Insulating Old Home


Old 12-19-07, 07:03 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Insulating Old Home

I am renovating a home built in 1860 that has been stripped to it's studs. The house has no sheathing, only clapboard siding applied directly to the exterior of the framing. The home is in an historic district and the town would like to preserve the original siding if possible. What would be the best way to insulate the wall cavities? Should I use a Tyvek type product to wrap the inside of each stud bay, then use fiberglass insulation bats and then wallboard? Or is there another way to get a proper vapor barrier and insulation? The home is located in upstate NY so moisture problems will occur as well as some pretty nasty winter cold spells.

Thank you for any advice you can give.
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Old 12-20-07, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873

This site gives you some insights on how to apply vapor barriers and air barriers. Since you cannot take off the outside siding, applying an air barrier like Tyvek is impractical.
Old 12-21-07, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
Posts: 357
Forget the Tyvek

Tyvek goes between the exterior sheeting and the exterior finish such as vinyl siding, clapboards etc.

Since your exterior sheating and finish are one in the same you can't use Tyvek. Anyway Tyvek is an air infiltration barrier designed to prevent exterior drafts from entering the house while allowing moisture to escape from the interior.

Your best bet is spray foam. Not a DIY project but it seals all air infiltration gaps and also acts as a vapor barrior to prevent warm moist air from the interior from getting into wall insulation. Given your location, this will probably give you the best payback in reduction of heating costs.

Second best option would be to seal all visible air leaks from the exterior with DIY spray foam and/or caulk, fill in stud bays with insulation cut to fit and put poly over the interior studs to create the moisture barrier before sheetrocking. All poly joints should be taped with an appropriate tape that will stick to the poly.
Old 04-11-08, 08:33 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: illinois
Posts: 153
You house is like mine, no sheathing. These homes were not built with insulation in mind. I gutted and insulated one of the rooms several years ago. I recently had to tear out some sheetrock in that room,and discovered mold. I removed the mold, caulked all the cracks,reinsulated. This summer I plan to removed the clapboard and put up sheathing....I'm doing another room now and plan the same thing.... I just can't see getting away without putting up sheathing.,,,, I think the old clapboard can be removed,and what is damaged can be replaced with new. To me , there is no such thing as new wood,and that make the old house still old.,,,
Old 04-11-08, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Professional spray foam is going to be a tad spendier than any DIY process.. but will provide a better end result, IMO... As the interior stud bays are accessible, it should be a simple matter to have them sprayed - and then move forward with your drywall.... Not cheaper, but simpler and more effective... I am known as the king of the DIYer's in my neighborhood - but recognize when the pros should be called in from time to time....
Old 04-11-08, 09:04 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: illinois
Posts: 153
I like the idea of sprayfoam,but the high cost is unreal.

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