A Day in the Life of a Retro-fit Insulation Installer

Retrofitting insulation batts

It’s a very early start for most roof insulation installers. Not only do they get more work done that way, but the roof space gets very hot as soon as the sun hits. The more work that gets out of the way early in the day the better.

Some installers will have their own storage facilities and potentially keep a supply of insulation in their garage. Others are affiliated with large insulation suppliers and pick it up on the way to their jobs as needed. Others again will prefer to arrange the insulation to be shipped directly from supplier to the job site, but this is often not ideal as it can be difficult to know how many bags are required to do the job. Having 1-2 bags left over can be a small inconvenience, while being half a bag short can be a major inconvenience.

Installing roof insulation early

The insulation installer arrives at 6:30am and the sleepy resident opens up and points out where the manhole access is located. They wouldn’t normally be up at this unearthly hour on a Saturday morning, but this situation is somewhat inevitable. The fact that many residents who work during the week also prefer to be home when the installer comes to do the job, means that many of these jobs are scheduled for the weekend.

The install is completed in a few hours…

He then gets his ladder, puts it up against the manhole and inspects the ceiling space. Some installers will not quote a job before they have physically inspected the ceiling. Others are happy to quote based on a verbal description, potentially with a couple of supporting photos.

The installer pre-loads the ceiling, by shoving the unopened ceiling insulation bags up through the manhole and takes a deep breath as the last bag is loaded into the ceiling. At this point the installer is armed with a few basic tools. Among them are a sharp long-bladed knife and an installer’s “stick”, which is basically a stick approximately the length of a broom handle, with a sharpened end (some installers might put a nail on the end).

It doesn’t need to be a hot day outside for the roof space to quickly warm up, so the mindset of the installer is to get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible. Without wasting any time, he opens the first bag and, one batt at a time, pushes them between the ceiling joists.

Once the roof insulation is installed, the scraps are put into an empty bag. The installer climbs down, washes his hands and advises the client (who is now sitting at his breakfast table reading the Saturday paper), that the job is done. After a cold drink he’s on his way again to pick up the material for his next job.

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