DIY Home Insulation Installation

JGaulard

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I've installed a lot of home insulation in my day, so I feel as though I know what I'm doing. Which is good because in the following posts, I share some of my adventures in regards to insulating my home in Maine. As you can probably guess, Maine gets extremely cold in the winter, so its important to not only place insulation in the walls, but to air seal as well. In my opinion, homeowners don't focus on the latter nearly enough. Me? I'm crazy about sealing up every nook and cranny. I don't want to feel any little bit of air infiltration at all. Anyway, please enjoy the posts below. If you've got any questions or would like to add anything, please feel free to do so. Thanks!
 

JGaulard

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Interior Insulation With Rigid Foam​

Rigid foam insulation is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s thin, effective, has a great r-value and acts as a vapor barrier. With the time and space saved, it’s worth its weight in…well, rigid foam. It’s sort of expensive though at $18.99 per 4’x8′ 1 inch thick sheet. But the mice hate it and once it’s installed, it’s good for life. That’s why I’m using it to insulate the log cabin room.

I gave you a sneak peek of the one finished wall in my window installation post, but now that this phase of the project has begun, I’m going to be talking about insulation a lot more.

Okay – where to begin. When this past winter rolled around, we felt a distinct chill in the air. We felt drafts and cold walls. Laura and I had conversation upon conversation about why the house was so cold. After locating and fixing some of the larger problem areas, I decided to start methodically tackling the lack of proper insulation in this house. She kept asking me, “Why don’t people insulate correctly in the first place?” I replied, “Because houses get built in the Summer. Insulation is one of the last things people think about when they are sweating. Also, builders have a tough time reconciling the fact that Winter will return. When they build, it’s 80 degrees out.”

I know that doesn’t make too much sense when reading it, but it’s true. Even me – the insulation nut, has mostly forgotten about the cold now that’s it’s late Spring. I have to kick myself to recall waking up to a house that’s 30 degrees on the inside. My plan is to stop that from occurring, because as they say in book 1 of “Game of Thrones” (which I’m reading at the moment), “Winter is coming.”

In the log cabin room, I felt moving air during the cold months. The room is constructed with 6 inch thick logs, one stacked on top of the other. For the peaks and the roof, it’s stick built. Since the walls are solid, they are not insulated. At an r-value of 1.5 per inch of solid wood, the walls currently have an r-value of 9. That’s far below what’s recommended. Not that I know what’s recommended, but I can imagine having walls with an r-value of 9 is low. The ceiling is insulated with r-19 insulation. That’s also low (I can imagine). But really, the issue in the room isn’t low r-value – it’s draft. The room isn’t sealed. There are hairline gaps and checking in the wood that the walls are constructed of and the roof has a ridge vent that warm air is finding its way through. A layer of plastic all over the interior of the room would work wonders, but I’m going to step it up a notch.

When I touched the walls of the log cabin room over the Winter, they were cold. But while they were cold, they weren’t freezing cold. That solid wood was doing a decent job of insulating the room. I attribute the cold and draft to the ceiling and the windows. As you know, the windows are now installed and sealed.

I got the idea of installing rigid foam to the interior of this room a while back, after learning about insulation ad nauseum. And when I say ad nauseum, I mean ad nauseum. Much of my winter months were consumed with me reading articles about how insulation works. And after all that reading, I made the decision to go with rigid foam. Here’s why: with foam insulation, the room gets sealed from air flow. The room also gets a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is very important because I’m pretty sure no one wants to see water leaking out from the interior of their walls.

Do you know how water condensation works when it comes to insulation? No? Well, let me fill you in. When warm, moist air comes in contact with cold, dry air, condensation occurs. More specifically, condensation occurs right at the point of contact. Say you have fiberglass insulation installed in a wall with no vapor barrier. One side of the insulation is cold from the outside air and the other side is warm from the inside air. In this case, somewhere in the middle of that insulation is going to be the point of contact for those two temperatures and moisture levels. When the air collides, you get condensation and puddles. Or, you get sopping wet fiberglass insulation in your walls.

Back when we lived in Pine Bush, NY, we had a house where the corners of a few rooms weren’t insulated. Common problem caused by lazy builders. I can remember trying to paint those rooms in the middle of Winter and having the paint run down the walls and not drying properly. The issue was that those sections of wall were freezing and condensation was forming in the interior of the house. The sheetrock was the vapor barrier. That’s why insulation and the proper r-value is important.

