How to FIX a COLD FLOOR Above Your Garage Ceiling.

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Yesterday my office manager (and daughter) Savannah Bird called todays client, to review the authorized work-scope. It’s a several thousand dollar job, spanning two days. We’re doing major attic insulation work for him, and a smaller DNF component.

Look at his answer, when she asked, What is the single most important benefit you want to achieve from your investment with us?”

I want my sons bedroom to be warm. His room is the bonus room above the garage. We can never keep it warm enough for him. He freezes at night. We have gotten 4 quotes and went with you because you do Drill & Fill insulation. Last night, we had to turn the heat up to 84 in the house to get his room over garage to 72-73.”

There are many things that affect the comfort in a room, but bonus rooms have particular issues specific to them. Because they are positioned above unheated space, they don’t get the benefit of heat rising from the lower level.

Our approach is like arthroscopic surgery…much less intrusive than tearing down the ceiling. we simply drill holes in the ceiling, strategically located for thorough coverage of your cellulose insulation…

It’s easy to think of your bonus room like you would think of your ear, on a cold windy day. That bonus room’s relationship to your house is very similar to the relationship your ear has with your body.

Typically, because a builder doesn’t finish the room, the room isn’t considered heated space. Thus the term, “Bonus Room”. The house is more affordable to purchase, and the taxes are less, but if it isn’t sealed & insulated properly, and the HVAC designed properly … you get a VERY uncomfortable room.

Our homeowner had gotten three other quotes. The other guys simply wanted to install spray foam insulation. He was told to remove the garage ceiling, and call them. They would spray the floor system with foam insulation, and he was left to contract someone else to install a new ceiling, and paint.

Our approach is much different. (Although we’re happy to install spray foam, if that is the solution you are after, or if you have no sheetrock ceiling, etc). Our approach is like arthroscopic surgery…much less intrusive than tearing down the ceiling. We simply drill holes in the ceiling, strategically located for thorough coverage of your cellulose insulation, and “dense-pack” the insulation inside the joist bays, pushing out the air, filling the voids with high-density cellulose insulation.

Last week I personally prepped and drilled a larger 2-car garage ceiling. It took 62 holes in the ceiling. Here is my process:

  • Install plastic sheeting drapes (curtains) along all the walls.
  • Cover the garage floor with plastic sheeting.
  • Inspect the ceilings of the adjoining rooms. You are looking for recessed light fixtures, or any penetrations that may communicate with your garage ceiling. Those issues must be addressed before you introduce any insulation.
  • Go upstairs, and inspect the bonus room for similar issues, except in the floor. If there are kneewalls, is the floor system decked and sealed behind the kneewalls? Are they storing contents in those areas? If yes, move them out.
  • Here is where we measure the footprint of the bonus room floor, and mirror it to the garage ceiling. Inside the outline is where you need to add insulation. (If you are using spray foam to insulate the rooflines behind the kneewalls… the entire garage ceiling needs to drilled and filled, as you see in my picture.)

Now that you have the room prepped, you’re ready to layout your pattern and start drilling. Tools we use:

  • Cordless, 18 volt drill.
  • 2” hole saw, designed for sheetrock, with clean-out holes.
  • Screwdriver for tapping the holesaw, to clear the sheetrock “plug” after ea hole is drilled.
  • Tape Measure with good, stiff blade. I like them about ¾” wide.
  • Step ladder. You can fix a small basket or tray to the ladder, to hold your tools as you are constantly moving the ladder. Dropping a $250 drill from atop a 8’ ladder will make you cry!

How to layout your hole pattern:

  • This takes experience. Based on the joist design, we know how far our cellulose will move inside the joist bay. Also, how much pre-existing insulation is in place, will play a roll in coverage.
  • Initially, for the first few jobs, we drilled them too close. As we filled a cavity, we’d find that the next hole was already too full to receive much more. So we spread our holes out further, and it works great once you gain experience.
  • Often you will discover that the fiberglass blanket is laying right on top of the sheetrock ceiling in the garage. Yet the floor joists are 10” , 12” or taller! We find in large spans, that web trusses can be 14” tall!
  • That fiberglass blanket is only 6” thick, or maybe less. Many houses we work on, have NO insulation between the garage and the bonus room.
  • Use a broom handle, or your stiff tape measure blade, to push upward through each hole and compress the fiberglass blanket against the bonus room subfloor.
  • Partially close the garage door to access the ceiling above the door tracks.

Are you ready to start filling the ceiling?

  • Careful! We have had weak or inferior sheetrock ceilings pop and crack. Throughout the filling process, we are constantly monitoring the sheetrock for signs of weakness.
  • Start with your blowing machine settings on a weaker setting. We use a Krendl 1100 machine with an auxiliary (added) 2-blower box… for a total of 4 blowers.
  • We use 2 blowers, with ea set at 50%. Reduce your 3” blowing hose to 2.5” hose, and use a 2” nozzle attached to the hose.
  • While filling your joist bays, have someone go upstairs into the bonus room, and throughout the adjacent living space, checking for problems. We’ve had to clean up more than a few piles of insulation… and it’s easier to clean-up problems when you catch them early.
  • Gradually increase your pressures, so that you can’t push your finger into the hole after it’s filled. As they fill, you will hear the cellulose rushing into the cavity. You can also see it moving through the hose, if it’s sunny.
  • To allow for access, partially close the garage door as you get to those holes above the garage door tracks.

How to finish the job:

  • Use a styrofoam plug, and plug each hole after you fill it. We buy our plugs in bulk. You can find them at insulation supply houses.
  • Some homeowners ask to have us slick-coat sheetrock mud over the plugs. Others ask the painter to do the mud and sanding, it just depends on each client, and the texture of the ceiling.
  • Carefully remove your protective plastic, and clean-up any mess with a broom or shop vac.
  • Congratulations! You’ve DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED the thermal boundary between your garage and the bonus room. You have also practically eliminated the COLD DRAFTS that languished in your floor system, stealing the heat from your bonus room living space!

    If you’re tired of that COLD FLOOR, and want Bird Family Insulation to fix it, we can handle it. It will usually take us about ½ day… start to finish.

    Give Savannah a call in our office, 404-538-9168, or complete the Contact Form on our website,, to schedule your free evaluation!

    Want to learn more about how we fix uncomfortable Bonus Rooms? Click here:

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