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spoon2001
 
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Default removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair / replacement etc

(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.
There is a lever up there to move a duct damper and I can't even budge it
anymore. I'm thinking that it would be good to replace the ducts. Maybe
they don't have to be so darned big anymore. It seems that rigid ducting is
still preferred over flex duct?

(4) We've got old cloth-insulated wiring up there, no grounding. I'd like
to replace that too.

(5) So what is the proper sequence - clean up, repair ceiling sheet rock,
electrical, new duct work?

Thanks for advice to a novice.


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Pete C.
 
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Default removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair / replacementetc

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.
There is a lever up there to move a duct damper and I can't even budge it
anymore. I'm thinking that it would be good to replace the ducts. Maybe
they don't have to be so darned big anymore. It seems that rigid ducting is
still preferred over flex duct?

(4) We've got old cloth-insulated wiring up there, no grounding. I'd like
to replace that too.

(5) So what is the proper sequence - clean up, repair ceiling sheet rock,
electrical, new duct work?

Thanks for advice to a novice.


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

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
otherwise.

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
systems.

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
mostly determine this issue. The materials (sheetrock, compound, tape)
will cost perhaps $0.50 / sq. ft. Either way you'll need to paint.

Don't forget to account for disposal costs. Getting rid of the old
insulation, drywall, etc. isn't free and a dumpster is probably in
order. You might be able to get a few $ for the wire and ductwork as
scrap metal if you bring them to a recycling center. Also account for
the logistics of trying to live in a construction zone.

Pete C.
(about to do a major electrical overhaul myself)
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John Grabowski
 
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Default removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair / replacement etc


"spoon2001" wrote in message
et...
(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.
There is a lever up there to move a duct damper and I can't even budge it
anymore. I'm thinking that it would be good to replace the ducts. Maybe
they don't have to be so darned big anymore. It seems that rigid ducting

is
still preferred over flex duct?

(4) We've got old cloth-insulated wiring up there, no grounding. I'd

like
to replace that too.

(5) So what is the proper sequence - clean up, repair ceiling sheet rock,
electrical, new duct work?

Thanks for advice to a novice.



I'd say remove old insulation and garbage first, then have ducts
redone/replaced as needed with caulk and insulation, install new wiring,
install new insulation, and repair drywall last. For a cleaner smoother
look it might be better in your case to just add another layer of drywall
(3/8" or 1/2") to the existing.

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Doug Kanter
 
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Default removing old attic insulation, ceiling drywall repair / replacement etc

All good advice so far. After cleaning out the insulation, I'd call your
usual heating contractor and have someone see if the duct size is logical,
relative to the furnace you have. Might be a modern furnace that doesn't or
can't work to its full potential with those huge ducts.


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