Insulation. DIY or hire out


Old 11-30-03, 04:34 PM
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Insulation. DIY or hire out

We are getting ready to build our house. We have several parts contracted out already and are planning to do much of the other work ourselves being guided by masters in the trades. We are getting conflicting answers about installing insulation. One contractor friend told us that we should definitely not take on this and should find a sub to contract it out. He said that it is far too difficult for DIY. Another contractor told us that it is one of the easier tasks for DIY as long as you protect your skin, wear gloves, eye protection and mask.

Has anyone taken on this task on a new construction project before? Looking back, what do you think?
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Old 11-30-03, 05:06 PM
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For a "complete" new home, i would recommend sub'ing it out. If you were to do an attic or a small extension, i'd say do it yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, you would need to know what the code calls for. I was asking myself the same question before i started my extension but have since done it myself. I just followed the specs on the blueprints.
If you're gonna do it yourself, make sure you wear a respirator, a tyvek painters suit, and gloves. Tape areas on your person that may accidently get exposed during work (like ankles and wrists). You don't want to have itchy wrists!
Old 11-30-03, 07:18 PM
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I did my walls myself it really simple, for the attic I had cellious blow in by a contractor, worth every penny. The money you save on the walls you can add for extra insulation in the attic
Old 12-01-03, 05:55 AM
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Thanks Dregg, - yes, we would be following the local codes and would be well suited if we decide to do it ourselves.

Brownbagg, We are leaning towards doing the walls and having the ceiling blown in by a contractor. The original bids for insulation we got were astronomical and I figured we might be able to save by doing some or all of it ourselves. It doesn't seem too difficult to do, just a messy, time consuming job, even with the roll insulation for the walls. Thanks for your input.

Old 12-01-03, 08:51 AM
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Word of Caution

Scheduling is probably the most difficult thing for a contractor to do especially when dealing with the different trades and inspections. An addition is one thing, a whole house is another, where timing is everything. Insulation and sheet rock contractors are usually given specific time periods to complete the job. These contractors will bring to the site the manpower to get the job done within this specific time period. On the average the insulating contractor is going to bring in at least five people who are professionals. On top of that the contractor is not going to schedule the insulation until the machanicals (plumbing, heating/cooling and wiring) are completed.

When we talk about quality of workmanship, one of the biggest factor is the relationship between the contractor and the trades. Do not allow your enthusiasm strain this relationship. Talk this over thoroughly with the contractor. For example, let's say it will take 40 man hours to insulate the walls. An Insulating contractor brings in 5 professionals, time to finish the job, (40 hours divided by 5 people = 8 hours) one day. On the other hand, you decide you can do this to save money however you are not professional insulators. So I would estimate the job to take 60 man hours and there are only 3 people doing the job. 60 hours divided by 3 people divided by 8 hours a day, time to finish job, two and a half days.

If the contractor is smart he is going to schedule your insulating over a weekend and some of it is going to overlap with some of the other trades. And if he is real smart, he is not going to schedule the inspection Monday morning, the earliest would be Monday afternoon or Tuesday. He should also tell you what must be completed by Saturday night in order for you to have a chance of completing the job by Monday morning.

I am not saying you cannot or should not do this job. I am saying you should communicate better with the contractor. As him if he knows someone to come in while the job is in progress to check your work and to help keep you on track. If you have some friends or family that can help you, even for a few hours, will make a world of difference. Ask the contractor if he knows a helper looking to make a few bucks by helping you that weekend. Ask him if he can show you the easiest way to make the width cuts for the unevenly spaced wall cavities. Talk to him about waste cuts and how to limit them and/or utilize it. Nothing slows down a job like running out of materials. If he is smart, he will over order the insulation and bring back the unused/unopened packages.
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