You absolutely can spend your entire weekend running to Cumberland Hardware to buy caulk and foam sealant; shifting things around in your attic; carrying forgotten crap out to the yard for an impromptu East Nasty yard sale; sealing air leaks and sweating; driving to the Depot to rent a cellulose insulation blower; buying insulation, goggles, gloves, and face masks; grabbing couple 4-packs of Smith & Lentz; setting up and sweating; blowing insulation and sweating; returning equipment to the Depot; cleaning up insulation particles, drinking beer, and sweating; showering, and sleeping.
Oh, and you’ll probably want to line up a buddy to help you, too. Preferably one who likes to be paid in IPA.
How to Insulate Your Hot, Spidery East Nashville Attic
We’re going to assume you’re using loose fill insulation because it works best for attics with irregular or nonstandard joist spacing and it allows you to work around all the stuff in your attic that you didn’t sell at the yard sale. Plus, you can blow it over existing (dry) insulation because it fills in all those little nooks and crannies so well.
Step 1: Seal Air Leaks
Using spray foam (or caulk for smaller gaps), completely seal any gaps around plumbing pipes, exhaust fans, windows, ducts, or other wiring holes. If you already have insulation, pull back the existing insulation and catch any holes that may be hidden underneath.
Step 2: Install Rafter Vents
To promote a healthy airflow and to keep your roof cool (which is ideal in the summer and can prevent ice dams in the winter), install rafter vents along the overhang. You’ll want to position the roof vents about six inches into the overhang and staple it into place.
Step 3: Insulate the Attic Access
Using weatherstripping and batting or foam board insulation, cover your attic access hatch with a nice layer of insulation. Or, make a removable insulated box that fits tightly over your attic access point. Or, you can just buy an attic tent from Amazon (we’re pretty sure the lady popping out of the tent is not included).
Step 4: Mark Your Fill Lines
Measure up from the drywall or attic floor to mark your targeted insulation level. Use a permanent marker to mark the spot on every few trusses — it’s dark up there and it’s going to be dusty and sweaty when you start blowing the insulation in. This will help you know how much insulation you need and will help ensure even coverage around your entire attic.
Step 5: Pick Up the Blower and Insulation
You reserved a blower first, right? Okay, good. Here’s where your buddy comes in: ask your second-in-command to help you load the blower into your vehicle and set it up on a tarp by the window or door closest to your attic opening. Lay tarps down under the hoses to help make clean-up easier. Fill up the blower and grab your cellphone so you can communicate with one another.
Climb on up there and start blowing. Your buddy will keep the hopper filled as needed.
Don’t forget to wear eye protection, a long-sleeve shirt (really) and gloves. You’ll also need a double-strap mask that fits snugly or a particulate respirator. Start as far away from the access panel as possible and blow insulation into the eaves and other tight spots first.
If your insulation exceeds your marking by an inch or two, it’s okay. It’ll settle.
Oh! And be careful not to step through the ceiling.
Step 6: Return the Blower and Clean-Up
That’s it! Easy as hotcakes. Return the blower and then crack open one of those IPAs we mentioned earlier. It’ll make clean-up easier. Give the rest to your buddy.
Or, if you live in East Nashville or Madison, just contact Cumberland Cooling at 615-576-0742 to discuss attic insulation, air conditioning units, compressors, ductwork, or excessive sweating. Estimates and opinions are always free.