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Old 12-19-2011, 11:14 AM   #1
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Balloon framed exterior wall questions


I have to retype this because my first post got lost so I'm leaving out background info...

1) I'm budget constrained such that buying all my insulation at once is impractical, and I certainly can't get enough at once to meet the minimum buy for a free blower rental (not sure I need that much anyway). My walls are open at the top from the side attic and closed at the bottom. Can I just open a bag and drop loose fill insulation in?

2) While the wall cavities are uninsulated, is there any value in sealing off the cavities at the top with 1" foam to prevent the convective looping from connecting with the unconditioned air in the side attic from the roof ventilation?

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Old 12-19-2011, 11:54 AM   #2
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Balloon framed exterior wall questions


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Originally Posted by WillK View Post
I have to retype this because my first post got lost so I'm leaving out background info...

1) I'm budget constrained such that buying all my insulation at once is impractical, and I certainly can't get enough at once to meet the minimum buy for a free blower rental (not sure I need that much anyway). My walls are open at the top from the side attic and closed at the bottom. Can I just open a bag and drop loose fill insulation in?
Go ahead and pour insulation in from the top.

Get a long thin weight of about 2 pounds that can be hung from a long string, drop that down and work it up and down so if insulation hangs up halfway down it will settle all the way down.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-19-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:28 PM   #3
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Balloon framed exterior wall questions


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Go ahead and pour insulation in from the top.

Get a long thin weight of about 2 pounds that can be hung from a long string, drop that down and work it up and down so if insulation hangs up halfway down it will settle all the way down.
Ayuh,... 'n you can measure, 'n mark yer string, so's ya know yer gettin' the stuff All the way to the bottom....

Use a good stout string, like mason's line or something really Tough...
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:06 AM   #4
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Balloon framed exterior wall questions


1. Yes

2. Yes, 100% yes. Seal with rigid foam and caulking.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:15 AM   #5
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Not going to work and here's the reasons why.
There's going to be wiring crossing the stud bays stopping the insulation from falling to the bottom.
In the outside corners there's going to be diagnal bracing built into the wall studs.
There's not going to be enough room at the tops of the walls to pore and force the insulation down because the roofs going to be in the way.
There's no way to get insulation under the widows that way.
Blown insulation in walls needs to be done by hole cutting holes in the outside siding and shooting it in with a smaller hose then the one's on the machines you can rent at the store. Even then there will be spots that are going to get missed.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Not going to work and here's the reasons why.
There's going to be wiring crossing the stud bays stopping the insulation from falling to the bottom.
In the outside corners there's going to be diagnal bracing built into the wall studs.
There's not going to be enough room at the tops of the walls to pore and force the insulation down because the roofs going to be in the way.
There's no way to get insulation under the widows that way.
Blown insulation in walls needs to be done by hole cutting holes in the outside siding and shooting it in with a smaller hose then the one's on the machines you can rent at the store. Even then there will be spots that are going to get missed.
+1

It will be difficult and you will be luck if you get 1/2 fill rates if you are lucky.

Ideal application would be some sort of drip foam or airkrete.

Getting the top sealed off from the attic will go a long way to mitigating some of the thermal stripping of the walls.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:28 PM   #7
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Balloon framed exterior wall questions


So, some relevant notes:

At this point, I'm looking back on my heating bills from last year and I had a $600 gas bill in January. Whatever it is that the units are on the gas bill I don't have in front of me, the amount of gas was 60.0 that month. This month has been half cold half mild and my gas meter reads 25.4. I forget exactly how far along my insulating was, but I know that we had the ceiling insulated before we moved in - but the second floor knee walls were not insulated at the point we moved in. I might not have had that in January, and I probably also didn't have the laundry room ceiling insulated.

At this point, I'm pretty well through all of my insulating tasks except for the crawlspace walls (which won't be doable until after the crawlspace beam project is done, which means likely I won't get the crawlspace walls insulated before spring) And this particular wall.

There are 2 windows in this wall, overall the wall is 20' long, one window is 5' wide and the other 30" wide. I've looked into wall cavities and I don't know that I've seen a diagonal brace. As I've said in other threads, the house was built in 1917 - and I've had more than a few WTF moments. I wouldn't be surprised if diagonal bracing was not present at all.

Wiring is also something I'm pretty confident isn't a concern. There are a couple outlets which are newer in these walls which run from the crawlspace, but any of the knob and tube was run across the floor joists in the attic and through the joist cavities between floors, so none of it actually ran through exterior walls - at least not on this side. There is one cavity that has wiring from a 3-way switch, and otherwise I'm free of all wiring and plumbing on this side.

Drilling from the outside would come down to renting a core drill. I have fake brick facia over wood plank siding. And then I'd also need to rent a blower. For the 6 half cavities I'd miss because of the windows, I'm inclined to think the rental costs wouldn't be recouped in gas bill savings over 2 seasons.

Which raises another question.. My concern with any kind of expanding foam is that later I'll be tearing off walls and I will be running new wire through the wall at that time to rewire to the latest code, particularly more outlets with TR receptacles on a new 20A AFCI circuit on my new panel so I can eliminate remaining circuits on the old panel.

So that does overall lead me to the question: at $9/bag for however many bags, will I gain enough just from loose fill in this wall for it to be worth doing for 2 heating seasons?

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Last edited by WillK; 12-20-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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