Stuffing the attic – Part 1

I’d had the attic insulation on my mind for a while. But as usual, there was some road clearing ahead first.

In this case, the road clearing was largely green roof related. We removed the ceiling joists toward the back of the building, got the roof joist reinforcement in place above the dining room and kitchen, rebuilt and improved the load bearing wall and installed the vertical blocking under the roof joists.

I was fortunate enough to have found a really good deal on the rock wool insulation. The first batch was was sitting on the 2nd floor waiting to get stuffed into the attic. Easier said than done, though.

The attic crawl

I would have preferred a pub crawl, but hey…

As mentioned in the past, the attic in the front of the building is three feet tall (distance between the bottom of the ceiling joists and the roof deck).

attic-04 attic-05

We ended up putting a plywood sheet on top of the ceiling joists, lying on top of the plywood and reaching with the rock wool in between the ceiling joists. It was a tight space to work in, but we managed.

At one point farther into the building, we had to abandon the plywood technique. There simply wasn’t enough space left between the ceiling joists and roof joists. From that point on, the ladder did the trick.

The rock wool assembly

Our roof joists are old growth two by tens. That means they actually measure two by ten inches. When I was looking into the various insulation options and materials, I found that the ten inch joist depth conveniently fit with three layers of 3 1/2 inch thick rock wool batts.

Strictly speaking, the joist depth is 1/2 inch shorter than the three layers of rock wool. But I will solve that problem by adding strips of 1/2 inch XPS foam board to the bottom of the joists.

Great help

This was not a job for one person alone! Or if it was, it would have taken forever.

I had great help from Jennifer Pack and Dan Rockafield. Jennifer was cutting the batts to fit between the joists and Dan found himself a cozy spot in the attic, stuffing rock wool. A sincere thank you to both of them.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Stuffing the attic – Part 1

  1. That depends. I’ve found that some people get the itch from rockwool, and others, like myself, do not. That observation aside, I believe it is always good to be cautious and wear long sleeve gear, gloves, goggles and a dusk mask, to keep the potentially irritating fibers in check.

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