Okay, enough of the lesson. Let’s get to some pictures of what I’ve done so far in the log cabin room. My basic plan is to skin the room with 1 inch thick rigid foam insulation. This will give the entire room a boost of 5 r-value points. This room had no issues with condensation and the temperature dropped to -24 this past season. Like I said above, I’m mostly concerned with drafts.

rigid-foam-insulation-covering-wall.jpg

I’m taping all the seams and I’m going to inject foam in all the gaps that are left exposed after the install is completed. I think it’ll be great.

A few days ago, I picked up this really great tool. It’s an adjustable t-square. I was going to go with the fixed one, but Laura persuaded me to get the adjustable one, just in case. Well, I used the adjustable part yesterday to find the angle of the peak in this particular room and wow, just look at the results.

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I’m not sure I’ve ever cut an angle of anything so perfectly. Here are a few pictures of the t-square. The 4 foot length is also especially handy for cutting long strips of insulation like this.

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I’ll take more pictures of this part of the project as I go along. I know how exciting it is for all of you!
 

JGaulard

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Air Sealing Rigid Foam Insulation​

Since we received some nice snow recently, Laura and I decided to go for a walk in it. We did our usual route – up the road and back. It’s two miles and just long enough to get out whatever it was that we needed to get out. Remarkable how that works. Take a break to loosen up a bit.

Anyway, as we walked out of the house and onto the sidewalk, I noticed that the roof of the log cabin room had some snow melt. I looked at the roof, looked at Laura and then looked back at the roof. I said, “That’s not supposed to be like that. I just insulated that room. Why is the heat from inside still coming through to warm to roof?”

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As I stood there on the sidewalk, somewhat disappointed, I began to wonder why the melt was happening. I decided to walk around to the back of the house to see if the same thing was happening on the other side of the roof. If anything, there should be more snow melt back there because that’s the side the wood stove is on. It gets mighty warm in there. Also, the roofs are facing east/west, so neither get much sun. I’d say things are about equal, especially during winter. Do you want to see what I found on the other side of the roof?

well-insulated-roof-no-snow-melt.jpg

Well, isn’t that interesting. Little, if any real snow melt on that side. Something was going on.

A few weeks ago, I installed rigid foam insulation on the back side of the ceiling in the log cabin room. As I did this, I sealed (with silicone caulk) around the large cross beams that go from one side of the room to the other. My caulk sealing basically made that side of the ceiling water tight. I like to say that if you tipped the room upside down, you could fill it with water. No leaks.

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I also taped all the seams between the pieces of rigid foam on that side as well. I already told you, though, that I plan on removing the tape to seal with silicone.

It only took a few moments for me to realize what was happening and why snow was melting on one side of the roof, but not the other. I sealed one side of the ceiling, but not the other side.

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After I realized this, I made a mental note of where those large beams were located inside and then lined them up with where the snow was melting. Amazing how much heat loss can occur from such small unsealed openings, isn’t it?

What’s the lesson here? Insulate with anything other than fiberglass (air travels right through fiberglass insulation) and be sure to air seal the hell out of your air-tight insulation. It’ll go a long way.
 

JGaulard

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Insulating Walls with Rigid Foam​

I have a somewhat entertaining story for you. Here goes…

Last week some time, mother nature decided to throw some -2 degree temperatures at us. I read the weather forecast ahead of time and after reading it, I stood up tall and puffed my chest out. I did this because I was me – and as you may remember from one of my earlier posts, I had installed a nice, new, shiny, gigantic wood burning stove. I have been waiting for the cold weather because, hmmm…let me see…as I put it, “I don’t know if we’re even going to need to use the pellet stove anymore. This wood stove is so great, we’ll be sweating in here all winter.” I love remembering all the fun things I say.

As it turned out and as the cold weather hit, Laura and I began freezing our asses off. I felt a little stupid in the beginning, but following my explanation of thermodynamics to my better half, I felt even stupider. After hitting rock bottom, I finally admitted that the problem wasn’t our heat sources, it was the fact that we were living in what can only be described as a colander. You know, a spaghetti strainer. Stand anywhere in the house you want, you can feel a draft hitting you right in the face. And in those special corners and dark nooks, you can even smell fresh air from outside. How? Who knows.

