Attic is finished but not insulated. Solutions?

5 Replies

Here is a question for you experienced rehabbers.  I'm working on a deal for a split victorian with two bedrooms connected by a small hallway in the former attic space.  The problem is they drywalled the entire area but stupidly never insulated the ceiling and walls.

The drywall is in great shape so I would hate  to rip it out and have to redo it only to put fiberglass insulation in.

I could try to take it down but salvage the existing drywall and attempt to reinstall it but even if I could locate and take out all of the screws its probably more effort than it's worth.

The other option I have is slow rising spray foam.  This would only require patching the drill holes in the drywall when all is said and done but I've never used this stuff and it seems very expensive.  

Has anyone crunched the #'s on this before?  Was the cost of spray foam more expensive then the cost to rip down, fiberglass and rebuild?

This is a rental so while I want it done correctly every penny does count.

Thanks as always!

Did you consider blown-in insulation?  Small round hole cut at top of wall for each stud bay, and then filled with the blown-in product. Once completed, small parches for the holes and then paint. 

Make sure heat and electric are in place first too. 

The biggest problem is the roof which should be vented from the soffits to the ridge. Spray foam may be a good solution for the cap but ask the spray foam folks what they typically do on roof foam insulation jobs for venting. In general spray foam insulation of any kind is a superior insulation because there aren't any edge leaks. It provides what is called an impervious seal. If you look at thermal charts, the higher the wind,  the better the comparative performance.

I would agree with the blown-in, it's not that cheap but it beats the rip-off, locating the screws isn't going to work, if you are doing it youself, and no labor cost, it might make sense, but remember, it's material vs time, I would just rip it off instead of locating screws.

Thank you all for the help.

I didn't consider blown in but will look into it immediately.  

Otherwise I'm leaning towards rip down and fiberglass.  Not only might it be the cheapest option but it will allow me to see everything in that space that WASN'T done correctly.  

If the former owner was either dumb enough to sheet rock without insulating OR simply decided that this was an acceptable corner to cut, who knows what else was missed or skipped.

Thanks again guys

Drywall (and insulation) is pretty cheap in general.  In my market, we pay $1.10-1.25/square foot for rock and finish.  You have to paint it as well, which should go for $0.35-0.50.  Demo costs are cheap as well.  The blown in insulation is a good way to go, and is expensive, but we use it more for areas we absolutely can't get to on the inside due to the cost.  

Don't get too caught up in trying to save what's there.  Remember if you do blown in, you'll also have to patch and finish.....and most likely repaint.  Unless the existing drywall is just pristine and does not need to be repainted, rip off the old stuff and do batts.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here