Friday, June 17, 2011

Insulation and Whatnot

Ann here. Before I talk about insulation, I have to get something off of my chest.....

Have you ever taken a risk, trusted that you made the right decision, but still had that tiny bit of wonderin' in the back of your mind? Yeah, that would be me....until the past few days, that is.

Don't get me wrong, after we got back on track with this house in March, all lights were green, we passed Go and collected our $ get the point. A few times in the past few weeks since we arrived, during the amazement that we actually did make this move from the west coast and enjoying a mere fraction of the stress we used to feel, I had a tiny, niggling thing poking the back of my brain.

I'm happy to report it has left. Or maybe I finally came to grips with the fact that hubby and I made the biggest decision of our life together (other than getting married) and we did it of one mind...and it is good. It feels like we are standing on a rock together, solidly...what an incredible thing. And I am thankful beyond words.

I believe it was a combination of mowing our yard on our new riding mower, using a chainsaw for the first time, standing barefoot in the garden, holding hands with the hubby looking at our home while watching the kids run around the yard with smiles on their faces.

Then yesterday, this sky spoke to me:

and it said, "Peace."

Back to reality...I wrote the following back in March, before we closed on the house. I'm a planner, doing what I love to do...plan.

There are SO many things to think about when bringing an old house back to life, and today insulation is on my mind. We've been doing a lot of research online, trying to figure out the best way to approach the insulation issue, because our old beauty was built in 1853, so it is a HUGE issue!  Come to find out that, interestingly, there has been quite a heated debate about whether to even insulate an old house or not.

The issue stems from understanding how the house was built to begin with because houses of our vintage typically were not insulated in order to allow for the escape of moisture from between the siding and lath&plaster walls.

Before we actually knew the state of the insulation, I could think anything I wanted, and I was leaning toward removing all of the old lath and plaster to add closed cell rigid foam board insulation, as I had been reading that this new technique is an answer to old house breathability issues.

One of the first things I did, with hubby supervising, was poke into the wall to expose the lath and underlying insulation. We knew that at some point insulation had been blown into the exterior walls and we needed to know if it had been wet at any point.

Here is what we found:

completely dry and fluffy insulation. Hubby even stuck his hand in there.

So that completely blows my new insulation plan, which is good! This means we will cut into the plaster for the new electrical, then patch the plaster. Truth be told, we will not do the re-plastering ourselves. We will leave it to a professional, for sure. AND, we will only save the plaster in the living room, master bedroom and office (which will be our daughter's room while she is still little).

I will scan in a floor plan so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about. These rooms are on the main level, which also includes the kitchen, electrical room, laundry room and main bathroom. All of those rooms need so much work that it will really be taking them down to the studs. For instance, in the kitchen, we realized the entire room was drywalled at some point -- most likely to repair fire damage. We don't know exactly when the fire occurred but it is clearly evident in the attic upstairs and inside the back wall of the kitchen.

Stay tuned for the kitchen demo pictures -- that will begin soon!

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