HOW TO: ATTIC INSULATION REMOVAL - Attic Insulation Removal and Attic Cleaning Contractor - Attic Guys

Attic Insulation Removal: How to Remove Attic Insulation Safely

 

How to: Attic Insulation Removal

The thought of performing Attic Insulation Removal or Attic Cleaning in your own Attic can be daunting! Most homeowners have never seen what their attic looks like let alone have they spent any significant amount of time in their dark, cramped attic above the ceiling. We’ll start with the basics.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

Attic Insulation Removal Basics

Your attic is not built for anyone to safely occupy without knowing how to move around:

  • First and foremost, you must walk along the floor joists. If you step foot on the drywall below there’s a good chance your foot will go right through it and quite possibly yourself right along with it.
  • Secondly, attics are cramped spaces and you should be careful with the roof overhead. Nails often protrude through the roof and if your head inadvertently bumps into a nail or a crossing two by 4 (2×4) you can bet it’ll leave a mark.
  • Additionally, your attic isn’t usually a well lit space and is very dark. A flashlight or work light that you can hang will make sure you can see your surroundings.
  • Lastly, after so many years of neglect you can expect your attic to be dirty and dusty. Prepare yourself to get your hands dirty (gloved hands that is) in order to get the job done.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work. – Thomas Edison

Attic Insulation Removal Essentials

Attic Insulation Removal and Attic Cleaning can be a DIY project for those willing to break a sweat and prepare properly. The most important step is first, protecting yourself.

Attic Insulation Removal Tools Checklist:
  • Gloves – Rubber coated gloves will work best
  • Mask – At a minimum you’ll want a 95-rated mask for attic insulation removal work
  • Eye Protection – Ensure your eye protection has an Anti-Fog coating
  • Hooded Coveralls – Coveralls will help protect your skin from irritating insulation and contamination
  • Flashlight and/or Headlight – Headlights are hands-free and allow you to work while illuminating your work space

Now that we know what we can expect when entering the attic and what items we’ll need to get the job done, we can go over equipment (optional) and the process of getting that insulation out of your attic. Attic Insulation Removal is a dirty job, the more prepared you are with a well thought out plan the better chances of completing this type of project.

What equipment and supplies do you need to do attic insulation removal?

While heavy-duty, commercial grade equipment is not necessary having proper equipment will ensure a thorough Attic Insulation Removal.

The Attic Insulation Removal equipment and supplies needed for your project will be determined by the type of insulation to be removed. You will have one of two types of insulation in your attic, sometimes both; your attic will have been previously insulated with Blown Cellulose Insulation or Fiberglass Batt Insulation. Blown Cellulose Insulation is typically brown or gray in color and is a loose material that falls apart when you pick it up. Fiberglass Batt Insulation is most commonly pink or yellow but can also be found in white or brown and it’s form is a thick 4 inch to 12 inch mat of material around 2 feet wide by 4 feet long.

Blown Cellulose Insulation Removal Equipment and Supplies:
  • 23-Horse Power, Commercial-Grade Insulation Removal Vacuum (300 lbs, optional)
    • 150 Feet 4″-10″ Vacuum Hoses
    • Metal Hose Connectors
    • Industrial 6 ft x 4 ft, 100 cubic ft Vacuum Bags (4-6 bags, 350 lbs filled with old, contaminated insulation)
    • Gas Container w Gasoline
  • 6 ft – 10 ft Ladder
  • Rakes and Dustpans (without commercial vacuum usage)
  • HEPA Filtered Shop-Vac (without commercial vacuum usage)
  • Contractors Grade 50 Gal Waste Bags (without commercial vacuum usage)
  • Floor and Wall Covering
  • Tape for Coverings
  • Dumpster
Fiberglass Batt Insulation Removal Equipment and Supplies:
  • 23-Horse Power, Commercial-Grade Insulation Removal Vacuum (300 lbs, optional)
    • 150 Feet 4″-10″ Vacuum Hoses
    • Metal Hose Connectors
    • Industrial 6 ft x 4 ft, 100 cubic ft Vacuum Bags (4-6 bags, 350 lbs filled with old, contaminated insulation)
    • Gas Container w Gasoline
  • 6 ft – 10 ft Ladder
  • HEPA Filtered Shop-Vac (without commercial vacuum usage)
  • Contractors Grade 50 Gal Waste Bags
  • Floor and Wall Covering
  • Tape for Coverings
  • Dumpster

How do you remove Attic Insulation?

Here is where your planning and preparation will shine! A well thought out plan and proper preparation will lead you to a clean attic, safely.

