I have an unfinished attic in my NY house. The attic is bordered on one
(in)side by a bedroom and on part of another (in)side by a bathroom and
hallway. The other part of the attic (crawl space at best) is over the back
patio. The attic space has a small double-hung window at one end (I always
keep it open for ventilation) and a few small round air vents in the patio
The previous owner (can't imagine the original builder doing this) has
placed foil-faced insulation, with the foil facing inside, between all
rafters in th eattic on the underside of the roof. [If I take the insulation
away there is the wood tongue-in-groove roof material and on top of that
just a layer of asphalt roofing shingle]
Does the insulation do anything for me? Is it the correct insulation to
have - foil faced with the foil showing inside?
There is no insulation on the inside walls up against the
bedroom/bathroom/hallway as mentioned above. Do I need and should I put
insulation in between the wall studs here?
Thanks for your help.
Are you saying the insulation is on the underside of the roof and not resting
on the floor of the attic? If so, then no, the insulation is doing nothing.
Since you're keeping the air space well ventilated, the insulation is not
between your heated space and the air. The insulation will keep the heat
on the roof from making the attic hot, but it won't help in the winter.
You want the insulation on the floor of the attic. If you finish the attic
and make sure that the underside of the roof can breathe, then the insulation
goes on the inside of the roof. That makes the attic an insulated, heated,
attic - there already are finished heated rooms bordering it, and the
walls between these spaces and the "attic" are not insulated.
So the 1st thing he/she needs to do is CLOSE THE WINDOW (during
heating season). And treat this area as a heated space.
Right now, he/she is opening (with the window) this space to the
exterior, with NO insulation between heated rooms and the space in Q.
Part of the reason I leave the window open constantly is to help prevent ice
dams in the winter.
And I wouldn't say the air space is 'well vented'. I wish I had more
ventilation than I already do (which is not much as it is only the open
window and two tiny air vents at the far corner of the attic).
Would it be better to insulate the walls between the heated rooms and the
attic space and continue to leave the window open?
In the long run, it will probably be cheaper to insulate more and prevent
ice dams that way. Ice dams are a sign of insufficient insulation.
One way or the other you should look at fixing the insulation. Either
enclosing and insulating the empty space or insulating the empty space
to separate it from the heated space. Decide which is cheaper/easier.
Take care of the venting while you're at it.
If you are in a cold climate zone 6-7 or less you want the attic at
outside temps to prevent condensation in the attic from air
infiltration. Insulate more and keep window open if venting is
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