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Old 01-10-2015, 12:32 PM   #1
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What Order To Do Repairs


I'm a new homeowner of a 1100 sq. ft.house built in the 50's with lots of character that I absolutely love and got a very good price on. However......it needs a lot of work. Would you folks give me some help on which projects should be addressed first please.

Required repairs are:

1. Damp crawl space, no mud but the dirt is moist.

2. New roof, it is not leaking but there are three layers.

3. Attic insulation, the insulation contractor says the insulation is "fair", and the attic is "warm" and should be colder. Really, should it be colder? Also I was quoted to put in 10" of spray foam insulation over the 7" of fiberglass, does this sound correct?

4. Electrical, needs updated as there are screw in type fuses.

If it is of any importance the house is located in Michigan, a couple miles from Lake Erie, there is a high water table.

I have to be very frugal with my spending on repairs and utility costs, and want to do things in the correct order not to waste any money.

Thank you all so very much.

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Old 01-10-2015, 01:02 PM   #2
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What Order To Do Repairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixiebrook View Post
I'm a new homeowner of a 1100 sq. ft.house built in the 50's with lots of character that I absolutely love and got a very good price on. However......it needs a lot of work. Would you folks give me some help on which projects should be addressed first please.

Required repairs are:

1. Damp crawl space, no mud but the dirt is moist.

2. New roof, it is not leaking but there are three layers.

3. Attic insulation, the insulation contractor says the insulation is "fair", and the attic is "warm" and should be colder. Really, should it be colder? Also I was quoted to put in 10" of spray foam insulation over the 7" of fiberglass, does this sound correct?

4. Electrical, needs updated as there are screw in type fuses.

If it is of any importance the house is located in Michigan, a couple miles from Lake Erie, there is a high water table.

I have to be very frugal with my spending on repairs and utility costs, and want to do things in the correct order not to waste any money.

Thank you all so very much.
presuming the electrical is safe, that can wait. There is nothing inherently wrong with screw in fuses.

I would wait on the insulation in the attic if you are not going to re-roof the building right now. As the roof ages it may develop leaks which could damage new insulation.

yes, an attic should be absolutely without heat. Guess where it gets heat from...

inside your house. That means heat is escaping into the attic do ideally, the attic should equal the outside temp (other than possible heat gained on a sunny day as that can heat the roof)

spray foam over fiberglass? Never heard of it before. In fact, I have not heard of anybody retrofitting spray foam in an attic at all. I cannot advise on the use myself. It's out of my area of knowledge.

I would find out where the dampness in the crawl space is coming from. That is the only thing that is an actual problem that needs to be fixed that you have listed. Dampness in a crawl space can lead to your floor and support framing being damaged due to become damp. I would look for proper ventilation and leaks from either drains or the plumbing system. If the ground in your area is inherently wet or damp, you may have to install a vapor barrier on the ground to avoid the dampness.

Once you remedy that, I would either look to the roof. Then insulation then electrical.

Obviously if there are immediate issues with the electrical system, they are an immediate need.


If you are considering spray foam for the attic space you should do the electrical before the insulation as access to electrical is often afforded by the attic space. If you insulate first it could result in damage (and presumably repair) of the insulation.

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Old 01-10-2015, 03:16 PM   #3
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What Order To Do Repairs


Wrong time of year to be addressing most of your issues.
In your area R-50 is suggested for insulation in an attic, that's 12" of insulation.
Before adding any insulation any possible ventilation issues need to be addressed, attic air sealed, baffles added so the new insulation does not block the air flow to the roof vents.
No way would I be considering spray foam between the rafters!
Blown in would cost about 1/3 as much.
3, Layers of shingles in just nuts, someone was trying to save a buck by not removing the old shingles, now it's going to cost three times as much to have them removed and disposed of, and very likely there's going to be some hidden damage to the old sheathing.
When I see that many layers I take the price of a new roof right off the asking price.
Is there any grounds on the old wiring? Do not go by just seeing three pronged outlets in the wall. Use a real tester to check. There less then $10.00.
When I see fuses and no grounds, or a 60 amp. service once again I deduct what it will cost to rewire the whole house off the price.
Crawl space moisture needs to be addressed outside first.
Working gutters.
No mulch piled up against the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds.
Any place plumbing lines where run sealed up with hydraulic cement.
Vapor barrier on the ground under the house.
ECT.
Adding 2, foam and filling the gaps with expanding foam to the rim joist.
Replacing old single paned windows with replacement windows, removing the casing if there old enough to have used window weights and insulating the huge gap to the outside.
Will make a huge difference in your HVAC cost.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:47 PM   #4
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What Order To Do Repairs


As others are mentioned your first place to start working would be the dampness in the crawlspace. It may be as simple as putting a layer of sheep plastic over the dirt. How is the insulation between the crawlspace in the first floor?

