Insulating Closed Walls
I have a house built in 1925 that has NO insulation. The foundation is basically sitting on the ground which I will fix in the spring.
Right now I need to add insulation in the walls. Looks like the walls are balloon framing but cannot tell if they are blocked nor do I have access under the house. The upstairs is a finished attic rooms.
What is the best way to know if the insulation will not blow thru under the house and also the best way to find out if the framing is "plugged" at the bottom.
Both sides of the walls is 1x6's with the exterior having abestos tile and the interior sheetrock on top of the 1x6's. So tearing the walls out will be a major job.
Any suggestions will be great,
Insulation can be "blown" into the stud cavities, and does a good job of making your home warmer/cooler .
Simply call (yellow pages) for a insulation company to come out and give you advice and an estimate. If possible get 2 or 3 estimates from various companys, before deciding.
Also another question, do I have to add a vapor barrier in the attic, again limited access.
Forgot to add that there is no footings, just peir blocks that settled into the ground due to leaky pipes which has been fixed.
Most houses that sit on piers have a big beam around the perimeter of the house called the sill. The floor and walls are supported by the sills which would block the bottom of the stud space for you.
You can buy your insulation in bags at Home Depot, Lowes or a similar store. They will give you free rental on the machine that does the blowing. It has a large hose to blow the insulation through and an attachment at the end to use in a small hole in the walls, usually 1" holes. You will need to make the holes on the inside of the house because you cant drill the asbestos siding. Knocking or tapping lightly on the walls should give an indication of how full the walls are, or if a space is blocked off and has to be filled seperately.
Don't worry about the vapor barrier, just having the insulation will make a terrific addition. Remember, the heat rises so insulate the attic very carefully. That's where most of the heat escapes.
If you're DIY'self your best bet would be to tackle ceiling insulation first, of course you may have already done this but I thought I'd mention it. I understand the walls need it, but the ceiling is far more important and easier (might be cheaper but I wouldn't bet on it).
Unless the attic is finished, I would use batts or rolls, faced.
Btw, for ceilings they recommend R-49 for energy efficiency, but I'd start with R-19 either faced batts or faced rolls and finish. Then next year perhaps add another layer of unfaced R-30. Or, you could start with faced R-30 but it's not cheap. Beyond that it gets even pricier but there also exists heat-reflective insulation to cover things once it is at R-49. The job in and of itself isn't the most fun, but it is the easiest of them all.
The basement (your floor) would be the next easiest, R-30 is recommended, faced.
Since this usually has to be installed UNDER the floor (and in the case of a basement you'll be dealing with putting it UP) this is the first location where I might recommend putting up R-30 to begin with.
The effect of insulation is cumulative, such as R-11 + R-19 is the same as using R-30, however this can only be practical in applications where adding more insulation later is a straight forward thing to do (ex.: the ceiling).
Not sure about walls, might be either R-20 or R-25 or higher, but you want to check and since it's a royal PITA you want to do the walls right the first time (to the highest recommended green value). Now if you find you have to tear up all sorts of stuff, you might also check into things concerning double pane windows with storm windows, it may be right along the same lines (but it might not), still I'd check into this.
And no, walls are definitely not cheap :p
I agree with the other posters. Insulate the ceiling first, then work on air leakage, especially door and window sealing. If it is a balloon frame, you need to close off the bottom before blowing in wall insulation.
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