How To Know When Your Attic Insulation Needs Replacing

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If you’ve had an attic infestation, then you’re probably wandering about cleaning out the attic.

If you’ve had a moisture, mold or mildew issue, you’re probably wandering about cleaning out the current attic insulation.

After 20+ years of working for Atlanta’s homeowners regarding their attic insulation – my family has learned a lot about what motivates people to have the attic insulation removed and replaced!

Here are the reasons I’ve learned why you may need to remove your current attic insulation:

Reason # 1 for Removing Your Attic Insulation

IMPROVE the Indoor Air Quality of your home.

Respiratory concerns are always the number one reason we hear, for cleaning up an attic. Removing your current attic insulation and sealing the attic floor will do so much more for improving your indoor air quality! In fact, noticing the “cleaner air” is one of the first things our Attic Makeover clients tell us in our twice-yearly surveys.

If your goal is to improve your Indoor Air Quality, you want to start with cleaning out your attic of all insulation, and sealing the attic floor.

Reason # 2 for Removing Your Attic Insulation

There is a previous or current INFESTATION in the attic. Some days I believe we live in the insect and rodent capital of North America! Roaches, squirrels, mice and rats all seem to love our attics. It’s a very good chance if your home is more than 10 years old, it’s had an infestation.

If a house sits empty for a while, it’s likely that the attic has experienced an infestation. And for many homeowners, it’s simply not an option to live in a house with all of the droppings and nastiness from an infestation.

This is always a close 2nd place reason for all the calls we receive for cleaning out attics, removing the existing attic insulation and treating the space with sanitizer.

Reason # 3 for Removing Your Attic Insulation

The current attic insulation is OLD, and looks nasty. This particular comment frequently comes from new-home buyers who know the house is older, and the original insulation is still in the attic.

“Bob, we just closed on this house. It’s still got the original, old attic insulation. We want the old stuff removed and fresh, new insulation installed in our attic”.

I completely understand. If smokers lived in that house for a while – the attic insulation absorbed that odor, and will forever smell like cigarette smoke. As well, due to the age of the insulation, it’s most likely lost a great portion of it’s insulation qualities (effective R-Value).

Reason # 4 for Removing Your Attic Insulation

To air-seal the attic floor, to IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Actually this reason bounces around between 4th place and 3rd place.

Many homeowners are realizing the importance of sealing the attic floor. It’s properly referred to as “air sealing”. This is the process of sealing the holes, gaps, penetrations, chases, bypasses, and top plates in the attic floor.

Usually some form of expanding foam product is used to spray on the attic floor, and it expands to fill the cavities. The objective is to thoroughly isolate the attic space from the conditioned living space. To greatly reduce the uncontrolled air infiltration that trespasses between the attic and your living space.

Frankly, I believe it’s a waste of your investment to have the attic insulation removed and fresh insulation installed, WITHOUT air sealing the attic floor! In my opinion, this is where the pest control companies rip you off, because they’re motivated solely by cleaning up the nasty insulation. Thoroughly Air Sealing the attic floor is KEY to your Indoor Air Quality and enjoying the highest return on your investment through improved energy efficiency.

Of course, whatever your reason for calling us to remove your current attic insulation and clean-out the attic – the Attic Makeover service from Bird Family Insulation is a very big hit with our clients.

How long does it take to remove my current attic insulation and re-insulate?

In general, for attics less than 1000 ft2, we can perform our Attic Makeover in one day. It requires two rigs. One rig is needed for the removal, and a 2nd rig for the attic prep, air-sealing & sanitizing before installing your fresh new, high-performance Bora Spray cellulose insulation.

Attics larger than 1000 ft2 typically require two days for the Attic Makeover. Day One is for the insulation removal and clean-out process. Day Two is when we prep the attic, air-seal, sanitize, and install your fresh new Bora Spray cellulose insulation.

If you’re needing to make other improvements, we can separate Day One and Day Two with as much time as you need. It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to say, “Bob, we’re updating the wiring in the house, can you remove the attic insulation and wait two weeks before prepping and installing the new insulation?” Of course the answer is always, “YES! Whatever you need.”

How popular is removing attic insulation?

Almost 50% of our business is the Attic Makeover service. We know homeowners value the service, and we do our best to price the Attic Makeover to show that it’s obvious we care about your goals.

After the current attic insulation has been removed, it’s time to prep and re-insulate.

When we re-insulate your clean attic, you have two levels of service to choice from:

R-40… Satisfies the current minimum code standard of R-38. R-40 is 12” of our high-performance all-borate cellulose insulation.

R-50… Meets & exceeds the recommended U.S. Department of Energy level of R-49 for your attic. R-50 is 15” deep.

Most all of the fiberglass guys in our market include an option for R-60. And they should! Because fiberglass loose fill attic insulation is low-density and extremely porous, it actually loses R Value in cold and hot temperatures. Therefore, the extra R-10 gives the added thermal protection you need in the extremely cold and hot days of the year.

Learn more about loose fill fiberglass insulation losing R Value here:

Cellulose has no such shortcomings. R-50 will take very good care of you any day of the year in our market!

How much does removing attic insulation cost?

** A Little Background Info First **

If you’ve never removed attic insulation, you need to understand that it is extremely labor intensive. Just imagine doing an EXTREME PHYSICAL WORKOUT for several hours, and all the time having to breath through a full-face respirator helmet. Oh, and wearing a white Tyvek waterproof suit.

I promise you, there is no way you can imagine the extreme distress this activity puts your body and mind through.

Did I tell you that it’s often dark, and the only light is the headlight strapped to your head?

And while you’re performing all this activity, you must devote most of your thinking to that of an olympic athlete balanced on thin wood joists that measure less than 2” wide, spaced oddly throughout your attic! One careless move, and your ceiling is cracked!

The batting and large pieces of insulation are bagged by hand and hauled out of the attic. Debris from roofers (wood splinters, etc) and odd parts & tools left behind from the HVAC techs all have to be removed by hand.

Once the hand-removal is performed, we pull a 4” hose into the attic and vacuum the entire accessible space.

At least five months of the year, your attic potentially reaches temperatures of 140 degrees. These conditions make it dangerous while wrapped in full PPE.

Removing attic insulation is not for the faint hearted.

That’s why we have the absolute best men and pay them great wages… because you expect high-quality performance in return for your investment.

At this writing, we are charging $1.25 to $1.50 per ft2 for removing attic insulation and cleaning up an attic space. This rate includes hauling it all to the landfill and paying the dumping fees. And after writing these descriptive paragraphs, I’m tempted to raise these prices, just to give my men a bit more money to show my appreciation for the hard work they’re performing.

Is there a Bundled Rate for Removing insulation and Reinsulating my Attic?

Bird Family Insulation has two rates for removing attic insulation, prepping, air-sealing, sanitizing-treatment, and reinsulating your attic with Bora Spray cellulose.

Our R-40 Makeover service is $3.55 per ft2. (When we’re finished, your attic will be insulated to R-40).

The R-50 Makeover service is $3.75 per ft2. (When finished, your attic will be insulated to R-50).

Regardless of your motivation for removing the current attic insulation in your home, it can be done. And, in my experience, you and your family will realize benefits that you hadn’t considered before!

Cellulose installation in an attic

The Attic Makeover = Gold Level Service

The Attic Makeover is a larger investment for some homes. But how can you put a price tag on enjoying healthy indoor air quality, and knowing that the infestation is all professionally cleaned up and gone?

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