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Blowing Insulation Over Recessed Lights

I have an addition on my house that is very drafty. The ceiling has recessed lights (direct contact type) and the ceiling is insulated with what appears to be R-19 faced insulation. The roof is a shed type roof and has the foam chutes that allow air to get into the ceiling. The ceiling appears to framed with 2x10 joists. The roof eave is vented (to allow the air chutes to work). However, there is a huge draft coming from the recessed lights. I can remove the eave vents to access the ceiling. Can I blow in insulation over the existing R-19 insulation?



Hi Joe

Definitely you could add blown in insulation over the existing R-19 batts as long as you are 100% sure your recessed lights are fire rated. If not than don't attempt it. I've done this before and it is a little tricky.

Before you get started make sure you are wearing a dust mask, goggles and protective clothing as this can get dusty and messy. First you will need to remove each of the vents and the vent chutes (baffles). The insulation blowing machine will need to be on a low setting as these cavities fill quickly. You would want to snake the hose to the furthest point and work your way back to the eave vent opening. Continue this process until all of the runs are insulated. 

When blowing insulation you want to make sure you are not filling the cavity completely or you will end up with no ventilation. I would leave at least a 2" space between the roof and insulation. And, that is the tricky part I was talking about... it's easier said than done. Even using a flashlight to check your work can be difficult.

So, in your situation I would recommend hiring a professional unless you are absolutely confident you can do it yourself. Keep in mind that if you fill these cavities completely you will loose your ventilation and as a result it could cause dry rot damage to the structural members of your ceiling and roof.

Good luck with your project.

Related Tips and Advice:

How to insulate an attic.

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