So many things went through my mind as I sat there wondering why my stupid wood stove wasn’t keeping the place warm. I first thought that I should really crank the sucker up and harness all the BTUs it has to offer (running out of wood the whole time). After that, I thought I should run over to the pellet plant and grab a few tons of pellets to run both stoves simultaneously. Finally I thought that I should just get going and fix the source of the problem. The reason why the stoves have to work overtime to keep the house a measly 60 degrees. I needed to get back into insulating, so that’s what I did.

I want to give you a quick analogy here because I’ve been thinking of it all week, and really, this is the only place I can speak freely. I get the feeling that a few specific people are getting tired of me talking about insulation. This blog doesn’t talk back or have any feelings, so it’s probably the best place to talk shop.

Say you live in an area that has cold winters – and one day, while it’s bitterly cold outside, you decide to stand on your front sidewalk totally naked. I’m sure you can imagine what would happen within just a few minutes of standing there. Yes, you’d get cold and begin to freeze. Now, we all know that when we get cold, our bodies shiver. The reason our bodies do this is to burn stored energy (food) to create heat (body temperature). If it was really cold outside or if your shivering wasn’t getting you warm enough, you’d most likely begin to jog in place. If things get bad enough, you can play touch football in the front yard, but that would be tough to find people to go up against, so you’d most likely just jog in place.

Funny thing would happen if you jogged in place long enough – you’d get hungry. Why? Because you probably burned off enough stored energy. Your body would feel that and want more food to stay in operation. So you ask someone to throw you a ham sandwich out the front door. They do and you chomp it down. You feel better, but strangely enough, as you continue to jog, you continue to get hungry. You ask for another ham sandwich and you get one, but the cycle continues. Sure, you can stay warm, but the price to pay for that is a whole heck of a lot of ham sandwiches. We like to call this, “feeding the beast.” It’s also known as needless energy consumption.

How much does a goose down coat cost? I’d guess that a nice one costs a few hundred bucks. Imagine that someone got sick of you jogging naked outside the front door and having to continuously toss ham sandwiches to you, that they chucked out a goose down parka instead. You slip that sucker on and fall asleep, nice and warm all night long. No more ham sandwiches necessary. We call that insulation. It’ll take a hundred ham sandwiches to pay off that goose down parka, but after it’s paid for and put on, you won’t have to jog anymore and you’ll be a heck of a lot more comfortable. Get what I’m saying here? I’m sick of jogging.

Since I was only partially finished with insulating the log cabin room, I decided to head out to Campbell’s building supply in Madison a few days ago to purchase ten sheets of one inch thick rigid foam. I bit the bullet and got all ten. I usually only do around four at a time, but I figured that it really makes no difference at this point. The room has got to get done. And now that I know how far ten sheets go, I know that I only need about five more to finish completely.

I have been working on attaching the foam board to the walls for a few days. I’m trying to do a nice, tight job, so the thermal barrier will be something I’ll never have to worry about again. As you can see from the picture below, I used tape to seal the seams for the first part of the install, but abandoned it after realizing that silicone caulk does a much better job. Unfortunately, I ran out of caulk, so I’ll need more before I continue. Here’s a picture of what I’ve done so far:

installing-interior-rigid-foam-insulation.jpg

And here’s a picture of a seam that I sealed with silicone caulk. I’ll tell you – it’s a really strongly sealed seam. I love the caulk idea. It practically bonds the pieces of foam board together.

clear-silicone-caulk-rigid-foam.jpg

The temperature hasn’t dropped back down to the single digits yet, so I don’t know if this insulation made an improvement, but I will tell you that the log cabin room holds its temperature much better than it used to. Yesterday, it was about 32 degrees outside and all we had going was the pellet stove in the other room. The log cabin room stayed a cool 60 degrees and didn’t move all day. It actually may have risen towards the end, meaning that the room is holding temperature and keeping the heat in, as opposed to letting the walls and ceiling suck it all out.

It’s all about stopping the conductive heat loss with the rigid foam r-value and then stopping the convective heat loss with the air barrier of the foam and then the silicone sealant. If you can accomplish stopping both of those things, you’ll have a nice toasty warm house without burning all your firewood and pellets.

