New insulation in 60 year-old house


Old 11-11-03, 05:14 PM
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New insulation in 60 year-old house

I'd like to add insulation to the first story walls of my 60 year old 1.5 story house. Right now the attic is mostly unfinished, so I think I'd have access to the top plates of the outside walls if I got behind the kneewalls. I figure the stud cavities are hollow and I could drill holes into each cavity through the top plate and blow in insulation. The house has a brick veneer exterior and really hard plaster over something resembling drywall--no wood lathe. I don't imagine I could go through the exterior since it's brick, and I'd rather not have holes in my nice plaster job all around the house.

This is my first winter in my new house. I'm in Ohio where it's starting to get cold again, and I'm not sure whether this job in going to be worth all the trouble. Will I add enough R-value to the walls to justify the time and expense of doing the job? Do you think I have enough room above the top plates and below the roof to drill the holes I would need? And would I need to plug them up again when I'm done blowing?

Any help is appreciated for this insulation novice.
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Old 11-11-03, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
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Got one of those houses right here. Blowing insulation into the walls is best accomplished from the inside. The plaster is mounted on gyprock, a precursor to sheetrock. It was used in place of wood or metal lath. Not at all difficult to repair after the insulation is blown into the walls. Plus you can work around any fire stops in the walls, from the inside. Cannot do that from above. Trying to get in from above will be incredibly difficult.

My walls have three layers of 2x4 on the tops. This is rough sawn 2x4, so they are really 2 inches thick. 2 times 3 equals 6 inches of old, hard pine. I have bored through it to wire Cat5. You don't want to cut any more holes than you have to cut. Cordless drill won't drill this stuff.

Having to drill large enough holes in the 2x4 for blowing insulation will be a task. You need holes a couple of inches in diameter. You have no way to repair the holes structurally, if needed. Plus, you have to have a hole every 16 inches or so. There is not much room to work overhead at the edge of the attic.

Will I add enough R-value to the walls to justify the time and expense of doing the job
An energy audit might help you answer that question.

Hope this helps.
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