How to clean a loft

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David

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Jun 16, 2008, 11:14:38 AM6/16/08
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I have recently cleaned out, insulated and boarded the loft. I
searched the archive and picked up some useful stuff. In exchange,
I'd like to share what I have learnt about the cleaning...and my pain.

Top tips:

- When buying a house, specifically mention to the vendor that
"vacant possession" means that he cannot leave 30 year old beds, old
drawers, six doors and an old broken glass door in the loft.

- If a loft has not been cleaned out for 130 years, you may need to
set aside more time than you were expecting...

- If you can get someone else to do it, do.

- If you can do it in cold weather, do. It's sweaty enough in all
the gear anyway, but with hot sun on the roof...

The following is based on the loft being as horrible as ours - ie 20
full buckets of dust from the loft of a 2 bed terrace

Procedure:

1. You need:
- Tyvek suits
- dust masks
- old wellies
- knee pads
- rubber gloves
- goggles
- dustpan and brush
- a suitable vacuum cleaner. Old loft dust has a lot of soot in it
and this will kill domestic hoovers. I got a Dyson from the tip and
it didn't work. Following recommendations on this group (see
archive), I bought a Wickes wet or dry cleaner (a rebadged version of
the Earlex) and got the large cellulose filter from Earlex. When you
assemble it, don't fit the castors or it's a pain in the loft when
working on crawl boards. You'll need to buy a little brush attachment.
- dust sheets for the room where the hatch is and for under the
ladder.
- two (or more) buckets double-lined with bin bags
- lots of bin bags
- inspection lamp and spare bulbs for when you drop the inspection
lamp
- boards to allow you to work on the rafters - eg six loft flooring
panels

Everything you take into an old loft to do this job will get very
dirty very quickly and will take a lot of cleaning up. If you can use
stuff you can throw away after, good. If you need a radio, put it in a
clear poly bag.

2. Go to loo, bid farewell to family, stroke cat, put on suit/mask/
gloves/goggles and climb up into the loft. I dispensed with the
goggles after I'd removed the old insulation, but up to you.

3. Seal the loft hatch opening with something - eg clear polythene and
gaffer tape. You'll be creating dust and you don't want it coming
down into the house. If you seal it with something opaque, you will
not be able to see anything when you drop and break the inspection
lamp while you are on crawler boards with your head in the eaves.

Note: I rolled up, bagged and took to the tip the old insulation at
this point.

4. Sweep off the purlins, all other roof timbers and the walls to
remove dust and loose material from these. Don't do this when you have
cleaned the floor of the loft (bitter experience speaking).

5. Starting in a corner, sweep up as much of the dust between two
rafters as you can and repeat the process with the other rafters,
emptying the dustpan into the buckets. Do all the sweeping before you
use the vacuum as sweeping creates dust and you'll have to repeat the
vacuuming (bitter experience speaking). When your buckets are full,
tie both bags and carry them out of the house in the buckets. You
could, I suppose, just carry the bags out, but if one splits, you'll
be living in the shed for a bit. Likewise, don't forget to take your
boots off.

6. Vacuum the purlins, all other roof timbers and the walls.

Tip: when suction drops, turn off the cleaner, hold it on your leg at
45 degrees and give it a few sharp whacks, turn it a quarter turn and
repeat till you come full circle. What you are doing is shaking the
accumulated dust off the filter into the tub. If this ceases to work,
open the cleaner and brush the dust off the filter into the tub and
then empty the

tub into the bucket. Tapping the metal bottom of the filter will also
take off a lot of dust.

7. Vacuum the floor. Order is: top of rafter, sides of rafter, then
lath by lath.

8. When you've finished, don't step back and admire your work. If
you've got this far without putting a foot through the ceiling, it'd
be a shame.

This has got to be one of the most unpleasant jobs I have done.

David

Bob Mannix

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Jun 16, 2008, 11:20:21 AM6/16/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:8cfac1ab-f6ba-4165...@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

>I have recently cleaned out, insulated and boarded the loft. I

<snip>


> Note: I rolled up, bagged and took to the tip the old insulation at
> this point.
>
> 4. Sweep off the purlins, all other roof timbers and the walls to
> remove dust and loose material from these. Don't do this when you have
> cleaned the floor of the loft (bitter experience speaking).
>

<snip>

Wrong way round. Sweep all the crap onto the insulation then roll and bag it
with *most* of the crap inside. Otherwise all fairly standard! Plus watch
out for clusters of dopey queen wasps if it's spring time. If you are going
to have the roof relaid, do it before cleaning the loft.