How to Remove Blown Cellulose Insulation Steps:
  1. Stage your equipment and supplies in your garage, driveway or on the lawn
  2. Prepare the work site, your home.
    1. Clear a path from your front door to the attic access.
    2. Cover the walls and floor along that path with a protective material.
    3. Set up the ladder underneath the attic access.
  3. Set up the Commercial Vacuum and route the vacuum hose through your home in to the attic.
  4. Place HEPA filtered shop-vac, rakes, dustpans and waste bags inside your attic (without commercial vacuum usage).
  5. Put on (don) your personal protective equipment.
  6. Start the commercial vacuum, a helper will be required to monitor the vacuum while in operation.
  7. Climb into the attic, begin removal.
  8. Use the commercial vacuum hose to remove the insulation and clean the attic floor.
  9. Use rakes to collect insulation on to dustpan, place collected insulation into waste bag (without commercial vacuum usage).
  10. Use the Shop-Vac to remove remaining insulation after raking and vacuum the attic floor (without commercial vacuum usage).
  11. IMPORTANT: Take a break every 15 minutes or when your body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
  12. Continue until entire Attic Insulation Removal and Attic Cleaning is complete.
  13. Remove Waste Bags filled with insulation from attic, place in dumpster outside.
  14. Remove vacuum, hoses, tools, equipment and supplies from attic.
  15. Exit attic and remove surface coverings inside your home.
  16. Clean up tools, equipment, supplies and job site.
How to Remove Fiberglass Batt Insulation Steps:
  1. Stage your equipment and supplies in your garage, driveway or on the lawn.
  2. Prepare the work site, your home.
    1. Clear a path from your front door to the attic access.
    2. Cover the walls and floor along that path with a protective material.
    3. Set up the ladder underneath the attic access.
  3. Set up the Commercial Vacuum and route the vacuum hose through your home in to the attic.
  4. Place waste bags inside your attic.
  5. Place HEPA filtered shop-vac in your attic (without commercial vacuum usage).
  6. Put on (don) your personal protective equipment.
  7. Climb into the attic, begin removal.
  8. Roll up each piece of insulation by hand, place collected insulation into waste bag.
  9. Start the commercial vacuum, a helper will be required to monitor the vacuum while in operation.
  10. Use the commercial vacuum hose to clean the attic floor.
  11. Use the Shop-Vac to vacuum the attic floor (without commercial vacuum usage).
  12. IMPORTANT: Take a break every 15 minutes or when your body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
  13. Continue until entire Attic Insulation Removal and Attic Cleaning is complete.
  14. Remove Waste Bags filled with insulation from attic, place in dumpster outside.
  15. Remove vacuum, hoses, tools, equipment and supplies from attic.
  16. Exit attic and remove surface coverings inside your home.
  17. Clean up tools, equipment, supplies and job site.

How long does attic insulation removal take?

For an attic that’s 1,500 Square Feet attic insulation removal will take approximately 4-6 hours to complete. This is based on a team of 3 attic cleaning technicians with proper equipement and training. For a DIY project in a 1,500 Square Foot attic insulation removal can take between 6-18 hours. The time greatly depends on the conditions of the attic. Your availability, your speed in a cramped space, the weather, the type and amount of insulation being removed and whether or not there is debris present in the attic can affect the time it takes to get all the attic insulation removed. A good plan will have you tackle the attic in smaller sections. Once a smaller section of the attic is complete you can determine if you should continue or stop work for the day. You should plan to complete an attic insulation removal project over a few days and quite possibly over a few weekends if your timeline for completion allows.

How much does attic insulation removal cost?

For an attic that’s 1,500 Square Feet attic insulation removal will cost between $2,000-$3,000. Whereas, for a DIY attic insulation removal project the cost can be cut to $1,000-$1,500. Again, the cost greatly depends on the conditions of the attic. Your availability, your speed in a cramped space, the weather, the type and amount of insulation being removed and whether or not there is debris present in the attic can affect the time it takes to get all the attic insulation removed. Whether you hire an insulation contractor or perform attic insulation removal yourself the cost can be reduced greatly with extensive research and planning.

What to do after attic insulation removal?

Now that your attic insulation removal project is complete there are so many opportunities to make repairs and upgrades. Many contractors not in the insulation field prefer and may even refuse to work in an attic prior to removing all the attic insulation first. In some cases it’s just the contractors preference in other cases the insulation prevents the contractor from performing their tasks at all or safely. Now that the attic is clean and has no insulation you have wide open access to the attic floor, the eaves, electrical wiring and fixtures, plumbing and HVAC equipment.

Projects to complete after attic insulation removal:

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