This is part 9 of the prep work we did to get everything ready to blow GreenFiber cellulose insulation in our attic. At the bottom of this post we have a link to every post in this series if you want to check out the whole shebang :)
Ahhhhhh!! After a week of prep work, it’s finally time to get to the finishing touches!! There were just a few last things we needed to do: replace our louver vent screen, set up marker guides for the insulation height, and pick up the blower, hose, and insulation.
At first, we thought we could do all that in a couple hours starting Saturday afternoon (after Evan’s sister’s graduation), and finish before 11:00 Saturday night, with an estimated 5-1/2 hours of blow time (based on people’s experiences in the GreenFiber reviews). Hahaha. Hahahahahahaha. It took us the rest of Saturday to do just the final prep, and we weren’t able to blow til Sunday.
So the first and quickest task was to replace a couple old beat up louver vent screens we found. Yes, as a homeowner I now know the term “louver vent.” It’s basically a wall vent in your attic about the size of a window that helps air circulate. The problem with ours was that the screens were so beat up we were worried about their ability to keep bugs out.
So we found a roll of window screen at Home Depot and brought it home to see if that would work. Evan was trying to remove the old screen but it was was SUCH a pain. It was rusted on solid, when he tried to budge it flakes flew off and made a rust cloud, and it made a horrible screeee noise like nails on a chalk board. He tried for a while but then realized that there was no real point. I guess aesthetically it would have looked better to remove the old and put in the new, but after this is all over we plan on spending as little time in the attic as possible… So we just stapled the new one over the old, why not. Then it was easy!
The louver vent was but a minor distraction though. The main event was a task to make blowing the insulation a bit easier on Evan. We bought a handful of $0.69 yardsticks from Home Depot and cut them into 13″ sections. Why 13″? Because based on the GreenFiber R-value calculator, we needed to add an additional R-25 to R-38 (since we already had 3-4″ of existing insulation). We decided to aim around the middle at R-30, and based on that we saw that we needed to add about 9.5″ to our insulation.
Since we estimated we have 3-4″ in most areas, we added 3.5″ to the 9.5″ and got 13″ total. After it settles, it’ll be closer to 12″, and we remembered our inspector saying that houses in this area should have 12″. So basically, all roads pointed to lucky number thirteen.
Evan cut the yardsticks and taped them with some bright yellow duct tape so that they’d stand out more in the dark attic. Then we proceeded to take goofy pictures with them.
I think we were starting to get loopy from the late nights and all the insulation dust we’ve been inhaling. Anyway, Evan went up and popped them wherever he thought they’d be helpful while I did one last walk through before we covered everything with cellulose. He also used extra yellow tape to mark 13″ up on studs around the perimeter of the attic.
Oh yes, and what’s that you see behind us on the left in our gangster ruler picture a few pics above? THAT’S RIGHT IT’S A BUTTLOAD OF GREENFIBER!!
How much is a buttload of bags? It’s 47 bags to be exact! We calculated we’d need around 44, but we got a few extras just in case. We also laid down some big plastic sheeting leftover from protecting our house against flooring dust so that cleanup would be easier after the fact. AND WE PICKED UP OUR BLOWER! You can rent it for free if you buy over 20 bags, you just have to put down a deposit (that you get back when you return it).
We noticed that Home Depot had the default blower people normally get with the rental, and a high-speed blower. Typically the high-speed blower is a separate paid rental, but we argued our way into getting it for free with just a slightly higher deposit- win! I guess it helps to know most of the managers there by name (we spend a lot of time at Home Depot…). On top of that, both Home Depot and Lowes will beat a competitors price by 10% if you can find a local competitor that offers a product cheaper. So I managed to find GreenFiber just a few cents cheaper per bag ahead of time, but hey, it was still technically cheaper, so we got 10% off our entire batch! Double win!
We also grabbed a couple super long hoses, they come in these big bulky trashcans.
A few tips about picking up your insulation:
- If you know someone with a big car, borrow it. The blower, GreenFiber bags, and hoses (that came in those big trashcans) took us three tips in a Toyota Sequoia. Can’t imagine how long that would have taken us if we hadn’t had access to a big car.
- Definitely lay down plastic in your garage, but be sure to lay it down in your car too!
- When you’re in the store, make sure the blower works! We read in the GreenFiber reviews that some people got it home and it didn’t work so they had to return it, what a hassle. (Note, the blower in the picture below is not the high speed one, which we didn’t spot til later).
- Speaking of blowers, if there’s a high speed one available you should see if you can rent it instead! Doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Check if your hose is the right length. We brought home the 100-ft hose and it wasn’t quite long enough, so we had to get an additional 50-ft hose to attach to it.
- Try to find a competitor that offers the product cheaper to get that extra 10% off!
- Get one of those attic door hatch covers or build your own to keep insulation from falling down your hatch into your house.
- This is kind of a tip for any attic work- make sure you put protective felt on the feet of your attic ladder so that it doesn’t scratch your floors.
- Another in general tip… Always wear your safety gear and good shoes! Don’t want to have any close calls.
We’ll be back with a few more tips tomorrow! Next time you hear from us… WE’LL HAVE A PROPERLY INSULATED ATTIC! And Mochi will be happy to have her humans back downstairs.
Psst – To see the whole process from start to finish, check out our other posts! You can see our overall plan for blowing insulation, and check out all the prep in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and the actual blowing of insulation. Big project!
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