Part XI: Mark Depth and Label Fixtures Before Blowing Insulation

Series: Installing Blown-in InsulationPermalink

Save money by adding blown-in insulation to your attic.

A couple helpful tasks before adding insulation to your attic is to mark your desired depth and label anything you may want to find before you completely cover it.

To this end I made two different visual indicators, the first of which were brightly painted dowel rods to denote the insulation height, while the other were plastic flags affixed to the underside of the roof decking to mark anything of import below.

Dowel Rods for a Consistent R-Value Permalink

I wanted an R-value between 49 and 60 in my attic, so I settled upon a desired depth of twenty inches of insulation. To ensure an even distribution I cut a dozen dowel rods to match that depth and then spray painted their top halves a bright orange color. I placed each of the rods roughly equally apart from the others and stapled them to the ceiling joists.

The plan was to use the painted dowel rods as visual guides to the minimum insulation height. I would stop blowing more insulation on an area when I could no longer see the bright orange tops of the dowel rods. It actually worked pretty well, although if I were to do it again, I would install more dowel rods to reduce the depth guess-work.

My only other word of advice is to ensure that you can easily navigate between the rods. A couple times I inadvertently knocked a rod over while moving with the blower hose. It wasn’t difficult to right the rod, but it was still an undesired distraction while insulation was speeding out of the hose.

To Spray or Not to Spray? Permalink

There was plenty of bright orange spray paint left after painting the dowel rods, so I also spray painted some support beams and an insulated exhaust vent from the hood above my range in the kitchen. That worked pretty well, although my attic isn’t well ventilated so it was rather noxious.

I should also note that I sprayed a couple marks on the underside of the rafters that were at twenty inches, but those weren’t very visible, so it wasn’t worthwhile for me to continue with the rest.

Bright Plastic Flags Labels Permalink

I bought a set of one-hundred 21” bright yellow construction flags to denote where my soon-to-be-buried light fixtures and junctions boxes were. Unfortunately I did so without realizing that only one inch would actually be visible above the insulation. Oof.

My solution was to pull the plastic flags off, label them with a permanent marker, and then staple them onto the nearest rafter to whatever I was wanting to mark. The only thing I would change would be that I’d use two staples to secure the flags. With one staple in the middle they are impossible to read from afar because the top folds over, obscuring the label.

Hopefully I will never need to reenter my attic, but if that unfortunate day comes I will be able to more easily navigate through the deep layer of blown-in insulation. (Hopefully.)

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