--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)


Bob Mannix

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Jun 16, 2008, 11:21:54 AM6/16/08
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"Bob Mannix" <b1o...@mannix.org.uk> wrote in message
news:g360bl$c2k$1...@south.jnrs.ja.net...

and, if you are going to treat for woodworm, do it immediately after the
clean

David

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Jun 16, 2008, 11:32:16 AM6/16/08
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On Jun 16, 4:20 pm, "Bob Mannix" <b1o...@mannix.org.uk> wrote:

> If you are going to have the roof relaid, do it before cleaning the loft.

Uh-oh...time to get the big plastic sheets out. We have them coming in
to re-lay the bottom metre of tiles and felt and do some general
maintenance. Ho hum...

John Rumm

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Jun 16, 2008, 12:02:34 PM6/16/08
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David wrote:

> Top tips:
>
> - When buying a house, specifically mention to the vendor that
> "vacant possession" means that he cannot leave 30 year old beds, old
> drawers, six doors and an old broken glass door in the loft.

That should be the case anyway in the standard contract. You would be
within your rights to send the clearance bill to the vendors!

> - If you can do it in cold weather, do. It's sweaty enough in all
> the gear anyway, but with hot sun on the roof...

A fine water spray can help damp the dust a bit and make it easier to
sweep.

> - a suitable vacuum cleaner. Old loft dust has a lot of soot in it
> and this will kill domestic hoovers. I got a Dyson from the tip and

A cyclone pre-filter can work wonders here:

http://www.internode.co.uk/cyclone/

> - boards to allow you to work on the rafters - eg six loft flooring
> panels

I expect you mean joists here - rafters are the sloping timbers that
hold the tiles up...

http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Roof_construction#Building_a_Roof_-_Traditional_Joinery_Method

> 2. Go to loo, bid farewell to family, stroke cat, put on suit/mask/
> gloves/goggles and climb up into the loft. I dispensed with the
> goggles after I'd removed the old insulation, but up to you.

A proper respirator mask will make the job far less unpleasant as well -
old glass fibre insulation is nasty stuff to breathe.

> This has got to be one of the most unpleasant jobs I have done.

I can well believe that!

(although wait until you take down an old lath and plaster ceiling with
all the crap in the loft sat on top of it!)

--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
| Internode Ltd - http://www.internode.co.uk |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
| John Rumm - john(at)internode(dot)co(dot)uk |
\=================================================================/

Mary Fisher

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Jun 16, 2008, 2:44:11 PM6/16/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:8cfac1ab-f6ba-4165...@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

<snip brilliant post>


>
> This has got to be one of the most unpleasant jobs I have done.

But it's done now and you have space to put your own stuff in the loft :-)

Ours was awful too, they all are, probably, but there is a great
satisfaction in the task. Especially when you've got your spouse to do it
while you give orders.

The only alteration I'd make to your instructions is to kill the cat, not
pet it.

Mary


Mary Fisher

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Jun 16, 2008, 2:45:39 PM6/16/08
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"John Rumm" <see.my.s...@nowhere.null> wrote in message
news:4JOdndDRo5CkE8vV...@posted.plusnet...

> David wrote:
>
>
>> This has got to be one of the most unpleasant jobs I have done.
>
> I can well believe that!
>
> (although wait until you take down an old lath and plaster ceiling with
> all the crap in the loft sat on top of it!)

Doesn't that happen when one of the kids goes up there and treads between
the beams?

Mary


Message has been deleted

robgraham

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Jun 16, 2008, 4:43:55 PM6/16/08
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On 16 Jun, 20:15, Paul Matthews <p...@cattytown.me.uk> wrote:

> David wrote:
> > - When buying a house, specifically mention to the vendor that
> >"vacant possession" means that he cannot leave 30 year old beds, old
> >drawers, six doors and an old broken glass door in the loft.
>
> I found toast in my loft.
>
> I didn't taste it.
> --
> Paul Matthews
> p...@cattytown.me.ukhttp://www.hepcats.co.uk

Our house is a pair of old farm cottages knocked together (Scotland).
It is therefore about 60 feet long and 20 wide. When we had an
extension added, walk in access was part of the architect's brief.
The bonus - if as such it is a bonus - is that apart from water tanks,
we have a 60 feet long walk-in floored cupboard.

