How to Insulate Exterior Walls
LESLIE: Starting to get real chilly all over the U.S.; letting you know that winter’s just knocking around the corner. And Brian from Georgia wants to insulate the exterior walls.
How’s it going, Brian?
BRIAN: I’m doing well. And yourself?
LESLIE: Well, thanks. So tell us what you’re working on.
BRIAN: We have a house that’s been renovated in 2000. It was built in 1896. And …
TOM: There’s an oldie.
BRIAN: Yeah, it’s pretty old. And they did a great job on it but they didn’t add any insulation; just in the attic.
TOM: So you’d like to get some insulation in those exterior walls?
TOM: Well, what you can do is blown-in insulation. In terms of prioritizing, you’d want to start with the attic insulation. So make sure you have enough attic insulation. Secondly, you can do all kinds of caulk-up and seal-up of the windows and making sure the exterior skin is as tight as possible. But I tell you what, you’re going to see a big difference if you insulate those walls; a huge difference.
And the way to do it is, with blown-in insulation, basically they drill a small hole into that cavity, into that space between the studs, and then they fill that up with usually a cellulose or even a fiberglass insulation. And it’s put in under pressure, Brian, so that it fills the whole space. It’s actually over-pressurized a little bit. And then they …
LESLIE: And it’s probably the least disruptive to such an old home.
TOM: Exactly. And then they plug it and then spackle over it and you’re done, so it’s really a good idea to do.
Now if you can’t afford to do the whole house, what I would suggest is to break it up. Do the east walls and the north walls; those are the coldest walls of the house. And then maybe next winter you do the south and the west walls. Do it in two stages.
BRIAN: Alrighty. What about – we have a crawlspace here and …
LESLIE: Well, you can even do something like radiant heat for your floor; especially if it’s like in the kitchen or somewhere that your feet are just getting really cold. If you’re going to think about putting down a new floor or if you can even get to just underneath your floor – take it up and put it back down – you can put down these sort of almost like electric blankets, they look like. They’re little mats that you put over the entire floor and you control with a thermostat so that you can keep your floor warm all winter long.
TOM: And then if you have access to the crawlspace, use unfaced fiberglass batts and put them up between the floor joists. And between the two of the things, your tootsie’s will be nice and warm. OK, Brian?
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.