Best Practices With Insulation Installation

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

It isn't often that I am able to write something about best practices with insulation installation.  So here it is!

This is a new house, abandoned mid construction, then purchased and construction begun anew.  The buyers are saavy enough to act as their own GCs.  That is not recommended for most people.  They seem to have a handle on it. 

As GC, selecting the proper subcontractors is crucial to the process.

It could be said that the best (new) form of insulation is sprayed foam.  It is, however, very, very expensive.  Even when it is used minimally to seal air flow through places like rim joists, it still increases costs dramatically.

There are many advantages to using sprayed (blown-in) cellulose insulation.  It is a recycled product, is permanent, has no gaps or holes, and retains an R-value of about 3.3 per inch for the long run.  It is nothing more than chew-up newspaper and can be treated with boric acid so bugs will not eat it.  Also, its treated to make it non-flammable.

But look at this!  When a stick'em is added to the cellulose, it can be sprayed into vertical wall cavities, and will not sink over time.  Gravity still works, however, so there are places where it needs support.  Supported well, it will last forever.  I seldom, seldom see this insulation technique here and it is great to see!  In fact, to me,

its use is a

Best Practice

Consider these photos and the best practices employed.

The exterior walls are framed with 2x6" studs.

The sticky insulation is sprayed into the space, brushed off mechanically so it's flush to the stud, and covered with drywall.

It dries, is permanent and will not move.

The brushed-off insulation is simply swept up and can be used in another application.

The vapor retarder is on the exterior wall, a form of plastic wrap, in this case Dupont. 

This allows the wall to "breath" with humidity getting out, but wind and moisture are sealed from coming indoors.

This thickness of insulation provides an EXCELLENT R-value!

 

 

In addition, all exterior gaps between studs are sealed with caulking, the small gaps around windows and doors are sealed with an open-celled foam, and here insulation is sprayed over the window header to give it some R-value kick.  Bare wood is not as insulative as the insulation alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Where floor joists are parallel to an exterior foundation wall, the cavity is completely filled with cellulose.

It is supported so it will not move.

Notice the hole cut into the mesh.  The supportive mesh is stapled into place (see the staples every inch or so?). 

Then a hole is cut to accommodate the nozzle of the sprayer. 

Insulation is then sprayed until the cavity is completely filled and insulation begins to spit out of the hole.

In time, when this basement is finished, a stud wall will be in place and this mesh covered with drywall.

 

 

Where floor joists are perpendicular to the rim joist needs to be insulated as well.

In this location there is a cantilevered overhang.

The entire cantilever is insulated, of course, but the mesh is stapled three feet or so into the house, so that the blown-in cellulose extends that far inside.

This is excellent coverage.

This is certainly a best practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Even large areas under floor joists, where either insulation or sound blocking is needed, can be covered with mesh.

See the various holes cut?

Each long cavity can be filled with insulation.

It is not heavy and the mesh can handle it until, one day, drywall is installed.

 

 

This insulation and mesh can handle an outdoor application too.

This small area is the exterior wall where the front porch attaches to the house.

The insulation and mesh protect an area over the indoor ceiling drywall, but under a clerestory window.

This exterior insulation and mesh will be covered with something so it is not exposed directly to the air. 

Even a thin sheet of masonite is enough to help it to maintain its R-value.

Interestingly, from the front, the house appears to be a ranch design.  The garage to one side is almost as wide as the house.

I loved seeing another clerestory window over the garage!  (Photo in comment 42 below)

It is not functional except to provide natural  light to the garage.  But from the outside it adds spectacular symmetry to the house.  In my opinion that was very Jeffersonian to do!

My recommendation:  when we see best practices employed, we should note them!  It is wonderful to see.  And to be able to blog about!

 

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. Evelyn Kennedy 11/14/2012 10:20 PM
  2. Michael Dagner 10/14/2013 12:39 AM
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Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Lenn - the homeowner saw your comment and sent me this!

Enjoy!

You have been by this house many times - think Hamilton Station Road...

She says this is from about a week ago.

Nov 15, 2012 06:58 AM #42
Rainmaker
385,916
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, Love that stuff. It like a foreign object around here. I tried to get one of the Insulation contractors here to do it for a client and all they did was try to convince me that fiberglass is better. What ever ; )

The other thing that most people do not realize it those homes are quieter than fiberglass ones. Cellulose has great accoustic properties for a home.

Nov 15, 2012 07:02 AM #43
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks for the email Don.  Maybe AR can help.

Nov 15, 2012 07:16 AM #44
Rainmaker
574,501
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
California Broker and REALTOR

Jay, you made insulation interesting.  I don't recall ever having seen this technique.  We may not have it in many homes in my area.  

Nov 15, 2012 07:55 AM #45
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Maybe not Gary.  Perhaps it is starting here.

Nov 15, 2012 07:58 AM #46
Rainer
120,024
Howard Metts
Metts Group at Keller Williams - Palm Harbor, FL
GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute)

Great info!  I will be insulating my attic using the spayed insulation.

Nov 15, 2012 08:43 AM #47
Ambassador
1,011,234
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo
That was phenomenal - I learned so much in the comments, too!
Nov 15, 2012 09:25 AM #48
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It is a great insulation even to cover others Howard.  No need to remove what you have now.  Insulation is cumulative.

Dagny - you're welcome!  I love to come to AR to learn.

Nov 15, 2012 10:21 AM #49
Rainer
146,671
EMILIA B COOPER, REALTOR® SFR.NCHSE.AHWD
CHARLES RUTENBERG REALTY - Orlando, FL
Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate

Jay thanks  always for give us so great information...Excellent Blog.

Nov 15, 2012 03:56 PM #50
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Emilia.  I am very glad you found it informational!

Nov 15, 2012 04:08 PM #51
Rainmaker
762,134
Sharon Parisi
Keller Williams Dallas Premier Realty - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Jay, once again you have made us a whole lot smarter!  I was unfamiliar with this process prior to your post.

Nov 15, 2012 10:07 PM #52
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Sharon.  You are already smart - this is just adding information!

Nov 16, 2012 02:14 AM #53
Rainer
60,316
Rob Renk
Carrington Mortgage - McKinney, TX
AE | Carrington Wholesale loans down to 550 FICO

Thanks for showing us this type of insulation installation.  I never what the process was like.  Thanks.

Nov 17, 2012 10:08 AM #54
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Rob.  It's been around a while, but not too used here.  I wish it was!

Nov 17, 2012 03:03 PM #55
Rainer
211,957
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton

Dear Jay,

Great post as always! I love the clerestory window over the garage, not only for symetry, but also for natural light from above, when you are working on a project. Much better than having to open the doors on a cold winter day.

Nov 17, 2012 08:15 PM #56
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It does add a lot of light to the garage Dorte.  I think it's a great design too.  Outside the windows in Monticello look right in place, but inside they look funny because they span floors.  The intent was the view from the outside!  Symmetry!

Nov 18, 2012 02:15 AM #57
Rainmaker
115,620
Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections - Edison, NJ
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!

Wow, I've never seen this before and I doubt I will ever see it again.  

Nov 18, 2012 07:45 PM #58
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know Rafi.  I saw it used in New England by the "This Old House" crew over a decade ago.

Nov 19, 2012 02:53 AM #59
Rainmaker
264,568
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

That is a nice insulation job. I almost got into the spray foam insulation business. That is a top notch way to go.

Dec 10, 2012 08:52 PM #60
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It was a pleasure to see this home Wayne.  And I got a pack of eggs out of the deal - they raise chickens and sell eggs!

Dec 11, 2012 02:45 AM #61
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Rainmaker
1,282,653

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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