Insulation Options for an Older Home
LESLIE: Feeling the winter chill in Illinois, we’ve got Bonnie. What can we do for you?
BONNIE: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. My husband Bob and I have a wood frame house that right now is a six-months residence but sometime in the future it might be all year round.
BONNIE: And right now it’s fiberboard but in the future we’re going to take down that fiberboard. Because it was made in the, you know, early 1900s.
BONNIE: So we want to know what’s the best – and I always say this wrong – installation? Insulation. (laughs)
TOM: (laughing) Insulation.
BONNIE: Insulation for – how much (inaudible) …?
TOM: Bob’s helping out there.
LESLIE: The home improvement helping out couple.
TOM: Exactly. They’re having a – they’re having an offsite consultation.
Alright. So you want to insulate without removing the drywall. Is this correct? Without removing the plaster?
BONNIE: Well, we want information on doing both.
BONNIE: Either not – because it’s fiberboard. It’s not plasterboard. It’s not …
TOM: Well, if you want to remove the walls and recoat it, then I would probably recommend that you simply use fiberglass. If you want to leave the existing interior walls on right now, then you’re going to probably want to use cellulose – blown-in cellulose – where it’s – you drill a small hole in the wall and usually you do that around the five-foot mark.
LESLIE: Well, the pros do it.
TOM: Well, pros do it, yeah. I mean you can rent the equipment and do it yourself. But they drill a hole. They fill the entire wall cavity with cellulose. The cellulose that they use has a fire retardant chemical in it so it’s not going to be a fire hazard. And it has to compact into the wall under a couple of pounds of pressure to make up for settlement; so it doesn’t settle and create these uninsulated spaces. And then the wall is plugged and that plug is covered with spackle and then you repaint it and you never see it. And that’s really the way to do it.
LESLIE: Is this a lake house or something, Bonnie?
BONNIE: It’s actually in a Methodist campground.
LESLIE: OK. Are you dealing with a lot of moisture there or anything?
BONNIE: Yes, a lot of moisture. It’s right by a river. Yes.
LESLIE: So you might want to think about if you want to take down your interior drywall, if you want to remove it, you can get rid of that stuff. You might want to try, once – you would then use a fiberglass insulation, like that pink cotton candy baffle. Then what you would do is reapply a different product other than traditional drywall. There’s something from Georgia-Pacific called Dens Armor and it’s like a wallboard but it’s faced with fiberglass. So with a lot of moisture from the river, it’s not going to grow mold.
BONNIE: Oh, wow. That’s great.
TOM: You can read about it online at StopFeedingMold.com.
Bonnie, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.