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Insulation replace or try to save
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old-57    Posted 02-01-2002 at 09:43:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi, We live in Northern Illinois, in an old farm house. I'm taking off the old plaster walls and am going to drywall. The outside walls have blown-in insulation, which was installed some 50 years ago. When I remove the plaster laths the insulation falls out. Should I try to save the insulation by tacking plastic sheeting up as I take off the laths, or just dump the old insulation and tack upfiberglass in its place? My concern is, will the new fiberglass be as efficient as the old packed in blown in insulation? Thanks for your time

geo in MI    Posted 02-01-2002 at 16:22:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would think that knocking off the plaster will force lots of plaster chunks down inside the walls, anyway(in fact, I know it does, because a good part of the plaster actually was squeezed in between, and thus behind the lath boards), and maybe ruin most of the effectiveness of the old insulation. In that situation, I would go ahead and go all the way and remove all the dirt, debris, and insulation--then start fresh. You'll be able to see the condition of the outside sheathing, check out for any wet spots--which would have nullified the insulating qualities of the old insulation, be able to put caulking around the windows and sills, and eventually stop a lot of outside air entrance--which is just as important as good insulation. One other thing, if you are in an upstairs area in an old house of fifty years vintage, you'll probably notice that the "balloon" construction leaves the space between the floors open, since the studding goes all the way up and through the second story. That opening is a perfect place to create a fire trap condition and you should, by all means, install fire blocking--that's code on all remodels here in Michigan.

Another thing you may encounter as you tear off the lath is that the drywall thickness will be less than the original wall--you may have to do something to match the trim boards. I would suggest you save a lot of lath boards and tack them onto the studs so the drywall will match out to the original trim.

Another thing: If you have full four inch studs, plus lath tacked on, you will have plenty of room for regular friction fit, 31/2 inch X 16, or 23 inch batting--but get R-13, instead of R-11. Some places carry only R-11, which is a tad cheaper, but not in the long run Even though it's itchier(well, only a little bit). the friction fit, instead of kraft paper faced, will allow you to stretch and tease it into place to make sure you have all the airflow stopped.

And still another thing, by removing the old insulation, you will probably want to use batting instead of blowing cellulose, that way you can insulate beneath the windows, too.

Hope this helps.

Dave M    Posted 02-01-2002 at 14:12:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
It might pay to talk to a local insulation contractor. Last time I was going to put up some fiberglass insulation I called a nearby insulation contractor for a quote, and they installed it in 1 day for less than I could buy the materials.

George8NFL    Posted 02-01-2002 at 11:14:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Lazyhorse is right on track. Replace it but don't squezz it to tight the air helps in insulation. You might won't to have the blown in kind again it may be cheaper for the same insulation rating. Maybe your local Elect Utility has some program on insulation. They do here in Fl give a rebate back. You will get your money back in elct bill savings over time depending on how much insul u put in. Go for the best$$$

LazyHorse    Posted 02-01-2002 at 10:51:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
That old insulation has settled down over the years, and probably is not doing a great job anymore. I would replace it with the thickest fiberglass you can squeeze in the walls, and make sure you also have a good vapor barrier to prevent heat loss.

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