Our attic wins the award for most potential/ugliest dang room you’ve ever seen. Pink carpet, it’s never a good idea. Never. Since fall is officially upon us, we decided that there was no better time than the present to gut this baby, since we’re going all out and popping in some spray foam. More on that next week 😉 In our last house, our Master was also in a converted attic space and the insulation factor was null. Zilch. Nada. First day of summer the thing was scorching, first day of winter you were looking for your long undies. Needless to say, we wanted this space to be done right so that we can have lower energy bills (score) and be more comfortable (double score).

For your viewing pleasure, this is what the space looked like before we started ripping everything out.

Attic Bedroom

And here is a view looking down toward the stairwell. All things considered. it’s about 30 fee long and 10 feet wide. Not a huge space, but holy mackerel, it’s bigger than our downstairs rooms, which measure 9×10 and 10×10 respectively, so the prospect of making this into our Master makes us feel like fat jolly kings.

Master Suite Attic Conversion

Since we are on a timeline to get this room completely ready for spray foam before winter sets in, we knew that our late August start date would put us pretty close timing wise. With a big gut like this (let’s just say, we don’t plan on keeping anything ;)) there are also additional logistics involved. You’d be surprised at how much waste accumulates when ya start ripping it all out.

As we were removing the drywall, trim and ceiling tiles, we tried to be incredibly careful to make sure that each piece was taken off in a way that it, ideally, could be salvaged later on down the line. Our logic was, anything that people would be willing to take away for free, would be less stuff that we had to throw away, minimizing our hauling cost for disposal and obviously creating less waste as well. Winner, winner chicken dinner. I got a little stir crazy with the first piece and just let er’ rip one afternoon when I got home from work. This piece = not salvageable. Whoops.

Attic Renovation

What can I say, I’m a visual person and I had to scope out the full picture before I could start to feel good about all the demo. Jay usually braces for these moments, since he knows it’s the beginning of the end. Resistance is futile at this point. 😉

This room, like many other rooms in this house, had a lot going on. A rainbow theme, if you will.

How to remove drywall

Now in the first night, we were able to rip out the majority of the drywall, so we could see, more or less what the room would look like as we started to open it up and reconfigure it. The room already had some insulation, fiber glass in the knee walls and some blown in cellulose in the ceiling. But when we had the crew come through and do an energy audit on the house last winter, the attic was all purple. Purple is bad. It means old man winter is just hanging out in your house and making your energy bills go all cray cray. No good.

So after we gutted all the walls of their first coat of armor, we did something that felt counter intuitive and just, well, wrong. We uninsulated everything. Took it all out.

R-19 Insulation

The pink stuff. Easy peasy. Just put our gloves on (since fiber glass can make you very itchy) and got carefully removing all the insulation. Since this was in just fine condition, we sold this old insulation on craigslist as well. Figured it might as well keep on keeping on someone else in America.

But the blown in cellulose that was lining the ceiling walls and peak – that was an entirely different story. In preparation for the great insulation infiltration, we decided it would be best to sport some masks to keep ourselves from sucking down any particles our lungs wouldn’t be super fond of. I put on my game face and we were ready to own this joint. Fierce.

Woman Home Renovator

The actual taking down and ripping into the black sheaths that were holding onto the cellulose was totally a two person job, so there aren’t any action shots of the during, but holy mackeral, have I got some afters for you. Like this.

How to remove cellulose insulation

There was a lot of cellulose that came a pouring down. For reference, we had to use a snow shovel to scoop it all up, and we were probably at it for 2 hours. Oye. It was He double hockey sticks. Mostly because I felt completely and totally trapped, and it was hot, and I have god awful allergies. Not my favorite home reno project, needless to say 😉

How to remove blown in insulation

Half way through though, it did start to turn into a bit of an adventure. Look at this “vintage” insulation we found lining one of the untouched walls in the house. Yep – that is just a roll of kraft paper, scrunched up. Insulation has come a long way. 😉

Old Paper Insulation

We’ll get some more “progress” shots up for you next week! Slowly, but surely, we are getting there!

5 thoughts on “UnInsulating

  1. You will love it once the spray foam gets blown in. Our upstairs had no insulation and we lived that way for 2 years. We had cellulose blown in the walls and then the dormers storage area things got spray foamed. We made friends with our insulator and he was more than willing to crawl in the tight spaces (he must be part mouse he got through a space I think was just about the size of his head) and get the foam everywhere. Talk about a difference.

    The picture of all the insulation removed is very shocking! I feel so sorry for you having to clean that up… I’m sure you will be finding insulation dust for months!

  2. Pingback: Refinishing Attic | Lemon Grove Blog

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