Up next, drywall and paint.
 

JGaulard

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Installing Drywall Over Rigid Foam Insulation​

It’s been an exciting past two days. A few weeks ago, the heat of summer broke and I got up off my duff to begin working on the house once again. The first project was to finish the drywalling in the log cabin room. This is something that has taken me almost two and a half years to complete. I began a long time ago and just yesterday afternoon, I finished. Well, the drywalling part anyway.

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Let’s look back some many many months. When Laura and I first moved in to this house, we were greeted by a rather cozy “separate” room that sits off the main house.

Personally, I though the room was great. It wasn’t until our first winter rolled around that I realized a small insulation problem. The problem was – there was none. Sure, the walls were solid wood, much like a traditional log cabin’s walls are, which sort of insulates, but in between the rows of solid wood were air gaps. As you may have guessed, air gaps in walls during January nights of -23 degrees are an issue. We decided to barricade the room off and focus on more pressing projects.

Here’s a funny story for you. During the more windy days and nights of our first winter and after we closed the door to the log cabin room, Laura and I would sit around listening to that door bang back and forth on its framing. The room has such air infiltration that the mere change of pressure between it and the outdoors would create a vacuum and then pressure and would repeat over and over again. Sitting there listening to it prompted me to head back during the early spring with a crowbar in hand.

The best idea I could come up with to solve the lack of insulation issue was to layer rigid foam over the existing walls and ceiling. I screwed the foam right up against everything and when I was done with that, I taped all the seams. Immediately, I felt a huge difference. There was no more air leakage and no more cold spots. It was incredible. If you’d like to read about that experience, you can do so in the above posts.

To make things even more tight, I blocked off one window (which still needs to be covered from the outside) and replaced the four that remained. Basically, this created an airtight room, which is exactly what I was looking for.

A few months ago, I began to hang dry wall. While this wasn’t very difficult to do, I did it alone and quickly bored of it. I think if drywall was the only thing to hang, I could have tackled the project with much more gusto. The fact that I had to first tear the entire room apart, then install the rigid foam and then replace the windows did nothing other than to cause me to completely lose interest. After living in so many houses and doing pretty much the exact same types of repairs, I simply don’t want to do it anymore. Even as I sit here and write, I look at the walls that surround me and wonder when I’ll get to the spackling that needs to be gotten to.

Anyway, I worked all Sunday and then half of Monday to finish the drywall. Now, I made a promise to myself that I’ll take advantage of the momentum that I created and continue to spackle. As you can see in the (horrible) photos below, I already have begun that endeavor.

Here are a few photos. I tried to brighten them up as much as possible.

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I really wish I had one of those clean construction sites to share, but unfortunately, all I have is a lived in area where I have to work around everything that’s currently there. Even Steve’s poor old couches are in the way. I have to keep shuffling them back and forth. Oh well, I’ll finish up soon.

So there you have it. I’m not sure if I wrote this post more for you or more for me. I love keeping tabs on my progress. I get to look back at exciting photos such as these during later years. The next post I write about this topic will include photos of mud, or spackle, or whatever you want to call it.
 

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Insulating an Unfinished Basement + Rim Joists​

From what I’ve been reading online, there seems to be a general trend that’s moving people away from traditional fiberglass (pink stuff) insulation and moving them towards either spray foam insulation or rigid foam panel insulation. Because it’s still relatively new and mostly requires professional assistance, spray foam is expensive. If you were to have a company come out to your house to complete a project, it’s likely to cost you thousands.

Rigid foam insulation is expensive as well, but not nearly as much as spray foam. It can be easily handled by the homeowner at whatever pace he so chooses. There are no chemicals hardening in the tip of a spray gun and no mad rush throughout the project area to get things done on schedule. And rigid foam has a nice high R-Value per square inch, so it competes almost directly with spray foam. Rigid foam can also be sealed into an area, unlike regular fiberglass insulation.

When I was thinking of what I wanted to use to insulate the basement of this house, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to use spray foam. I work far too slowly to be near anything like that. Perhaps if they offered some homeowner version that came in small cans, I’d consider it, but as for what’s available now, the containers are simply too large. I knew I’d be far better off with sheets of rigid foam insulation sitting there in the basement waiting for me to get around to doing what needed to get done.

