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jdmcd0525 12-31-2011 10:49 AM

Insulating Brick Walls
I have similar insulation problems as I've seen asked elsewhere, in a totally different climate, Tucson Arizona. The house is about 2700 square feet and was built in 1973. I was shocked this summer when my electric bills topped $300 per month. I have brick walls built with 8x16 inch bricks, with 1x2 furring attached to the brick to hold on the drywall with no insulation in between. I've found that it costs me about $110 per room to rip down the drywall and furring, replace with 2x4 framing, R-13 insulation and drywall. Any thoughts on my plan and whether or not this is cost efficient?

nealtw 12-31-2011 11:16 AM

It sounds like a good plan, but I live in a rain forest. Have you talked to others in the area to see what the local practice is and how it works?

mudmixer 12-31-2011 04:13 PM

If it is typical Arizona construction of the time (8" concrete block walls), in your climate, insulation on the exterior may be more effective in terms of comfort and eliminating the peaks for heating and cooling that can have a big impact on utility costs.


jdmcd0525 01-01-2012 12:27 PM

It's actually a brick house, instead of concrete block. I've heard different names tossed around, so I'm not sure of exactly what it's called (Mexican brick, slump block?), but the bricks are about 8 x 16 inches and are solid. There are similar blocks lying around the property, I'm not sure if they are the same one used in construction, but they do have "MEXICO" stamped on them. Putting something on the outside would change the appearance of the house and I would think would be somewhat costly. I think for now I'm going to continue with my plan unless I hear of something better. I've completed two bedrooms so far, but have not tackled a corner room yet.

nealtw 01-01-2012 12:56 PM

Concrete and simular products can absorb a great deal of heat and hold it for a long time. I think Dick was suggesting to keep the heat out the brick would be more productive. The difference in cost would be huge so your choice is understandable. You also want to make sure your attic is working effeciently. We always keep the interior wall one inch away from the concrete to prevent moisture transfer but I thin in your case I would do it to cut down on heat transfer.

jdmcd0525 01-01-2012 05:08 PM

The attic...yes, that's another story. I am working that too. Unusual for this area, I have a classic sloped roof with shingles (I say it that way because I used to live in the northeast where all houses were like this, not so around here). I have a single layer of pink insulation in the attic that is about 5 or 6 inches thick. I think it's probably the original insulation and is probably R-19 or so. I believe it's also the original insulation and is compressed in places where there were leaks in the past. There are also places around light fixtures where it was moved and not put back all that well and some other not so efficiently placed areas that I'm trying to seal up a bit. I'm slowly adding insulation up there as well. So far, I picked up a couple packages of R-30 4x2 Batts from Home Depot that had damaged packaging, so they sold it at a discount (there was absolutely nothing wrong with the insulation). I know you are supposed to add non-face insulation on top of other insulation, but is it a big deal to have that facing on it?

jdmcd0525 01-01-2012 05:11 PM

Oh yeah, and the part about keeping the wall away from the brick. I am putting up framing right up against the brick, then filling with insulation batts. Are you saying that I should pull the entire framing and insulation about an inch away from the brick, or is it fine to have the insulation right up against the brick?

nealtw 01-01-2012 06:09 PM

In a wet zone you don't want anything touching the concrete but in a dry zone ,not sure! If someone has installed pot lights, carefull here some require air space to insulation. You would build a drywall lined box over them and insulate that. I doubt the paper on the batts will be a problem if you are just leaving them loose but it wouldn't be hard to remove.

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