Author Topic: Insulating on old house  (Read 15519 times)

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Birdmmjb

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Insulating on old house
« on: December 15, 2007, 03:03:59 PM »
I have an old house that I would likt to blow insulation in to the walls.  The problem is that all the insulation I see in the home improvement stores states that it is for attic (sp) use.


Is there a different product for walls?  Is there a problem with blowing this stuff into the wall.  IE contact with wiring in the switch boxes and such.


I need to repaint the walls inside and my daughter is great at plaster repair so I could kill two birds with one paint job.


Any advise welcom.


Jan



Somewhat off topic here, I found a fair bit of info on Google on blown in insulation, for cellulose, rock wool  and fiberglass types.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 03:03:59 PM by (unknown) »

wdyasq

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 08:27:22 AM »
Lots of big claims - Lots of folks using it. I do NOT know of any installations personally.


http://tinyurl.com/3ynsuo


Ron

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 08:27:22 AM by wdyasq »
"I like the Honey, but kill the bees"

fcfcfc

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 10:48:50 AM »
Hi: Blowing insulation can be tricky. A proper vapor barrier is key when putting insulation in a wall. Cellulose is nice in the wall and fairly easy to do. But you need to get a good pack in the wall and start with the insulation really "foofed" up when putting it into the blower hopper. What I used to do is cycle it once through the blower to air fluff it, then blow that into the wall. Outlets and switches should be sealed first and a good primer sealer applied to the wall (2 coats) which will help act as a vapor barrier. The prep work takes as long as the blowing itself. Cellulose in the wall goes for about R4 per inch if done right. Use 1-1/4" black poly pipe that comes in the big coils and attach to the nozzle. Have the piece about 7' long and cut the one end at a 45 Deg angle. Smooth the rough edges. Then drill a single hole about 18" from the bottom of the wall for each stud space. You shove the tube in and up to the top of the wall (the 45deg helps in slide up). You can feel the insulation going in. When it stops, wiggle the tube and keep doing that until the wiggle doesn't work any more, then pull the pipe down about a foot and keep doing the same thing until you are at the bottom. That way you get a fairly uniform density through the cavity.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 10:48:50 AM by fcfcfc »

fcfcfc

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 10:56:21 AM »
Hi: Forgot to say, when blowing walls, make sure your wall is well secured regarding the method the sheathing is attached and particularly the inner wall covering. If for example, the drywall is not screwed on well, you can blow your wall right apart. The pressure is low per square inch, but it adds up fast across the large wall surface...
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 10:56:21 AM by fcfcfc »

spinningmagnets

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 03:21:17 PM »
Its my understanding that vertical wall studs are usually 16" apart from center to center. About halfway up the wall there are horizontal braces made from 14"ish pieces of 2"X 4"s. I've been told they are called fire-blockers (true?).


All I'm pointing out is that, if you pour loose insulation into a hole in the wall near the ceiling, you will only be filling up the top half of the wall. (I apologize if you already knew this).


If you squirt in liquid foam that expands and hardens, its easy to "pop-off" the drywall. Maybe it could be done in one-foot tall sections through small holes that are easily patched.


Loose attic fill insulation will settle over time. Not such a problem in a horizontal attic floor, but it may end up with annoying air-circulating spaces in the walls that provide heat-loss paths. Nothing especially horrible, but every bit adds up.


Best of luck! Please post what you tried, and how it worked out.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 03:21:17 PM by spinningmagnets »

Birdmmjb

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 05:17:42 PM »
I agree that every bit adds up.  Thats why I want to insulate even if it settles over time its better than not doing anything at all.


As to what type of insulation I was thinking the cellulose type would do the best for this house.


All the other information I have ever seen had the holes for blowing at the top of the wall so the idea of inserting a tube at the bottom was new to me.


I still have no idea if the product I see at the lumberyards labled for attic is the same stuff for wall insulation.


My daughter will be here for Christmas and I see when she can help me with this project.


