You have two general options. One would be to
just load up batts on the floor and make sure there
is venting in the space. That's cheap and easy,
saves on heating costs, but you lose use of the attic.
You can alternatively insulate the walls and ceiling,
then use the room for storage.
The better solution would be to insulate and finish
it off. For that there are a couple of important points:
* Make sure you don't have insulation in the floor.
* Make sure there's a ridge vent in the roof and soffet
vents, as well as space next to the roof. (One can
buy cheap styrofoam panels to achive that, if desired.)
The basic idea is that the wood in the roof needs venting
so that moisture doesn't get trapped in there and rot it.
A little research should make that all clear. The general
design of a cathedral ceiling is that hot air rises out through
the ridge vent, pulling fresh air in through the soffet vents,
providing a flow between the roof structure and the back of
Once you've taken care of the venting, insulate ceiling
and walls, add a vapor barrier, and drywall it.
I'm assuming you don't have any horizontal bracing and
that there are just low kneewalls on the sides. If there
is bracing it needs to stay. Drywall around it.
If the sidewalls are low kneewalls, it might make sense
to move in your finish walls and leave room in the eaves
And what about skylights? You probably want to add
some window area and improve venting of the living space.
That's something to plan before closing it up. (A note for
maximizing skylight benefit: If you frame a 4" depth around
the top and bottom of the skylight you can graduate that
up to the 6" or 8" roof depth for a better look and more light.
It's hard to explain. If you look at a typical skylight you'll
see it's set deeply into the roof framing. The glass may be
8" or more from the ceiling plane. Imagine that inset as a
cardboard box. What I'm suggesting is to "fold out the top
and bottom flaps" of the box for a larger opening on the
However you do it all, just remember
that you want insulation behind the living space and free
air flow behind that. Vapor barrier is certainly a good idea.
It will help by retaining humidity in the winter. It will also
be required by some codes. But don't use fiberglass with
foil facing to get a barrier. Staple plastic around the entire
interior for a good seal.
Another issue is building permits. Do you plan to get
a permit? Is there a local building commision? In a typical
old New England house there could be lots of issues that
an inspector is not willing to grandfather in: Narrow stairway
up to the attic, insufficient window surface, etc. Before
you decide to get a permit, make sure there aren't any
problems like that.
|I have a large, unfinished attice, with ceiling height of ~ 10 feet
| at the peak. Currently there is no insulation on the roof or side
| walls. In the summer it is extremely hot, refrigerator like during the
| Connecticut winters. I am sure the attic temps extremes adversely
| effect the temps in our living area, the first two floors.
| I would like to add insulation, but unsure how to proceed. Do I add
| battt insulation; with or without a vapor barrier? Would it be
| prudent to also add add a radiant barrier. Can I apply sheet rock over
| the suggested insualtion, to have a "finished' room?
| BTW I am new to this site, after I saw a link on another site. I am
| sure impressed with the breadth of advise here - Great Find !!