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I currently have 6 - 8 inches of cellulose blown in insulation in my attic. I live in Michigan and energystar.gov is recommending a total of R49 - 60. From what I can tell only have about R19-25 based on the chart in the link below. I need to increase my R-value as cheaply as possible. I live in an old farmhouse (circa 1910) and have plaster ceilings and am concerned that if I get up there to add some fiberglass batt insulation I may crack some plaster simply by walking on the joists or accidentally put my foot through since I cannot see through the cellulose to the joists. Any suggestions?

http://www.greatdayimprovements.com/insulation-r-value-chart.aspx

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    You say as cheaply as possible... Would there be room in the budget for some 2'x4' plywood/OSB panels to make pathways in the attic so you could more safely get to a few key points to blow in more insulation? Or do you not want to use more blow-in? – JPhi1618 Oct 19 '15 at 15:08
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    More blown-in cellulose would be the most cost effective way of adding more insulation. – Ecnerwal Oct 19 '15 at 15:18
  • The attic access isn't very big, probably less than 2x2 but I could get something up there for stability. I dont care what I use per se but I would need to do it myself and as cheaply as possible – Steve Salowitz Oct 19 '15 at 17:04
  • I think your specific question is "how do I maneuver in an attic without cracking the ceiling? " as stated, the best way to do that is to get some boards to lay on the joists as you maneuver around while blowing in the insulation. – DA01 Oct 19 '15 at 18:24
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We just usually bring up a couple of 2x8s at about 10' a piece and use as walkways. You can't really do much with blown in insulation other than add more to it. Cost of 2x8s (you can get the "bad" ones from big box for $5) and insulation + renting a machine (most are free given you buy X amount of insulation) is about a $400-600 job for most mid sized houses.

  • Is it a bad idea to add fiberglass batting over blown in? – Steve Salowitz Oct 19 '15 at 17:27
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    You can. However that is not cost effective. First the whole idea of blown in is two-fold. It creates depth because it is loose. And it is in smaller pieces so that it can "fill in all the cracks". I could go into more depth but that would be its own question. Laying batts will smash your existing cellulose - decreasing its R-Value and how are you going to make sure that there are no gaps between yours batts and your batts and the existing structure? – DMoore Oct 19 '15 at 17:43
  • What you are proposing costs more, takes more time, and has more future issues. – DMoore Oct 19 '15 at 17:44

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