Jan

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 05:17:42 PM by Birdmmjb »

mikeyny

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 05:29:15 PM »
hello,

  I have been in the cellulose insulation biz for many yrs now. Everything you say about the insert tube method is absolutly correct. That is the best way to do it. The only detail left out is having the proper air setting for the particular machine you are using. that can be tricky. The proper air setting determines the density of the insulation. Naturally if you run into fire blocking you need to drill holes above and below them. Also many older houses are of balloon construction or post and beam. Some have endless cavities to blow into and others have knee braces in all of the corners and some in between.  Blowing cellulose can be tricky but with a good bit of research and some guidance from some pro's, some handy folks can do a respectable job.


                                                    Michael Kortz,

                                                   albanyinsulation.com

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 05:29:15 PM by mikeyny »

mikeyny

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 05:38:15 PM »
There are several different grades or mix's of cellulose. The Attic type is considered a low dust formula because it is blown into an open attic area. It is generally more money that the regular formula. So it really is the same product, just a little less dusty.

                                      mike
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 05:38:15 PM by mikeyny »

elvin1949

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 09:00:32 PM »
Jan

 My house in Louisiana was built in 1945.

It has fire blocking every 2 ft up the walls.

It had a brick fireplace.Ashly wood heater now.

 My daughter's house in Oklahoma in was built 1943.It has gas heat. It has 2 fire blocks in every wall.

 So check your walls for fire block's before

you make up your mind what to do.

 I watched an old house get blown in insulation

one time .they had to drill lot's of hole's on the outside of the house then plug them after they were done.But it did do a good job of making it easier to heat and cool.

later

Elvin
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 09:00:32 PM by elvin1949 »

GeeMac

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2007, 07:00:13 AM »
Gravity will eventually pack your blown insulation. The more it packs, the less dead air is available for insulating. If I had the money I would remove the drywall have a liquid expaniding foam isulation squirted in, and then replace the vapor barrier and drywall.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 07:00:13 AM by GeeMac »

zeusmorg

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 07:08:18 AM »
 To see whether or not you have a fireblock, simply attach a lead weight on a string.measure off the length of the string that will easily drop and you know if your cavity has any blocks, and also where you'd need to drill the next hole.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 07:08:18 AM by zeusmorg »

alibro

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2007, 11:20:35 AM »
I got a company to do this job for me. They drilled holes in the brick about every 2 meters along the wall and about 1 meter off the ground. And again around  2.5 meters up. They then blew in little polystyrene beads which filled the cavity right up to the wall plate (we lived in a bungalow at the time). I don't know how many years it would have taken to get our money back and I didn't notice any appreciable reduction in oil usage but the house did feel more comfortable and held the heat better after the heating turned off at night.


Alibro

« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 11:20:35 AM by alibro »

alibro

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2007, 11:26:40 AM »
I forgot to say the house was built with double skin blockwork, with plaster and stone chips finish on the outside and normal plaster on the inside. I guess pressure isn't such an issue with solid walls but they are much colder than drywall.


Alibro

« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 11:26:40 AM by alibro »

SteveCH

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2007, 06:58:47 PM »
A good buddy of mine did this himself. He opted for cellulose. It came in "bales" and he rented a machine to loosen the packed stuff up, and blow it in the walls. He did his from inside the house, after locating and marking on the drywall the blocks. It was a big, big job, doing it alone, but he did and it was quite effective. Cellulose, blown in, from what I saw of his job, is packed in very tight and I doubt there'd be much measurable settling. In his case, he got the machine from the guy who was supplying the cellulose bales. I don't know anyone who's used the attic insulation version. The cellulose left a dusty mess in his house, during installation, but it cleaned up ok. He has been very happy with the results....
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 06:58:47 PM by SteveCH »

Gordy

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2007, 06:31:19 PM »
I have a barn with cellulose blown into the walls. I cut a hole in one wall to put in an overhead garage door. What I found was bridging in 3 of the 4 stud spaces I opened up, The open gaps were 2" 6" and 2'.


I know money matters, but depending on how old the house is and long you want to hang on to it and/or if your thinking of resale value. I'd strip the interior walls and go with the foam that way you can inspect and upgrade the electrical wiring, ect.


