Simple Tools to Make Loft Insulation Easier (for Old Codgers)

Introduction: Simple Tools to Make Loft Insulation Easier (for Old Codgers)

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This is how I made some tools to make insulating my loft easier on my already bad back.

I live in a house that is almost 100years old, it wa renovated a few years ago and got a new roof and widows etc.  It was never insulated before so after the last few winters of extreme weather i decided that i would insulate the roof space as it would both save on the expense of heating the house and hopefully help reduce the drop in temperature during the night when the heating is not usually on, the temperature of my bedroom would drop by as much as 10*c on during average weather and in extreme weather could drop by much more.

I have a back injury that causes my allot of pain in cold weather and this can leave me unable to do the simplest o jobs, I finally found out what was causing the problem and have found that if i don't do certain things like heavy lifting and bending that would aggravate the injury that the pain could be controlled to a reasonable degree. 

I made some simple tools to help with the task of insulating the loft. a pair of pronged poles to help push the insulation into the awkward places in the roof space that i would be forced to crawl into  if i didn't have them, they also help reduce the contact with the rolls of insulation and this helps reduce the amount o dust that starts to  rise of the rolls when they are handled.

I also have a distinct fear of falling though the ceiling as because the rafters are over 80+ years old and are not a heavy as today's  regulation timbers so i made 3 boards that would make it much safer to move around the roof space. I made the boards so they could be lifted with the pronged poles without the need to bend over.

I got help to load the rolls into the roof space a week earlier and had needed a few days to recover before starting the job of laying it.

So early one Saturday morning I suited up in a disposable overall, triple layers of latex gloves and a respirator dust mask also a pair of safety goggles just to be safe but proved to be a nuisance with my glasses and I dared to be unsafe  as I doubted that there would be any health and safety people in my roof space. I also preloaded myself with enough prescription pain killers that would turn most people into zombies to make the job go as easy as possible.

The job took about 2 hours to do with a 10 min break in the middle to re hydrate as the overall and protective gear had my breached in sweat in no time. The tools proved most useful and allowed my to get the insulation poked into the tightest of corners without the need to crawl around on my hands and knees.  The boards allowed me to move around easily and provide a steady platform.

I have no pics of doing the job as i had enough to cope without trying to take a series of pictures

I found that one pole was actually enough to do the job, one remains in the lot as it got covered up about half way through and was not noticed untill finished and by that time i had a double layer in place over my bedroom and I didn't feel like looking or it.

The pole worked well but but the time i was finished the U hook had given up the ghost and broke at the weld but then it was not designed to install insulation.

I had over estimated how much insulation i needed and had 2 extra rolls left over so i added an extra layer over my bedroom and study giving me 800mm of insulation over these 2 rooms. The first night the temperature dropped only a few degrees c and since then i have been sleeping better and not waking up as sore like i normally do in cold weather.  A week on i have noticed that the heating does not need to be on as much and the heat holds for longer  so a win on several levels.

Materials used

3 broom handles

3 x 1mtr fence boards

70mm m6 lag bolts

m6 wing nuts

2 x U hooks

Safety equipment used when laying the insulation i very important, this stuff is seriously itchy if you come in contact with it i had only a few bits of my face exposed and i was itchy in this area for the rest of the day even after i had washed any exposed areas.  Wear old cloths that you don't mind trowing out after use as   the disposable overall can snag or tear when carrying out the work and is your clothes come in contact with the lagging they can remain itchy even after washing.

Safety equipment used.

Disposable overall with hood, (the zipper bust almost as soon a i put the thing onso i used masking tape to tape it shut and patch any holes that happend as i was working, it only had to last a few hours so it didn't have to look pretty.

Dust mask,  I used a respirator dust mask to give me the best protection, avoid cheap dust mask when working with this stuff, I once had to run a cable though an insulated roof space in a cloud of glass fiber dust (my cheap asshole of a  boss would not get me a dust masks and i was dumb enough to soldier on to get the gob done) I coughed m guts out that night and withing 3 months i had come down with pneumonia that i blame on working in that roof space with out a dust mask

Latex gloves, I used 3 layers of gloves on each hand as i did not want to come in contact with the gla fiber at any time, the first layer was in tatters by the end of the job.

Safety goggles, its advised to wear safety goggles when using this type of insulation, I got some but found that you caused my glasses to mist up so much i had to throw caution to the wind, my glasses do give me some basic protection but not as good as safety goggles.

The pronged poles will prove useful to anyone who is about to insulate a roof space, the side handles are optional but do prove to be easy on the wrists.

Thanks for looking and I hope you find the idea useful.

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just a quick question (and I sincerely hope I'm not about to cause you extra work here - because it's kinda important).

    When you rolled out the insulation towards the eaves, did you make sure it wasn't touching the underside of the slates/tiles/felt?
    If it is, I'm afraid to say you're going to need to send someone up there to remedy it.

    There needs to be proper airflow across the roof or you'll get damp problems.

    If it's touching, you'll need to get enough "eaves tray" from the builder's merchant (or B&Q - they should have it too) to slip between the roof cover (slate or whatever) and the insulation to make sure the air can still flow from one side of the roof to the other.

    All that effort to do the job I'd hate to see you get rot in the roof.

    Sounds like it's doing the job for warmth though - isn't it amazing what a difference good insulation can make to not waking up in pain and shivering!

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Its a brand new roof, up to current UK building regulations, uses a breathable membrane and has numerous breather vents that frankly annoy the s**t out of me on windy night as the snap open and shut and whistle and hum in time the the wild weather.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    According to government figures you should save about £125 a year with 100mm and about another £45 a year if you go to the recommended 250mm.

    I like the approach and have to increase the 100mm we have between now and Christmas so Ill get in the garage tomorrow - Thanks.

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    i have 200mm over half the area and had enough for to bump it up to 400mm over the 2 rooms i spent most of the time in.

    A handheld garden fork duck taped to a broom handle would probably be good enough to get the Job done. I think i sort of over engineered this to be honest, but being able to move the boards around is handy, I had thought of adding strings to the boards that could be lifted with a single pole.

    Check B&Q they have 200m rolls for £3 each, unfortunately that did not apply to me in N. Ireland and the swines charged me £15 per roll but  got the use of a over 60's discount card and at least got 10% off it, a bit of a pisser but can you do.

    One pole is almost enough,  lost the second one, its under the double layer part, tried to look for it but gave up rather than get a dose of the itchies from all the fiber dust that's up there now.

    The U hook has already been recycled into a Ukulele hanger to stop the poor thing from getting any more battered than it already is.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I was lucky enough to find 8 meter long rolls of 170 mm for £2. at local Homebase.

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That was nice, I think the mainland has some subsidy on the insulation rolls, it was in the fine print on the B&Q leaflet. Unfortunately it did not apply to N. Ireland for some reason.

    It tool me about 75 quid for the stuff I bought, I had about 4 rolls worth that the builder had left behind after the renovations and extension. but it was worth it as it has stabilized the extreme  temperature drop in the house and I'm finding that even though the winter is getting much colder of late I'm now getting better sleep now and don't wake up just as sore.

    Im actually tempted to put a bit more down on the side of the house that only got one layer, but ill probably do that if I see an offer on, probably best to buy it during the summer when its not needed as much.