If you read my previous posts, you most likely saw the pictures I took of my truck at the building supply store. In the bed of the truck, I had two 4’x8’x2″ sheets of “Dow Styrofoam Scoreboard Insulation.”

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I decided to buy the 2″ thick sheets because they have a high R-Value of 5 per inch of thickness. That’s pretty good for insulating the space between the basement and living space. For outside walls, I’m simply going to lay rigid foam over the existing fiberglass insulation, to boost and seal what’s already in place. When I’m finished, I expect a very well insulated area.

For my first project, I pretty much had my hands full. The fiberglass insulation was sagging and falling out of the joist and stud areas. There were gaps that were letting cold air creep in and to be honest, I just think it looked bad. The area was small, so I thought it was a good spot to figure out and get used to how the material worked.

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The first thing I tackled was to pull all the old insulation out of the areas that couldn’t be saved and to vacuum up all nearby debris. This made my already tight and unpleasant work area much more bearable. Just imagine being stuck in a place like this, surrounded by particles of fiberglass floating through the air. Not fun.

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Once I had things in the first area cleaned the way I wanted, I began measuring and cutting pieces of the rigid board to fit in between each wall stud. I fit each piece in.

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And since the corner gaps were really tight, I simply added some painter’s caulk as sealant.

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I did the same to the other side of the staircase.

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That was all done yesterday. This morning, I began working on the area directly beneath and beside the stairs.

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I cut the foam board insulation and placed it between each floor joist.

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And lastly, I covered the existing fiberglass insulation on the exterior walls and sealed the larger gaps with “Great Stuff” expanding foam and the smaller one with the same painter’s caulk I used earlier. There are also two floor joists that you can’t see in these pictures. I insulated between them as well.

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You may be asking yourself why I didn’t just leave things alone in this area and why I chose to use the rigid foam board. Well, from what I’ve found with fiberglass insulation is that it has a tendency to sag over time. If it absorbs any amount of moisture, it starts looking really bad and basically, if gaps are opened up in between pieces or between the insulation and lumber, it’s rendered useless. It’s almost as bad as having no insulation at all. What I wanted to “cure” in this small area was the air leakage into the basement area from outside. The rigid foam, the caulk and the expanding foam spray did the job. Now, onto the rest of the basement.
 

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Continuing With the Basement Insulation​

I’m kind of at an impasse with my little basement project. I finished up insulating under the stairs and have run out of material. I thought the 2″ thick rigid insulation board would go further. I have a small amount left over, but not enough to warrant me getting all filthy dirty. I’m going to wait until I get a few more sheets of 1″ thick board before I begin dealing with moving around the fiberglass insulation once more.

Just to pass the time, I went downstairs this afternoon, cleaned up a bit and pulled down all the paneling that was installed before we got here. I needed to see what I was dealing with and needed to see what thickness of rigid board I needed – 1″ or 2″. Since the walls are already insulated with R-19 fiberglass, I’m simply going to purchase 1″ board and fasten it against the walls in the same fashion the paneling was. To see what the basement looked like with the paneling installed, click here. To see what the basement looks like now that I pulled all that paneling down, take a look below.

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I’m also going to put rigid board in between all the floor joists against the outer walls. Those areas are notorious for insulation failure and a source of heat loss.

The main reason I’m working on getting this basement squared away is because the current fiberglass has many gaps in it. I can also see daylight around a few objects that go through the outer wall, such as the oil tank pipes and the sump pump discharge tube. Those spaces alone account for much of the heat loss in the space. The rigid foam will also act as a vapor retarder once it’s installed and taped properly. The whole area needs to be completely sealed.
 

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Insulating Basement Rim Joists​

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on home insulation and one popular space I see a lot of people talking about is the rim joist area of the basement. Apparently, rim joists are either avoided, forgotten about or simply never insulated for one reason or another. I think it probably has to do with their size and location. The areas between the floor joists aren’t too large and they are located up in the corners of the basement ceiling. It’s difficult to imagine they are letting cold air in the house (or letting warm air out).