Gordy

« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 06:31:19 PM by Gordy »

zander1976

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2010, 09:47:51 PM »
Its my understanding that vertical wall studs are usually 16" apart from center to center. About halfway up the wall there are horizontal braces made from 14"ish pieces of 2"X 4"s. I've been told they are called fire-blockers (true?).

Yeah, I am pretty sure that is true. It would certainly slow the fire down and give you some time.

For insulation I am going to go with Quadlock Retro Fit. It just screws on the outside of your house and adds and R18 to your walls. Very high and way easier then ripping down walls. For below grade walls you can put it on the inside of the walls instead of the outside.


birdhouse

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2010, 02:12:14 AM »
bird- 
thats cool you're insulating an old home!  i've been slowly doing the same.  i recently spoke with 4 different insulation contractors for a larger job of mine.  the general consensus is to NOT use cellulose insulation.  heard of many problems with mold, fire and settling issues.  it is mostly made from shredded paper, not a very good with fire.  granted it is treated.  it is also way heavier than fiberglass insulation, so the settling problem is worse.  fiberglass also fairs better if it ever gets wet. 

sure the stuff is made from recycled content, but then it's sprayed with a (i'm guessing) chemical fire retardant.  fiberglass is now available in formeldhyde free versions. 

everyone says foam, but realistically, foam is 2.5X the cost.  if you can afford it sure, great! if it were me, i'd blow in F free fiberglass. 

check near your exterior corners with a stud finder, some times in pre 50's homes, they used to run diaginal blocks from the top plate in the corner, to the bottom plate 10 feet away or so.  they were trying to gain shear from blocking. 

i say go for it with something blow in, and it may not be perfect, but it will be way better!

adam

DamonHD

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2010, 02:25:09 AM »
Hi,

I've found the http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/ to be a really good source of info/discussion on this sort of topic.

Rgds

Damon

zander1976

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2010, 01:56:21 PM »
Hey,

I am looking at using Quadlock Retrofit. Just attach it to the outside or inside of the house.

http://www.quadlock.com/retrofit_insulation/index.htm

Oddie

Cyrcle

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2010, 03:47:45 PM »
Google "Larsen Truss" for an interesting way to retrofit an older home.

Cellulose won't settle if it's packed to at least 3.5 lbs of it per cubic foot. Fire is not a problem and the fire and mold treatments aren't toxic.

Whatever you do be very careful about where your vapor barrier is, especially if the wall already has one. Be careful to not trap moisture in your wall.

Lots of good info at http://www.buildingscience.com/index_html

Likely of interest for this project http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-043-dont-be-dense/
« Last Edit: December 24, 2010, 04:16:27 PM by Cyrcle »

12AX7

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2010, 10:06:31 PM »
50 years ago I help my dad insulate our old (it was old back then) house.   I was up in the attic dumping bags of Vermiculite,  dad was handing them up to me.

After dumping in many many bags my mom came racing from the basement (where she was doing the laundry),  seems that a third of what I dumped in from the attic ended up in the basement,  and it was a 2 1/2 story house.

Fire stops?   *L*  not a one!

Just a week ago I looked in the attic of my house and spotted areas where the wind pushed the cellulose around,  leaving some of the rafters exposed.
Looks like I'll be taking on the same project soon.
*rats*

ax7
Mark

dnix71

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2011, 05:39:01 PM »
Quad Lock is styrofoam blocks. What do you put over that to protect it from weather and mechanical damage? Do they spray epoxy over it, like Dryvit?

GaryGary

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2011, 08:39:24 PM »
Hi,
Some pretty detailed descriptions of how to blow cellulose in walls here:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/WallCellulose.htm

The Harley book "Insulate and Weatherize" also has some good detail on blowing cellulose for both walls and attics.

If walls are done at the right density they will never settle.

Gary

MattM

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Re: Insulating on old house
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2011, 06:30:39 AM »
As long as it doesn't get wet it won't settle.  Cellulose tends to settle after its drying agent decomposes years down the road.