Every so often there is a minor purge and some small number of items
get the heave-ho, but someone, sometime is going to have to clear the
best of 30 years' worth all out. And at approaching 70 it's not going
to be me !!

Rob

Dave Liquorice

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Jun 16, 2008, 4:51:50 PM6/16/08
to
On Mon, 16 Jun 2008 08:14:38 -0700 (PDT), David wrote:

> This has got to be one of the most unpleasant jobs I have done.

Yep, it's the heat more than anything else. And some people say solar
panels don't work... B-)

Bear in mind if your roof doesn't have any sarking it'll be filthy again
in 5 years.

--
Cheers
Dave.

Andrew Gabriel

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Jun 16, 2008, 6:12:42 PM6/16/08
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In article <nyyfbegfubjuvyypb...@srv1.howhill.net>,

Most of the muck came from airborne ash from stubble burning
and fireplaces, neither of which really exists anymore.

--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]

Doki

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Jun 16, 2008, 6:18:59 PM6/16/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:8cfac1ab-f6ba-4165...@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...
>I have recently cleaned out, insulated and boarded the loft. I
> searched the archive and picked up some useful stuff. In exchange,
> I'd like to share what I have learnt about the cleaning...and my pain.
>
> Top tips:
>
> - When buying a house, specifically mention to the vendor that
> "vacant possession" means that he cannot leave 30 year old beds, old
> drawers, six doors and an old broken glass door in the loft.
>
> - If a loft has not been cleaned out for 130 years, you may need to
> set aside more time than you were expecting...
>
> - If you can get someone else to do it, do.
>
> - If you can do it in cold weather, do. It's sweaty enough in all
> the gear anyway, but with hot sun on the roof...

If you think you may have bats, ring up English Nature and make sure you're
not breaking the law - they send volunteers to sort it out if you do have
bats. Might seem like an arseache but it's infinitely preferable to £500 per
bat - and that's disturbed or killed, unintentionally or not.

John Rumm

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Jun 16, 2008, 6:34:31 PM6/16/08
to
Doki wrote:

> If you think you may have bats, ring up English Nature and make sure
> you're not breaking the law - they send volunteers to sort it out if you
> do have bats. Might seem like an arseache but it's infinitely preferable
> to £500 per bat - and that's disturbed or killed, unintentionally or not.

Just as well dead/displaced bats can't phone then...

George (dicegeorge)

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Jun 16, 2008, 7:05:01 PM6/16/08
to
i found it worthwhile to set up lights in the attic
from a switch and RCD in nan upstairs room.

and to have a torch in my pocket
for when the lights failed.

[g]


Dave Liquorice

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Jun 16, 2008, 6:49:16 PM6/16/08
to
On 16 Jun 2008 22:12:42 GMT, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

>> Bear in mind if your roof doesn't have any sarking it'll be filthy
>> again in 5 years.
>
> Most of the muck came from airborne ash from stubble burning
> and fireplaces, neither of which really exists anymore.

I speak from experience of cleaning the parents loft about 20 years ago.
No great amount of open fires or stubble burning in the area. Within 5
years it was filthy again, OK not the 1/2 inch or so accumulation of the
previous 30 years but enough for anything up there needing to be covered,
you went up there in old clothes and anything coming down had to be
cleaned first.

--
Cheers
Dave.

Doctor Drivel

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Jun 17, 2008, 7:33:28 AM6/17/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:8cfac1ab-f6ba-4165...@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...
>I have recently cleaned out, insulated and boarded the loft. I
> searched the archive and picked up some useful stuff. In exchange,
> I'd like to share what I have learnt about the cleaning...and my pain.

It may have been best to, take away the large items in the loft. Leave the
dust where it is. Get vapour barrier plastic sheets and cover the loft right
over the joists. Use tape to join the sheets and a staple gun to get around
the joists and keep the plastic tight to the joists. This barrier then
prevents water vapour entering the loft from beneath, which can cause damage
to the timbers. If no sarking then this is not a problem as the loft is
ultra cooled and ventilated, but a a much cleaner to do job.

Fit a sealed insulated loft hatch.
Seal up cables holes entering the loft.
Seal up pipe holes entering the loft.

