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Insulation: foam or cellulose?

1948 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  dleaoh
I have an old (1913) balloon framed house currently with no insulation.
I plan to do this later in the summer and want to book something ASAP.

I had cancelled a previous contract (through CET) with cellulose because i was worried about it getting wet. My Dad had it blown in and after last winter with all the ice damming and leaking, he had to gut all his exterior walls on the inside to remove the cellulose.

Then I got a quote for Icynene foam, blown in from the outside. I would have to prep it for them by removing two rows of clapboards and horizontal 1" sheathing every few feet, all around the house.

I was excited it was possible. My opinion is that foam would be 10 times better than cellulose. The cost is actually a bit cheaper for the foam, but since it was not CET sponsored, it would cost me twice as much out of pocket.

I'm willing to do this, I'm just struggling to understand whether it's worth all my labor in prepping for the foam or not. Or if I should just settle for cellulose, for half the price, and let the contractor worry about all the prep, putting clapboards back on, etc...

What do you all think?

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are worried about water damage Icynene isn't the answer. Icynene is open cell foam--rather like a sponge. Any insulation -- any building material for that matter --that becomes saturated with water is a potential problem. Given serious water incursion due to ice damming your dad would have had the same problem with fiber glass or open cell foam. Among insulation materials the only one that isn't subject to water saturation is closed cell foam. It is extremely expensive, typically about 4X or 5X more than cellulose.
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