As I go through the basement here, I look for two things. First, I try to find drafts. I know they’re there. I can feel them and as Peter from Dover Projects put it, drafts in a basement can cause something called a “Stack Effect,” where the air leaving the top of the house can pull air in the basement through openings, acting similarly to a chimney. Warm air wants to rise through the chimney, thus pulling cold air from everywhere else. If anyone has had to deal with a traditional fireplace, you know how cold it gets in every room besides the one with the fire in it.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I can see daylight through a few gaps in the basement walls. Those gaps are generally around pipes and wires. Regardless of what caused the gaps, they need to be sealed.

The second thing I look for is areas that would allow cold air infiltration and condensation due to low thermal resistance. This is basically the “R-Value” you hear everyone talking about when it comes to insulation. If you have a low r-value on exterior walls, cold air will “fall” from them (kind of like old one pane windows) and moisture will condense on them. Warm, humid air settling on cold rim joists leads to mold and wood rot. Not a good thing when it comes to basements.

What’s good about the basement here at the house is that the rim joists are already insulated with fiberglass insulation. The thing is – the current insulation isn’t really up to snuff when it comes to modern standards. Even with a paper vapor barrier, warm air and moisture can seep behind the fiberglass and condensation can form on the wood. Also, I’m afraid to say, fiberglass insulation just doesn’t do all that much by itself, when house wrap, other complementary types of insulation and very thorough installation are absent. There are better ways to insulate.

My plan is to put pieces of two inch rigid foam insulation in between each and every floor joist, along the entire rim joist. After I friction fit the rigid insulation, I’ll seal the edges with painter’s caulk. This should both seal and insulate, the way it should be done.

Since I had a few extra pieces of rigid foam laying around from my previous insulation project, I started with a few areas against the rim joist last night. I finished those areas the way I just described and think they look perfect. Just the way I want. If I can get the rest of the areas done like this, I’ll be happy.

Here are some before and after shots from last night’s work.

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After this is through, I’m going to tackle the walls, but I’ll leave that for another post.
 

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Finishing the Basement Insulation​

I’ve been kind of busy down in the basement for the past few days. I had to get the insulation project finished up. It was getting on my nerves.

It all started like this – remember when I told you all about how proud I was of myself for shoveling the long trench all the way to the pond? This was so the sump pump water had some place to go. I even had the tube attached outside. The long four inch one, so it wouldn’t freeze. It looked like this:

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Well, as it turns out, I didn’t attach the tube well enough. I purposely kept it loose in case it froze up. I wanted the water to splash out instead of keeping the pump running all night long and eventually burning out. I basically jammed the tube up against the PVC pipe and kicked some snow around it to hold things in place.

When I woke up a few mornings ago, I looked out the window and to my absolute horror, found the corrugated tubing laying on the ground. It was in the middle of a big puddle of water that was shooting out of the PVC pipe. I guess the force of the water knocked the tubing away. You know what that means – it means that the water that was sitting against the foundation (all night long) was finding its way back into the basement. And for some reason, sump pump #2 wasn’t kicking on. The switch was getting caught up on something internally. I think it’s time for a new pump. I’ll use the current one as a backup.

Anyway, when I went down into the basement, I found about four inches of water covering the floor. There wasn’t anything worth much down there, but I was irked about the whole situation because I had put a lot of time and thought into making the sump pump system function properly. For a tube and a switch to throw the whole thing into disarray – well that was annoying.

And what was especially annoying was that I had some insulation on the floor that I was going to reuse for the basement walls. It got partially wet from the flood. Because of that, right then and there I told myself that I was going to finish the basement insulation project. I was too tired of looking at the mess down there and just wanted it done. If I could finish that up, I could move to the room directly above it and finish the bathroom as well. Putting out small fires is the name of the game I guess.

The first thing I did was to screw the tube onto the PVC pipe so it wouldn’t come off again. Done. The second thing I did was to begin peeling all the paper off the existing insulation to see what the situation was. Was there mouse damage? Was the insulation fitted properly? Was it long enough in each space? From my point of view, things looked manageable. Where things weren’t perfect, I made them perfect and where the insulation was too thin, I thickened it up with the fiberglass I purchased for the bathroom. I bought a bag too much, so I used it in the basement.

After I was finished insulating, I covered it up with plastic. I used up the 6 mil plastic I bought to cover the basement crawl space dirt floor and had to run out to the hardware store to grab a 10’x100′ roll of 4 mil. There really is no need for 6 mil plastic as a vapor barrier. I also finished the rim joist insulation with the extra rigid foam I bought for the bathroom too.

