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Old 10-10-2015, 08:50 AM   #1
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Rigid foam in walls in SC brick rancher?


Buying a brick rancher in SC (Charlotte, NC metro). I will be replacing drywall and electric, so it seems natural to upgrade insulation too. My plan is to use at least 2" R13 rigid foam in walls (if not an extra 1" R7 sheet on top of that).

House was built in 1964. Since it's brick, there's no tyvek happening on the outside of studs. I'm just going to rip 14" wide (approx) strips to fit snugly between the bare studs (from the inside), and seal the edges with great stuff.

Is this plan okay?

Primarily, does it pose any moisture issues? Secondly, do you have any tips?

Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:50 AM   #2
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Is it brick veneer? Vented design?
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:57 AM   #3
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Uh...

Real brick, one layer on the outside of studs, like most brick ranchers I've seen. Vented?
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:27 PM   #4
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Is there a plywood layer?

Vented brick refers to a brick veneer, non structural, design.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:25 AM   #5
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Well then yes, I assume it's typical veneer. Not sure if there's plywood until I get in there. Would the foam be okay in one case but not in the other?
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:35 AM   #6
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Getting foam board into the walls will not be easy with the electrical boxes and wires. If I had the walls open, I would pay to have it foamed.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:42 AM   #7
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Spray foam is not in the budget. I think spray is much more expensive.

Also, there's the concern of imprecise mixing on site, which is a non-issue with factory foam.

Foam goes in before the boxes, and wires (after the old ones are pulled out). So hopefully there's still room to drill holes in vertical studs, just in front of that (to run horizontal wires).

The main question is, does it cause a moisture issue? Or, if I take the time to do it, is this the correct way?

Thanks.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:49 AM   #8
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If you put in 2" of foam board, you will not have room to drill for wires and have required spacing from wiring to face of stud. You will need nail plates on all studs.
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Old 10-11-2015, 10:13 AM   #9
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Well that's an important piece of info. Glad I asked. Thanks. I guess I'll be reconsidering other options now.

Spray foam is probably still not in the budget, but maybe I'll get a quote just to see. Even if I can afford it, though, I dont want to be one of the people who gets a smelly installation from improper spraying/mixing/curing or even the person who doesn't smell it but has poor indoor air quality from the same.
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Old 10-11-2015, 10:27 AM   #10
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I know you want to use foam but IMHO, it is overrated for walls. Do a good job of installing fiberglass with a poly vapor barrier, seal all boxes and other wall penetrations, and you will get a energy efficient wall. The key is to stop air infiltration.

And it is DIY.
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:02 PM   #11
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Vapor barriers go on the outside in the south, though. So I can't use a vapor barrier on the inside. Even with brick, right?
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:03 PM   #12
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Never seen a brick "ranch" that wasn't a veneer... No vapor barrier on inside for your location, outside only- if at all. If no sheathing, add some foil-faced Thermo-ply or some vinyl siding underlayment foam to the studs in the air space for a drainage plane. This will also stop any solar vapor drive from whetting your framing after a rain. Add FG or ? for cavity insulation, ADA the drywall; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...wall-approach/ with latex paint, on vinyl wallpaper/mirrors.

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Old 10-11-2015, 05:17 PM   #13
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I live in coastal SC and every new house has vapor barrier on the inside.
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Old 10-11-2015, 07:16 PM   #14
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It's hard to know who to listen to regarding this vapor barrier stuff. Different people say different things. But, general opinion seems to say that vapor barrier belongs on the outside in hot, humid climates. Gary seconded that, but then the whole ADA process of sealing the drywall really seems to mimic the vapor barrier, which is really just the same thing. Unless I'm missing something?

I like those air-proof electrical boxes. I'm going to look for some of those.

I also like the idea about putting foil-faced sheathing, or (maybe) even a 1" rigid foam between studs first, to act as a drainage surface. I guess that could improve the fiberglass R-value. Is it crazy to ask if R-19 would squeeze into a standard 4x wall? Or, if it could, if it would really be worth it?
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Old 10-12-2015, 11:33 PM   #15
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ADA is an air barrier, not vapor barrier. Moisture goes through drywall with a perm rating of 30-50. So they are different things entirely; http://buildingscience.com/documents...-barriers/view

Not required per building code in Zones 1-4, except 4C where I live; http://buildingscience.com/documents...ecommendations

The thin foil-faced sheathing (if no wood sheathing) would act as a radiant barrier IF 3/4" air space to the brick and also stop any solar vapor drive;http://buildingscience.com/documents...rocket-science AND protect the wood studs from water intake as well as a drainage plane.

R-19 (low density), compressed and glue added- is R-13 (medium density) from the manufacturer; http://www2.owenscorning.com/literat...20Bulletin.pdf

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