February 23, 2017

I once again had the pleasure of going out with our crew this week.  The job is a 1940 built lake house.  The customer had recently bought this home and called us because he suspected that it was under insulated.  Oh man, was he right!  As it turned out, we discovered that there was no insulation in the exterior walls!  The attic only had an R-value of 19, which is much less than the recommended R-38.  I suppose when the house was built it was a summer home and insulation was not a concern at the time.  The good news is, we can remedy it and make the house liveable year round.  

First, we addressed the attic (this happened before I arrived).  We blew extra cellulose in the attic to bring the R-value up to where it should be.  We also built a storage platform and weatherized the attic hatch to help seal off the connection of the attic to the house.  The first photo below is the before shot.

There is a neat effect that happens when we blow an attic - there is actually a turning point when the attic instantly turns colder as we are blowing the insulation in.  When we reach that point, we know we have made a difference.  That heat that was escaping to the attic before is now trapped in the house as it should be!


Next we started on the walls, which can be a complicated process.  The house is sided with a fiber cement siding that is made to look like wood.  

Unfortunately, we have to remove some of it to access the wall.  We did this very gently by cutting the caulk, loosening both the board we need to remove and the board above it, and then cutting the nails and removing the board.  

 This is when we get to find out what the walls are made of!  Luckily, these walls only had tar paper over fiberboard, so we did not have to drill through much.  This is not always the case!  Next, we find the studs and drill one hole in each bay.  

Then we hook up the hose, fire up the generator and start to blow.  My job was to man the hopper (which we affectionately call "Dennis").  It chews up the big blocks of insulation and feeds it through the hose.  

After the insulation is added, we plug the holes back up with pine plugs and caulk and reinstall the siding we removed.  


See?  It looks like we were never there!  It is kind of crazy that you can spend days on a house when it looks like nothing has been done at all!  But we can walk away satisfied with a job well done because we know we have made a difference the customer will be able to feel.