Lay insulation between the joists. Over the insulation lay rigid foam
insulation as thick as you can get. Lay boards over with screws going
through the insulation and into the wood joists. Thermal bridging is
eliminated via the joists and the loft will be very well lagged with no air
gaps.

And a far cleaner job to do. Many great benefits doing as I suggested.

Clint Sharp

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Jun 16, 2008, 3:32:33 PM6/16/08
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In message <4JOdndDRo5CkE8vV...@posted.plusnet>, John Rumm
<see.my.s...@nowhere.null> writes

>A cyclone pre-filter can work wonders here:
>
>http://www.internode.co.uk/cyclone/
>
Bookmarked for when I do mine, thanks.
--
Clint Sharp

David

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Jun 17, 2008, 11:49:30 AM6/17/08
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On Jun 17, 12:33 pm, "Doctor Drivel" <killef...@invalid.invalid>
wrote:

> It may have been best to, take away the large items in the loft. Leave the
> dust where it is. Get vapour barrier plastic sheets and cover the loft right
> over the joists. Use tape to join the sheets and a staple gun to get around
> the joists and keep the plastic tight to the joists. This barrier then
> prevents water vapour entering the loft from beneath, which can cause damage
> to the timbers. If no sarking then this is not a problem as the loft is
> ultra cooled and ventilated, but a a much cleaner to do job.
>
> Fit a sealed insulated loft hatch.
> Seal up cables holes entering the loft.
> Seal up pipe holes entering the loft.
>
> Lay insulation between the joists.  Over the insulation lay rigid foam
> insulation as thick as you can get. Lay boards over with screws going
> through the insulation and into the wood joists.  Thermal bridging is
> eliminated via the joists and the loft will be very well lagged with no air
> gaps.
>
> And a far cleaner job to do.  Many great benefits doing as I suggested.

Agreed to a certain extent, but we were planning on taking half the
ceiling down, so gettting rid of the dust would have been better than
bringing it down upon us. We didn't in the end, but I feel there's
something "wrong" with leaving the dirt up there.

Agreed about the rigid insulation, which I've laid over the between-
the-joist insulation in the low part of the loft beyond the newly
fitted purlin-to-joist steel restraint straps, where the roof is too
low for storage anyway. Also, the weight of a full loft of chipboard
worried me and the bit with the chipboard is big enough. I didn't lay
rigid insulation under the chipboard as I worried about it getting
crushed between the joists and the chipboard. Have insulated the
hatch, but thanks for the tip about the pipe holes.

I'd be worried about trapping water vapour on the joists though, and
with a well-ventilated loft, I think it'd be better up there than on
the joists.

Thanks to all for your comments - noted.

D

Doctor Drivel

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Jun 17, 2008, 1:46:57 PM6/17/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:19f48f44-7a86-4b78...@f63g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

On Jun 17, 12:33 pm, "Doctor Drivel" <killef...@invalid.invalid>
wrote:

Agreed to a certain extent, but we were planning on taking half the


ceiling down, so gettting rid of the dust would have been better than
bringing it down upon us. We didn't in the end, but I feel there's
something "wrong" with leaving the dirt up there.
<<<

Sealed in dirt does no harm. Dirt is all old cement is.

>>>>
I'd be worried about trapping water vapour on the joists though, and
with a well-ventilated loft, I think it'd be better up there than on
the joists.
<<<<

Water vapour would enter from the ceiling below, and exit the same way. It
is possible to lay the vapour barrier up the side of the joists and leave
the tops bare. Just staple and tape to the sides of the joists. Then no
problems at all and easier to lay the plastic.

Mary Fisher

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Jun 17, 2008, 2:05:46 PM6/17/08
to

"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:19f48f44-7a86-4b78...@f63g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

> Agreed to a certain extent, but we were planning on taking half the
ceiling down, so gettting rid of the dust would have been better than
bringing it down upon us. We didn't in the end, but I feel there's
something "wrong" with leaving the dirt up there.

I agree.

> I'd be worried about trapping water vapour on the joists though, and
with a well-ventilated loft, I think it'd be better up there than on
the joists.

Quite right.

> Thanks to all for your comments - noted.

About killing the cat?

