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Old 01-27-2018, 10:36 AM   #1
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Minimum required insulaton


We are getting quotes for insulation for our spring build. In our area R20 is the minimum required. We have gotten 3 bids so far and all 3 are for the min required? Is it standard to just quote the min or should they ask if we want more? Do we have to ask?

We are discovering that it is very hard working with anyone, it takes many many calls to get anyone to reply. Our construction may even be pushed out another month because of it. FRUSTRATING
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:54 AM   #2
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


If you are doing your own contracting this is the good time of the year as most sub contractors are not all that busy. Comes spring you won't get any to call back and be ready for those you have lined up to head to other jobs, they often have an obligation to larger contractors that keep them busy during the summer. Doesn't always happen this way just a heads up.

As for quoting the minimum they are biding against others who will be quoting the same. But it still gives you a basis to compare one against the other.

If your building plans are being prepared by an architect they will need to account for anything more than the standard unless it fits in the same space. What are the walls you are specifying/ If 2x6 then the 5.5" depth can only accommodate so much R-value. For homes with 2x4 framing the codes want to see an inch of rigid on the outside, thus you could also do that with the 2x6 walls. But expect the price to jump significantly.

There is a group that refers to their approach as "a pretty good home" and they build above the code minimum but below the extreme super insulated home. IMO, a pretty good way to build.

One thought for you would be R-21 Roxul and a super air sealing job. Flash and batt works well too.

Give us some details like are you acting as the general contractor, are the plans engineered drawings, and what depth are the walls?

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:01 AM   #3
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


See if you can get higher r-value batts, here we have R24 fiberglass and roxul for 2x6 studs thanks to codes.

Having a thermal break on the outside, foam or roxul board is a very good idea.

What's more important than insulation is keeping all hvac equipment and ducts out of unconditioned spaces -> attics and crawl spaces, unless exterior surfaces are insulated and the space isn't ventilated.
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:04 AM   #4
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


Just to mention, the r-20 minimum insulation level is not based upon the best choice for r-value. Why do ceilings require r-49 and walls r-20? Ceiling are actually more sheltered than the walls. The code people have to consider the economic aspects of what they require and where it is easy to pour in 2' of insulation into an attic it would be totally too expensive and ugly to require all homes to have 2' thick walls. So R-20 is about the best they can do for a common 6" wall assembly but is not the best from an energy point of view.

But, the "pretty good home" approach can do much better than the code minimum requirement and not add a lot of cost to the final price tag.

Bud
As User mentioned, a layer of rigid over the exterior (or Roxul board) will reduce the thermal bridging and it would cover from top plate to foundation. The value of that improvement exceeds the numbers it adds to the r-value of the wall.
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


curious as to how far apart or (close together) are your 3 quotes ?

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Old 01-27-2018, 03:16 PM   #6
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


Surprisingly they were within $1000 but I am still waiting to hear back about the cost of the foam sheets that will go under the floor (in floor heat)

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curious as to how far apart or (close together) are your 3 quotes ?

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Old 01-27-2018, 03:20 PM   #7
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


We are contracting the work ourselves. This time of year should be good to get ahold of these guys but they must be all ice fishing. We are building a post frame home so Im assuming we will have 9 inches of space in the walls.

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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
If you are doing your own contracting this is the good time of the year as most sub contractors are not all that busy. Comes spring you won't get any to call back and be ready for those you have lined up to head to other jobs, they often have an obligation to larger contractors that keep them busy during the summer. Doesn't always happen this way just a heads up.

As for quoting the minimum they are biding against others who will be quoting the same. But it still gives you a basis to compare one against the other.

If your building plans are being prepared by an architect they will need to account for anything more than the standard unless it fits in the same space. What are the walls you are specifying/ If 2x6 then the 5.5" depth can only accommodate so much R-value. For homes with 2x4 framing the codes want to see an inch of rigid on the outside, thus you could also do that with the 2x6 walls. But expect the price to jump significantly.

There is a group that refers to their approach as "a pretty good home" and they build above the code minimum but below the extreme super insulated home. IMO, a pretty good way to build.

One thought for you would be R-21 Roxul and a super air sealing job. Flash and batt works well too.

Give us some details like are you acting as the general contractor, are the plans engineered drawings, and what depth are the walls?

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:22 PM   #8
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


And the spray foam quote was double all the others.

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Originally Posted by DR P View Post
curious as to how far apart or (close together) are your 3 quotes ?

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Old 01-27-2018, 03:50 PM   #9
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


With walls that thick I don't understand why they are quoting something less than a complete fill. One challenge might be the cavities not being a standard dimension, 14.5" wide by 93" high.
What does your framing look like?
What type of insulation are they quoting, batts or blown-in?

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:03 PM   #10
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


I would think part of the issue might be what the terms or language of your quote request was. Did you ask to 'fill the space', 'insulate to a certain R-value' or 'insulate to local code'? Obviously, in the long run more is better. I'm not surprised spray foam is more but I wouldn't have thought it would be double. It might be your location. With non-standard spaces, there will be more labour to install standard sized batts.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:56 PM   #11
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


Correct, I did not ask to fill the space between the walls. Im assuming again that they just quoted to code.
The spray foam was actually more than double because the "shop" areas was still quoted as fiberglass bats installed.

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I would think part of the issue might be what the terms or language of your quote request was. Did you ask to 'fill the space', 'insulate to a certain R-value' or 'insulate to local code'? Obviously, in the long run more is better. I'm not surprised spray foam is more but I wouldn't have thought it would be double. It might be your location. With non-standard spaces, there will be more labour to install standard sized batts.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:00 PM   #12
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


This is pole construction so the spaces to fill will be roughly 105" tall x 84" wide. They quoted batts.
x 8" deep. We are not putting studs on 16" centers between the poles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
With walls that thick I don't understand why they are quoting something less than a complete fill. One challenge might be the cavities not being a standard dimension, 14.5" wide by 93" high.
What does your framing look like?
What type of insulation are they quoting, batts or blown-in?

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:11 PM   #13
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


Stuffing batt insulation into an 84" wide cavity doesn't sound like a serious bid. Add to that the depth and what were they planning, stacking up 5.5" batts in the 8" cavity. Doesn't make sense.

Over time without support those pats will not stay in place. You need a plan before you request more bids.

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:27 PM   #14
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


My "plan" is to talk to them. They have seen a complete set of prints so I was also wondering how they would keep the batting from falling. The one company has been doing insulation since the late 70s so I would think they know whats going on. He is also helping his son do a building similar to ours.

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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Stuffing batt insulation into an 84" wide cavity doesn't sound like a serious bid. Add to that the depth and what were they planning, stacking up 5.5" batts in the 8" cavity. Doesn't make sense.

Over time without support those pats will not stay in place. You need a plan before you request more bids.

Bud
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:47 PM   #15
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Re: Minimum required insulaton


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan n Deb View Post
Correct, I did not ask to fill the space between the walls. Im assuming again that they just quoted to code.
The spray foam was actually more than double because the "shop" areas was still quoted as fiberglass bats installed.
This might one of those learning moments in the life as a general contractor: ensuring that the question asked is structured so it gets answered the way the question intended (?). They apparently thought you wanted minimum code. I agree that stuffing multiple batts in large cavities doesn't seem to be the most effective way to go. Is there insulation trade in your area that is familiar with post-and-beam construction? They might have some other thoughts.
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