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Insulation in old house with "loose construction style"

Insulation in old house with "loose construction style"


Old 01-23-05, 04:35 PM
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Insulation in old house with "loose construction style"

I am in the process of upgrading an early 1940's home (my first time doing something like this). I pulled all of the old sheetrock down and am rewiring and had intended to install insulation (there was none at all) in the walls before putting up new sheetrock. The only thing in the walls is black paper between the framing and the exterior siding, which consists of horizontal 1x6 boards (no overlap). After a particularly hard rain I noticed that there was moisture on the 2x4 that forms the bottom of the framing. When I peaked behind the black paper, the siding was wet like the rain had seeped through. There does not appear to be any damage occurring (and I'm sure this has been happening for years) to the framing or the siding boards. In researching the issue, it sounds as if this is not an uncommon occurrence in older homes and that the "loose construction" allows the moisture to come and go. The moisture is only a spotty problem along the wall that receives the brunt of the storms and the exterior siding needs to be painted desperately.

Several questions. First: will painting the exterior siding help fix the problem? Second: is it a good idea to put fiberglass insulation in that wall or will the moisture suck up into the insulation and cause more of a problem than is existing? If so, is there some way to address this problem while still providing insulation, short of residing the whole house? Would installing a vapor barrier between the framing and the sheetrock help? I would greatly appreciate any help!
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Old 01-25-05, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
Builder's felt deteriorated and is known as a drainage plane, the last defense against moisture damage. Siding is your first defense and is known as counter flashing. All siding materials are susceptible, including brick veneer, to wind pressure driven rain. This is the primary purpose of the drainage plane and that is to shed the water that manages to get pass the siding. In order for this to be accomplished, the siding material itself must allow the water that managed to get passed it to shed away from the drainage plane. With brick veneer walls you will notice weep holes near the bottom courses of the brick rows. With lapped siding like yours, you certainly do not caulk or seal between the courses.

The correct way to address your moisture penetration problem is to remove the siding and install new builder's felt or a house wrap, which happens to be a drainage plane, and side over.
Old 01-25-05, 08:27 PM
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Thanks, I appreciate the feedback!

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