Did you know… being Franchise Relations manager at Eco Insulation does not qualify you to install insulation?

But here is the thing – I was not going to call GNI.

It all started when…. I pulled out my cupboards and discovered that most likely the house was built around those cupboards. Part of the ceiling fell in, the wall showed obvious rot from a leak we had fixed 13 years earlier – completely dry and spongy. It went Poof when I hit it with a hammer.

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It was time to investigate.

I started out very wise – in a retrofit situation, remove the cover off an outlet and see what you find…

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When I pulled off the cover, part of the wall fell off – not my fault – quite obvious that it used to be a double outlet. Right?

See all the insulation sticking out? No?

Empty walls. Could we do drill and fill? Not likely – we had no idea what the construction of the house was. We ripped off 2-3 layers of panelling and crazy membranes to reveal wood planks that had dried and separated – those that hadn’t also rotted.

Turns out the wall wasn’t completely empty – we found a newspaper from 1936!! That is two years before Time Magazine declared Adolf Hitler man of the year.

At this point I decided “Spray Foam Fixes Everything.”

But how much to spray? Currently my idea is to spray  2 or 3 inches on the full wall plus a foot onto the ceiling. But… there was nothing to spray to. So here is my plan –

  • Staple poly onto the 2x4s that would hold up an attic deck if it existed. (I had to back up here and build some 2x4s to replace the rotted ones).
  • Once the poly is in place – okay at least up to the trusses – slide some batts across the poly and down to the top of the wall and fit in place.
  • Spray foam the wall, the exposed batt and the poly to seal it all in place.
  • Drywall the entire smorgasborg

First I donned my sexy protective suit from mask down to work boots and pulled off the attic hatch. No photo available for this step somehow. Hmm must be an oversight 🙂

Did I mention I live in a story-and-a-half home with the highest point about 2.5 feet tall. I crawled in anyway – didn’t want extra time to actually think about it. And it turns out that I am still claustrophobic. And that old attics are insulated with wood chips, chunks of compressed fiberglass and raccoon poop.

After writing all of those beautiful Technical Bulletins with Shawn I had visions of peeling back batts of nice clean fiberglass and setting it aside, then sitting on a plank and stapling poly in place.

I will tell you what I did NOT imagine:

  • I did not picture using a rake and shovel to claw piles of crap out of eaves. (I tried to cheat and use the Shop Vac but man does it fill up fast.)
  • I did not picture lying flat on my belly draped in cob webs and spiders trying to build up the strength to use at staple gun at arm’s length.
  • I did not picture it being so hot that I was stuck to my protective suit within 20 minutes
  • I did not picture how much a bag of insulation expands when you open it. I thought it was really quite clever to open the bag inside the attic so I would make such a mess in the finished space.

Did you know… that when you open a 2 foot bag of insulation in a 2.5 foot space very very bad things happen?

Here it is AFTER I crawled on top of it to squash it down and laboriously peel off 7 batts!!

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Did you know that time passes differently when in an attic – one hour “on the inside” is like four hours of normal time. I really think insulation people are worth more than surgeons. They get to work in clean, well-lit rooms with a slew of helpers. They shouldn’t need more than minimum wage.