:-)

Mary


David

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Jun 18, 2008, 3:44:58 AM6/18/08
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On Jun 17, 7:05 pm, "Mary Fisher" <mary.fis...@zetnet.co.uk> wrote:

>
> > Thanks to all for your comments - noted.
>
> About killing the cat?
>
> :-)
>
> Mary

Generally no, but at 4am today when he woke me up because he fancied a
snack, maybe....
D

Mark

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Jun 18, 2008, 4:35:27 AM6/18/08
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Here here! (One's just destroyed several new plants that I bought at
the weekend).

--
(\__/) M.
(='.'=) Owing to the amount of spam posted via googlegroups and
(")_(") their inaction to the problem. I am blocking most articles
posted from there. If you wish your postings to be seen by
everyone you will need use a different method of posting.
See http://improve-usenet.org

Message has been deleted

Ian_m

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Jun 18, 2008, 9:18:18 AM6/18/08
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"David" <readt...@mailinator.com> wrote in message
news:8cfac1ab-f6ba-4165...@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...

>I have recently cleaned out, insulated and boarded the loft. I
> searched the archive and picked up some useful stuff. In exchange,
> I'd like to share what I have learnt about the cleaning...and my pain.
>
> Top tips:
>
>>SNIP<<<

My top tip from a couple of years ago.

Hire an industrial sized vacuum has following advantages:
- Has 2.5" pipe so blocks less often.
- Can go for considerably longer before needing emptying.
- Hose is monsterously long pipe so no need to continuously reposition
the vacuum.


Tim S

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Jun 18, 2008, 11:46:55 AM6/18/08
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Huge coughed up some electrons that declared:

> On 2008-06-16, robgraham <robkg...@btinternet.com> wrote:
>
>> Every so often there is a minor purge and some small number of items
>> get the heave-ho, but someone, sometime is going to have to clear the
>> best of 30 years' worth all out. And at approaching 70 it's not going
>> to be me !!
>

> I recently helped my 75 y/o mother move from a 3 bed house to a 1 bed
> apartment. We threw out over 100 bin bags full of junk.
>
>

26 cubic yards worth of skips for a house clearance I just did, after
ebaying, freecycle, offering around and keeping the good (solid, needs
restoring) furniture. That included garden and shed clearance. About 1-2 cu
yards worth was nicked out of the skips in total, so I wasn't chucking much
of value. Even the local old-boy-professional-scavenger was disappointed
with the quality of what I was chucking.

Landlord's got the window fitter around, so I'm going to purge my house into
his skip when he's finished filling it.

Amazing the crap that accumulates in a house...

Good job I've got a trussed roof with no boarding, or that would be full of
crap too...

Cheers

Tim

George (dicegeorge)

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Jun 18, 2008, 12:28:49 PM6/18/08
to

any recommendation advice on types of industrial sized vacuum s to hire
please...

Dave Liquorice

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Jun 18, 2008, 5:30:22 PM6/18/08
to
On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:18:18 +0100, Ian_m wrote:

> Hire an industrial sized vacuum has following advantages:
> - Has 2.5" pipe so blocks less often.
> - Can go for considerably longer before needing emptying.
> - Hose is monsterously long pipe so no need to continuously
> reposition the vacuum.

Agreed, when we did the parents loft we hired a big vacuum. Well worth it
but if you have a lath and plaster ceiling be careful with the nozzle
it'll suck itself down quite hard and you'll knock the knibs off and
they'll disappear, even only vaguely loose bits may disappear...

--
Cheers
Dave.

LoftandInsulation

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Oct 11, 2021, 4:31:16 AM10/11/21
to
Thank you for posting this blog. Keep on sharing.

--
For full context, visit https://www.homeownershub.com/uk-diy/how-to-clean-a-loft-486996-.htm

Andrew

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Oct 11, 2021, 8:54:36 AM10/11/21
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On 11/10/2021 09:31, LoftandInsulation wrote:
> Thank you for posting this blog. Keep on sharing.
>

Unlucky 13. another ancient post has reappeared 13 years after
it was done and dusted, just like the original loft.


Brian Gaff (Sofa)

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Oct 12, 2021, 2:14:28 AM10/12/21
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Well it will need doing again after that time. I have an easy solution. I
don't go up there unless I need to let in a tradesman like a plumber!

Never see the muck then. The loft is very ventilated since its not been
lined and there are horizontal gaps between the tiles.
Brian

--

This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
The Sofa of Brian Gaff...
bri...@blueyonder.co.uk
Blind user, so no pictures please
Note this Signature is meaningless.!
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