When I was all finished, I looked up and found this:

basement-fiberglass-insulation-vapor-barrier.jpg

basement-insulation-plastic-vapor-barrier.jpg

vapor-barrier.jpg

installed-basement-insulation.jpg

Please pardon the mess in that last picture.

As you can see from the first photo, I hung the shelves I bought in Florida. I’m missing two brackets, but can make them up with regular shelving. I have a plan for that. With these shelves, I can keep my tools off the floor and away from the water the next time the basement decides to flood. And I’m sure it will because when one relies on sump pumps to keep things dry, one needs to get used to water on the floor.
 

JGaulard

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Moving to the Log Cabin​

Well, the basement is pretty much finished. All I have to do now is to place a few columns under the floor of the upstairs section to get rid of the springiness. The span across that section of the house is probably around twelve feet, so the floor sags a bit.

I’ll give you a little background into the room I’m talking about. The main part of the house we have here is post and beam construction. Please see the following picture.

post-and-beam-interior.jpg

According to the previous owner, the main section was built after the “log cabin” section was. I’m not sure how old that part is, but I’m guessing it was built just a few years before the main part. And that was 1990. The log cabin section has six inch thick logs, covered with pine siding, to match the rest of the house. It kind of sticks out like a sore thumb when looking at the house as a whole, but the area is pretty nice and that’s why I’d like to fix it up and make it livable. And by “livable,” I mean warm. The windows are horrible and the area doesn’t retain heat very well.

You know all about my insulating endeavors of the basement already. That story is old by now. I’m still going to post some final insulation photos below, but I’m pretty much finished with it. Like I mentioned above, I need to move onto the next phase, and that’s making the floor solid and to move upstairs to begin work. I’ve got a checklist of what I need to do:

– Place a 4×4 beam across the ceiling of the basement and use pressure treated 4x4s as lally columns to shore up the sagging floor.
– Remove and discard carpet in the log cabin.
– Remove sheetrock ceiling to expose 4×6 inch beams that run across.
– Remove pine tongue and groove to expose roof rafters to get access to roof sheathing.
– Re-insulate roof and either re-install the pine tongue and groove or use sheetrock.
– Frame out entire room with 2x4s and re-insulate on the inside.
– Build a wall and install a door to give access to the basement.

That’s it – I think. There’s more stuff like putting in a floor and all that, but that’s later. I want this room to hold our wood stove, so really, the insulation is key. My eventual goal is to make this house the most insulated in a 30 mile radius. Just by re-doing the bathroom, I’ve already made a huge difference. You should feel it. Remarkable.

As you may well have already guessed, I’m going to post pictures all along the way of re-doing this part of the house. It’s pretty exciting for me because I love fixing up things and making them more efficient. I don’t think this room will be difficult. It’s already insulated by six inches of wood, but that can be better. Wood has a notoriously low r-value and is actually termed a “thermal bridge” in some circles. Insulating it shouldn’t be difficult though.

As promised, I’m posting the final pictures of the basement insulation. The next go-round should be the installation wooden columns. That should be a thrill.

cleaned-basement.jpg

basement-insulation-installation.jpg

I decided to take these two pictures after I cleaned up the basement. After all the water came in there, I thought enough was enough. Now I keep the floor clean, so nothing gets wet.

trap-door-opening-from-basement.jpg

looking-through-trap-door.jpg

Insulating the rim joist that runs parallel with the rest of the floor joists can be an issue at times. Like the one in the above photos, there oftentimes isn’t much room to work with. Since there was already fiberglass insulation installed in this case, I decided to simply seal the area with rigid foam.

rigid-foam-fiberglass-batt-insulation.jpg

And I did the same thing here, albeit there was more room to work.

grey-fiberglass-insulation.jpg

basement-fiberglass-batts.jpg

These were the two final areas that needed to be insulated. They are only partially exposed to the exterior siding, but I figured I should tackle them anyway. And as you can see, the rim joist insulation was simply folded over itself, to doubly insulate the rim joist on that side of the space.
 
DIY Home Insulation Installation was posted on 10-10-2021 by JGaulard in the Home Forum forum.
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