Re removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair replacement etc

Re removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair replacement etc

Re: removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair / replacement etc

  • From. Pete C. aux3.DOH.4@xxxxxxxx
  • Date. Tue, 07 Mar 2006 17:55:09 GMT

spoon2001 wrote:

(1) I’ve got some damage to ceiling drywall that has some cracks, water

damage, a couple of holes. It’s old drywall, don’t know how old. Does this

stuff ever need to be completely replaced, or is patching the way to go?

And either way, the insulation over whatever part is opened up has to be

removed first, right?

(2) Our attic insulation is pathetic! What is up there is loose fill -

rock wool, I’m quite sure. No vapor barrier. Anyway it is just a complete

mess up there. There are cedar shakes up there and all kinds of dirt and

junk that go back 50 years or more. The AC guy rated our attic insulation

as R2. I would like to go up there and get that stuff out of there and

clean up as well as I can. It seems that the standard approach is just to

cover the old junk up with loose fill. But here’s what I’m thinking. get

some of those thick plastic contractor’s bags from Home Depot, just go up

there with a big dustpan, and start scooping away, fill up those bags and

haul them out. The loose fill isn’t very high (R2 rating) so I’m thinking

this might be doable. And then if I can manage it, use a ShopVac to get up

as much as I can. All of this wearing a proper mask and clothing.

(3) The AC ducting is sheet metal, big old rectangular ducts on top of the

ceiling joists, leaky as can be. Not well wrapped either. Huge stuff that

really obstructs movement in the attic. Our air distribution is awful.

You might want to start by winning a lottery and buying a big bottle of


If the current attic insulation is of little value then cleaning it out

completely and starting fresh is not unreasonable. Normally you just add

on when you have useable but inadequate insulation, but if all you have

is R2 or so now there is little value to save.

Your A/C ducting is going to largely be determined by your air handler.

A high velocity system will give you nice small ducts, but will require

an entire new air handler. Rigid duct is preferred because it has a

smooth interior surface that restricts air flow less and collects dust

less than the ridges in flex duct. The ducting should ideally be hung

from the roof rafters with isolation mounts to reduce noise / vibration

transmission. The ceiling structure will make a nice sounding board


The cloth insulated wiring I’m assuming is deteriorating cloth insulated

Romex and not single conductor knob and tube. Certainly replacing the

cloth romex with new PVC insulated romex would be good and not terribly

expensive if you’re doing it yourself. The labor is far more significant

a cost than a few thousand feet of romex.

The problem you’ll encounter is the horizontal runs in the walls which

you will not be able to readily replace without tearing out the walls.

If you have access from the attic and basement to all walls in the house

you could potentially abandon those horizontal runs in the walls and

replace them with horizontal runs in the accessible attic and basement.

This will cost you more in wire for the additional vertical distance

needed, but may be offset by insurance savings since insurance companies

are starting to charge higher premiums for houses with older electrical


On the drywall issue it’s just a tradeoff on the labor to patch / repair

vs. install new. Sheetrock isn’t that expensive so the labor costs will

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