You definitely can't put spray foam on top of fiberglass in the attic. As mentioned earlier adding more fiberglass would probably be your best bet and make sure that you have good ventilation when you do it (probably put a ridge vent in when you reroof). If you aren't having any electrical problems that can wait, fuses work just as well as breakers. More than likely rewiring is going to become a major project because of all the new codes for GFCI's and AFCI's.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:21 AM   #5
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What Order To Do Repairs


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Originally Posted by Dixiebrook View Post
3. Attic insulation, the insulation contractor says the insulation is "fair", and the attic is "warm" and should be colder. Really, should it be colder? Also I was quoted to put in 10" of spray foam insulation over the 7" of fiberglass, does this sound correct?
I wonder if the person who quoted the amount of insulation said, or meant to say, blown-in insulation instead of spray foam. That would make more sense since they most likely would not suggest 10" of spray foam. He probably meant 10" of cellulose.

Don't have the cellulose blown-in on top of the fiberglass. It will compress the fiberglass, which will lower it's R-value.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:59 AM   #6
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What Order To Do Repairs


Thank you folks for the replies.

I did check my quote, "spray foam insulation" over existing rolled fiberglass, reinsulate over over hatch, baffle rafters, $2340.00 for the work. (Maybe newbie was written on my forehead. I hope it wears off before I get the quote for roof replacement.)

I have read practically all day yesterday and have decided to tackle the attic insulation myself in the spring/summer, thanks to the internet. I'm female and 55 but I can do this even if it takes me a month. My plan is to baffle the rafters and lay additional non-faced roll fiberglass insulation above what I have the opposite way. Unless I priced things wrong I can do this for approximately $800.00 for supplies including a good mask. This after the new roof. And thanks for the tip on cellulose compressing the fiberglass as I did not know that!

The crawl first, electric, roof, insulation.

As to the crawl, definitely moisture barrier, foam board insulation on walls, the place has 6 vents, four were added recently, which I need to learn more about. Possibly the previous owners thought more air flow to dry the ground up? I'll try to do this myself also.

The electric is working well, I just think it should be updated plus a plug needs to be added for a clothes dryer.

I love this site, I'm sure I will need more advice, thanks for the replies.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:17 AM   #7
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What Order To Do Repairs


Stay away from that insulation scammer. Wants to avoid dirty work of removing old insulation and wants to charge you a lot for new fad (foam insulation) that is even incorrectly applied.

They all are priorities.
1. electrical - if there are cables buried under the attic insulation, it is double work to insulate now (esp with blown in) and remove insulation later hunting for the cables. Sealing the holes in the attic floor is also important. It just gets harder if you insulate now willy nilly.

2. roof - if your rafters can support 3 layers, 3 layers it is. Should've been less, but if the roofing is new, don't worry for now. Photo and measurements of spans and lumbers would help get you better idea. Many houses support 3 layers, unfortunately.

3. crawl space - what kind is it? Enclosed by foundation or open? Landscape sloping into/away from the house? Ask the town building inspector for general idea of the area? I solved 90% of leaky basement by sealing the cracks (e.g. between the walkway and the foundation) and grading away - sacrificing the flower beds. Your crawl space may need simple solutions.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:34 AM   #8
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What Order To Do Repairs


I don't know anything, but long ago heard code allowed for a reroofing on top of 2 layers of old roofing, but I'm in Fla. Up north I'd probably worry about the weight of snow.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:51 AM   #9
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3 layers have been allowed as long as I can remember when I lived in Ohio. And why would you figure a whole house re-wire because of screw in fuses if there were no problems. Just curious knob and tube I could understand.
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by carpdad View Post
Stay away from that insulation scammer. Wants to avoid dirty work of removing old insulation and wants to charge you a lot for new fad (foam insulation) that is even incorrectly applied.

They all are priorities.
1. electrical - if there are cables buried under the attic insulation, it is double work to insulate now (esp with blown in) and remove insulation later hunting for the cables. Sealing the holes in the attic floor is also important. It just gets harder if you insulate now willy nilly.

2. roof - if your rafters can support 3 layers, 3 layers it is. Should've been less, but if the roofing is new, don't worry for now. Photo and measurements of spans and lumbers would help get you better idea. Many houses support 3 layers, unfortunately.

3. crawl space - what kind is it? Enclosed by foundation or open? Landscape sloping into/away from the house? Ask the town building inspector for general idea of the area? I solved 90% of leaky basement by sealing the cracks (e.g. between the walkway and the foundation) and grading away - sacrificing the flower beds. Your crawl space may need simple solutions.
Thanks for answering........The crawl is enclosed by the home foundation. The temperatures warmed up the past few days allowing the snow to melt which showed me water puddles, and took photos of them to reference when repair time comes. I do have 6' extensions on my downspouts no flower beds.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:45 PM   #11
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What Order To Do Repairs


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I have read practically all day yesterday and have decided to tackle the attic insulation myself in the spring/summer, thanks to the internet.
I am a life long, certifiable and confirmed DIY person.

Unless the market is radically different there than it is here you can get fiberglass blown in cheaper than you can rent the machine and buy it. Or at the very least about the same. All you need to do is find an honest insulation company. The pros do a 1000 square foot attic in about 90 minutes with no mess left in the house or the yard.

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