Insulation Day!

by Ben N on March 15, 2017

We got most of the insulation in today! And by “We”, I mean the crew that I hired.

After running the numbers on the cost of just buying insulation, plus the trips to and from the big box store, it doesn’t actually cost all that much more to hire some pros to do it.

IMG_3563The crew from Dakota Insulation was two guys in a box truck. They quickly unloaded several large bales of fiberglass and got to work.

The previous Saturday, I already cleared nearly everything out of the garage. I had to get everything off the walls and floor to make room. Too bad we also had a winter storm in the weather forecast. I moved all the ladders, lumber, and other supplies outside, and covered them with a tarp. They were then buried under the snow.

The insulation is pretty typical for stick built construction in my area. It’s R-19 fiberglass in the 2×4 walls. We already installed a layer of 1/2″ foam on the exterior of the building. That acts as a wind-break, a little additional insulation, and weather-proofs the exterior until we get the siding on. (Which will be easier to do in nicer weather.)

In areas thicker than a 2×4, R-38 insulation is used. For example, above the can lights in the upstairs ceiling is filled with R-38 batts. There’s also foam vents that space the fiberglass away from the roof and allow air to move from the soffits, under the roofline, all the way up to the peak to escape at the ridge vent. This allows for full air circulation OUTSIDE the insulated envelope. It prevents moisture build-up from condensation in the winter, and prevents attic overheating in the summer.

Over the top of the fiberglass is a plastic vapor barrier. All the seams were taped. Anywhere that was too small to fit insulation, but air might be able to infiltrate, was caulked to stop those air leaks. For example, between adjacent doubled-up studs. I also used the flexible version of Great Stuff around the service door and the windows before the insulators arrived.

The work was all finished in less that three hours, but that was only the Fiberglass Batts portion of the insulation.

IMG_3574The ceiling of the garage (floor of the loft) will get a nice thick layer of BLOW-IN insulation. The main reason is that the insulation can be much thicker, and even go right over the tops of the bottom chord of the trusses. That board is a 2×10 (which is actually 9.25 inches tall.) Under the floor of the loft, that full 9+ inches will be filled in solid with the blow-in insulation. In the side attics the insulation can go thicker, so we can get 13 inches of insulation in place. The blow-in insulation uses different equipment, including a truck-mounted blower and hoses. Because of that, it will be a different crew some other day to take care of the blow-in part of the project.

Already, the garage SOUNDS very different, as the fiberglass absorbs much of the echo in the downstairs. When I climbed the ladder to the loft, I could feel it was already warmer. Also, the upstairs is now completely out of the wind. (Downstairs, there are still no garage doors in place!) The upstairs also feels much smaller, as I no longer have the long sight lines of looking through the stud walls all the way to the edge of the building.

IMG_3573I cut through the plastic vapor barrier at the NEMA 6-50 outlet so that I could re-mount my Level 2 EVSE electric car charging station.

At this point, I’m now waiting a few days for the blow-in crew. I’m also waiting to hear back from the Power Utility about the paperwork I turned in a few weeks ago for my Solar P.V. proposal. Lastly, somebody from the garage door company is supposed to stop by and check the door opening measurements in preparation for the garage door installation.

Having ANY insulation in place feels like a big step forward. I’m hoping to get some of the plywood interior walls done soon too, but much of that simply depends on my work schedule, which is very tight right now.

Until next time, Stay Charged Up!

-Ben

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