed 20 years ago - the wrong way - How can I fix?

    Some 20-25 years ago I thought I'd save my mother some money and I added insulation (Manville **** w/vapor barrier) to her 1000 square foot house. (built in 1958, Dallas, TX)
    I recently went up in same attic to check on why there seems to be "hot spots" in the house. Mainly in the small hallway by the bathroom. (2/1 attached garage)
    She still has a Friedrick 18,000 BTU window A/C in the living room that is used to cool most of the house. Another smaller window unit is in one of the bedrooms.

    Much to my dismay, when I shined the flashlight on the insulation I discovered the vapor barrier is facing the attic, not down towards the ceiling - like all instructions say it's supposed to face. (I also layed it directly over (between rafters) the old insulation, probably 2inches were left of the original stuff.
    I don't remember what I was thinking all those years ago (or not thinking more like it) because it looks like I've committed 2 errors. (not laying it across the rafters, and not installing with barrier facing down)
    (Seeing the instructions printed every 4-5 feet on the Vapor barrier saying, "The vapor retarder facing on this product will burn and must not be left exposed." Didn't help my pride either.)
    So, my question is should I pull it up and re-do with the vapor barrier facing down, and across the rafters? Or, since I layed it over existing insulation, did I actually do it the right way?
    I'm still confused. :0)

    Thanks for any help...[/I][/I][/FONT]


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Insulation installed 20 years ago - the wrong way - How can I fix?

    The vapor barrier should be installed toward the predominately warm side of the structure. If you are in a southerly climate it should be as you described since cooling the structure is the primary concern. If you are in a northerly climate then it should be the opposite of your description since heating would be your primary concern.

    If you're in a mixed climate, you're on your own!!

    Seriously, if it is a mixed climate, and you're dealing with fiberglass i would consider cutting slits in the paper. Especially if the older insulation below has a vapor barrier against the ceiling, it is a bad thing to have insulation sandwiched between two vapor barriers.

    What does it look like after 20 years? Have you noticed any negative effects of moisture on the ceilings or in the attic space having the paper the way it is?
    Last edited by bp21901; 06-09-2010 at 10:37 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Insulation installed 20 years ago - the wrong way - How can I fix?

    Thanks BP..the fiberglass looks really good after 20 years...and I am relieved that I won't be spending a full day up there!
    One more item I saw today. Soffit vents.
    My mothers house has the venting on the ends of the house up high, yet no soffit vents in the front or back. It was very hot and stuffy in the attic last night when I looked around some more, and maybe installing 5 in the front and 5 in the back could take some of the heat out and cool the house a little more.
    Thanks again!

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