Monday, December 21, 2015

Insulation for the WIN(ter) Part 2: Even Warmer

Hey there friends!  I know it's been a while since we've posted some Do-It-Yourself renovations but we've been super busy flipping our newest acquired rental, named Charlotte from it's street name, from And Then There Were Three!  The bad news is that means we've been having super late nights of renovating and no time to blog BUT the good news is we will have lots of content to show everyone soon as all of our renovations come to an end.

Since it's winter and everyone's thinking about bundling up and staying warm inside their homes, we thought it'd be a good idea to post a "how to" about our latest renovation success - blow-in insulation!  

We chose to do the work ourselves vs hiring because of the cost savings.  We were quoted $900 for the same blow-in insulation which didn't include insulating the walls.  The project total (including insulating the walls) ended up costing us $500 in materials since we ended up buying our materials on Black Friday for 15% off.

Before & After of Blow-In Insulation

We could go on and on about all the benefits and importance of having a well insulated home (seriously ask us and we can talk your ears off), but bottom line is - a well insulated home will save a boat load of money in utilities... and who doesn't love saving money!?  This also means your furnace isn't working as hard which in turn will extend your furnace's life.

Charlotte (the rental) had no insulation when we purchased her.  This was a bad and good thing for us.  The bad thing was that meant more renovation work for us.  The good thing was that meant we had very easy access to make things right in the house and bring things up to code.  So, we decided to get rid of all of the knob and tube old wiring in the house and put in all new Romex wire before it was all covered in insulation.  Fast forward to us completing all the re-wiring and it was insulation time!

Steps 1-6 are prep for insulation installation.  
Skip to Step 7 for just blow-in insulation how-to.

Step 1: Remove roof slats to create access for insulating in the dormers of the house.

These slats blocking the dormers perform no function to the integrity of the roof

Step 2: Patch all ceiling holes.

Removing outdated whole house fan

Patching Ceiling

Step 3: Fireblock insulate around all crevices/holes.

Fireblock Great Stuff Insulation

Great stuff around wire holes

Great stuff around bathroom fan crevices

Step 4: Insert rafter baffle ventilation.

Ventilation is SOOO important for the life of a roof!  Without proper ventilation, any roof shingle warranty is immediately void.  Essentially insulation should never be directly against the roof.

Sketch of how baffles allow roof ventilation 
so insulation doesn't suffocate the roof

Step 5: Insulate exposed walls.

We used R-13 fiberglass batt insulation on the exposed walls of the upstairs bedroom.

Before (left) and after (right) - insulated walls with batt insulation

Batt insulation on walls

Step 6: Clean - remove everything from attic!

Before - messy attic
After - removed all wood planks and scraps

 Step 7: Pick out and buy all insulation.

We chose Green Fiber blow-in insulation which can be blown in at values ranging from R13-R60.  R-value is is a unit of thermal resistance - the higher the number, the better your house will be insulated.  There are tables on each insulation package which show at what depth to blow in the insulation for a given R-value (we chose R38).  These tables also show how many bags are needed for particular square footage.  We bought 82 bags of insulation and ended up using 81.  I'd say our math was pretty spot on :).

GreenFiber insulation

Step 8: Prepare insulation machine by routing hose and hooking up to machine.

The machine to blow in the insulation comes as a free rental as long as 10 bags are bought.  We chose the extra long hose with the machine so we didn't have to lug the extremely heavy machine upstairs to the attic.

Machine hose routed up the stairs and to the furthest point in the attic

Duct tape hose to machine

Step 9: Appoint a person to (1) feed insulation into the machine - Brooke and (2) control the hose in the attic - Matt.

Step 10: Create a marker at desired depth of insulation (based on charts on package from Step 7).
Stick marked at 12" for depth of insulation

Step 11: Constantly feed the machine

Brooke's sight of feeding the machine

Step 12: Work your way out of the attic assuring insulation depth is at desired height.

Timeline of Matt insulating attic

Insulating above 2nd story bedroom (these walls insulated in Step 5)

Step 13 (specific to our project): Built a platform to enter attic.

Matt standing on platform at attic entrance

Step 14: Take a shower!  This is an extremely messy job!

Matt and Brooke COVERED in fiber insulation

Step 15: Enjoy a warm house!!

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