Home life

Renovating the roof

Got an attic ladder put in a while back. The bloke did a lot of chopping and cutting, and an electrician moved one of the lights to make way for it. The result is very pleasing, and it makes a real difference to getting up into the roof space.

Attic ladderStage 2 was getting some of the crap cleared out of there, including an old water tank.

Yesterday some insulation removal people came to take out the old loose insulation. It goes everywhere, is not as effective as batts, and is a potential fire risk, so my aim is to replace it with batts. I wonder how hard they are to install oneself?

I need to get the carpenter bloke to take a look at the cornice in the livingroom at the very front of the house. Something’s causing it to bow.

Also up there will be replacement of the current halogen kitchen downlights, perhaps with LEDs — these StarLux LEDs look pretty good, though it’ll cost 6 x $44.95 = $270. Will shop around. Eventually the longer life of the LEDs plus the much lower power (almost 90% less) would help reduce the overall cost. Doing that would allow me to get rid of an extraneous light in the kitchen, as well.

Wondering as well about getting the heating serviced. It’s apparent that there are some holes in some of the ducts that could do with patching, and I wonder how old the heater is (a Brivis “VR800A 1160”).

Anyway, once the roof is sorted out, storage space will be available up there to clear out the back room and turn it into a (smallish) bedroom for Jeremy. Which was the plan all along. Hopefully now it’s actually starting to happen.

PS. Here’s the truck they use to suck out the old loose insulation. Basically a big vacuum cleaner.

Big vaccuum cleaner (insulation removal truck)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

19 replies on “Renovating the roof”

I’d get one of those LED lights first to check that it’s bright enough. I’ve been through a search process lately and didn’t find anything in the 6W range that could replace existing halogens. We’ve ended up with some lights in the 10-12W range.

This is especially true with higher ceilings, which it looks like you have, since the intensity of light falls off as 1/(R^2)

If the bags of batts will fit through that hole, the installation job is very easy. As long as you use polyester batts and not fibreglass. With the former you can rip them by hand and handle them without gloves. The latter requires a knife, mask, gloves and a set of clothes you’re happy to throw away when you’re finished.

Don’t stand on any plaster.

I agree with Boyd – get one and try it out. We were lucky to have one fitted to an extension lead by our electrician and we took it to several houses with different types of downlights to compare it to them. The extension lead meant we could hold it up at the ceiling. We gladly paid a lot more for good quality, dimmable, ones. We blogged most of our search ( Prices are coming down all the time – we actually purchased ours in late 2010 – and don’t have any regrets about their brightness and warmth.

Are you happy with the roof vacuuming crowd? I’m considering getting my (not so) fluffy stuff removed, and sticking batts in.

Ive heard that sticking downlights into the ceiling greatly reduces the effectiveness of insulation….just dont put too many in i guess

Fiberglass in the skin can indeed be very itchy. The fibers are almost microscopic and they poke into the skin causing intense itching and pain like a splinter does. Washing will not remove it but I read somewhere that sticking tape to the skin and peeling it off will remove the fiber. Some insulation now comes encased in a sleeve to prevent itching and there are of course other materials too. If you install a better layer of insaulation than you had you will save on heating and be more comfortable. It is also a good idea to insulate under the floor if you have an unheated crawlspace below. I saw styrofoam insulation boards at the Melbourne home show that can be wedged between the floor joists.

If you have ducted heating, it needs servicing every 3 – 4 years to suck all of the accumulated dust and crap out of the ducts. You will notice the difference in airflow and both heating effectiveness and your gas bill. If you have any asthmatics or people with dust mite allergies in the house then you may notice a difference there too.

I totally love renovating….not the mess, but the end product. I love those attic ladders. It creates an element of mystery and makes wise use of space more accessable.
Fibreglass bats can be a pain and I think you need to wear face gear as well so you don’t breath it the fibres.
Have fun!

Definitely use polyester batts. Don’t waste time on the (silghtly cheaper) fibreglass option.

Our building is in the process of changing over to led downlights rather than halogen. There are hundreds of them. Various ones have been tried and tested. But I can’t imagine that the are costing anything like the price you mention. I will post on it in the near future.

We’re in the middle of (re)doing our roof too. We’ve got a roof sagging problem, where the glue holding the ceiling to the roof frame has ‘let go’. You don’t notice the problem unless you push up on the plasterboard, or shine a torch along the ceiling, where you’d notice hills and valleys..might be the problem with your cornicing? Our house is only 25 years old.

Hi Daniel
How much did the giant vacume cleaner cost to suck out the old insulation?
Good blog :)


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