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Old 09-23-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
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Dealing with older blown in insulation


Alright, to give you some quick background, I'm 23 and just bought my first house last year. It's a story and a half built in 1930, and like almost every other house of this age, every previous owner has had their way with it... One, in particular, did some horrible things to it, mostly in the wall finishing and wiring. I bought the house knowing it would need a lot of work and am doing it a little at a time.

Anyhoo, I'm looking for some advice: one previous owner, in the 80's I think, had all windows replaced and blown-in insulation put into all the exterior walls. It looks like a loose fill white fiberglass. That being said, the entire house is lined with either wood paneling or MDF board, and when I began to remove it i found the original plaster and lath to be in horrid condition in most places. So I decided I'm going to gut the entire house and hang drywall (I'm not looking for a lecture on this decision). I'm not sure what to do about the blown-in insulation when I start on the exterior walls. Is there a possibility of reusing it? Or am I better off just scrapping it and installing batt insulation? Or someone even mentioned using rigid foam... I'm doing this project a room at a time and was told spray foam would be way too expensive doing it this way.

Any advice is appreciated.

Josh
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:24 PM   #2
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Don't bother try to re-use it. You will spend more time messing with it.

Don't both with SPF either. You can air seal all you need to via some caulking and canned foam.

Post up some pictures of the interior walls (once demo'ed) and the exterior walls and you will get more poignant feedback.
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:47 PM   #3
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Balloon framed? If it is you need to add fire blocking at the top and bottom of the walls.
Has the wiring been up graded?
Going to find some interesting things when you strip those walls and old trim.
Often times no one ever removed the trim around the windows so there's going to be a big empty hole in the wall where the old weights where that never got insulated and it's common to be able to see day light.
No air sealing where the wiring and plumbing was run through the top and bottom plates.
Big voids in the insulation where it sagged and outright got missed.
Wiring nightmares.
I've found where there was old windows or even doors covered over with no insulation.
It's going to be a lot of work but well worth it.
Rent a big dumpster, buy a cheap box fan and set it in the window to help get rid of the dust.
Consider building out the walls if there just 2X4's so R19 will fit.
Just need to make some jamb extensions around the windows and door's, simple job.
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:29 PM   #4
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I believe the house is balloon framed. What should I use as a fire stop?

The wiring is mostly the original knob and tube with the occasional scary looking junction box where one of the previous owners hacked a piece of 2 wire Romex onto the k&t. But lucky for me, my girlfriend's father is a certified, self employed electrician, so he's giving me a hand with doing all new wiring when he can.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about insulation right now. My studs are mostly dimensional 2x4s, which makes me wonder if I can still use batts meant for modern 3.5" wide 2x4s. Or if that extra half inch of air space is going to cause a problem.

Thanks for the input so far.

Josh
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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Fireblock with wood and a combination of drywall if you really want to get crazy.

What does the exterior sheathing and cladding consists up?

That will dictate, in large part, what is the best way to insulate the exterior wall.

You lucked out on the father-in-law.
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:01 PM   #6
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Incoming power may need to be upgraded, need to contact your local power company to find out.
If it's the original panel box it needs to go and a permit pulled to replace it.
All the old knob and tube needs to go and all new wiring and outlet used.
Should have been home inspection 101, old knob and tube, deduct at least 2 or $3000.00 from the asking price.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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Where are you located?

Andy.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:55 PM   #8
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I haven't gotten far enough to know what the exterior sheathing is yet, but I'll look into it.

Joe, I'm well aware of everything you mentioned in your last post. As I said, I knew the house needed a lot of work before I bought it, and got it at a good price.

I'm located in central Iowa.

Thanks, Josh.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:59 AM   #9
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my money says you have plank, or even tongue & groove sheathing.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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The sheathing looks like 7/8" x 9" boards, I assume that is what you refer to as plank?

Thanks, Josh.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:17 PM   #11
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Exterior cladding (siding, stucco, etc.)?

Time for some rigid board toward the outside wall and then batts.

Whether you want an air space depends on the cladding and how it dries.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:18 PM   #12
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I've got slate siding for the exterior.

But if I understand correctly, I can put a piece of 3/4" or 1" rigid foam in the back of the stud bay, air seal around it with foam or caulk, and then lay my fiberglass batt on top of that?

Thanks, Josh.
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:48 AM   #13
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Make sure you inspect the plumbing. It might be galvanized. If so. All needs to be replaced. Just because it looks good on outside doesn't mean big problems on inside. Can you say 20,000. Probably new electrical new insulation new drywall new plumbing. Problem with an old house. You can open Pandora's box. Its also balloon framed. Don't mess with any structure. It is for experienced carpenters only.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radcon91 View Post
I've got slate siding for the exterior.

But if I understand correctly, I can put a piece of 3/4" or 1" rigid foam in the back of the stud bay, air seal around it with foam or caulk, and then lay my fiberglass batt on top of that?

Thanks, Josh.
Roger that. I would keep the foam just a tiny bit off the wall to allow for some convection and any drying to the outside.

You can rip some 1/2" furring strips as a guide but everything else you said is perfect.

Foil faced foam facing to the outside is a great option.

+1 to 747 on the other stuff.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radcon91 View Post
The sheathing looks like 7/8" x 9" boards, I assume that is what you refer to as plank?
yes .........
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