Sunday, March 30, 2008

Insulae Chavez (Feb 15)

Although the winters in Arizona are great, the summer requires that we isolate the interior of our house from the outside. In order to make the inside insular, we need to insulate.

If only it could be that easy with neighbors.

One of the options we had available to us was Blown Cellulose Insulation. I had been seeing a lot of it on some home shows and we really liked the idea.

You take a bunch of newspaper, chop it up into tiny little pieces, then blow it out of a big tube into spaces between the wall studs. Just as the newspaper leaves the blower, you spray it with an adhesive to help it stick to the vertical surfaces.

Come back later and shave it down with a brush and then, as Burt Munro used to say, "Bob's your uncle."

Our house has about 120 years of newspaper in it.

Lots of cool environmental things about blown cellulose insulation. Uses 90% less energy to manufacture, it bio-degrades, is 80% recycled and blah blah blah. But really, if they made it out of the freshly opened eyes of a thousand Snow Leopard kittens, we probably would have still gone through with it.

Ok, Snow Leopards are pretty cool, so if that was the only way we'd get the blown insulation we'd have gone with fiberglass batt insulation, but if they would have offered us some baby harp seal insulation...

The really cool thing about this stuff is that it does NOT contain any minuscule fibers that lodge themselves in your skin when you are crawling around in your attic wiring up the motion sensors for your house.

One thing you'll notice, the "non-livable" areas were insulated with regular fiberglass batt. I would have liked all of it to have been cellulose but not enough to try to pay some extra for it.

If you can deal with Bob Villa you can see it being applied here. My favorite quote, "...isn't it all lumpy?"

If there is a downside to this stuff it would have been the huge mess it made inside the house. It looked like an Ororo Monroe fight scene.

They cleaned up when they were done and we started walking around.

I found a couple of areas where the spaces weren't filled in all the way and called Paul to see what he thought. He agreed they were thin and called the company back to fix. Right about that time we saw that the shade cables were sticking out of the insulation. We had rolled it up into a donut shape that would fit between the studs but the twist on the cables had it actually twisted 90 degrees from where it needed to eventually be.

The insulation guys didn't bother to twist it to it's final position before applying the insulation, they just insulated right over it as if there was going to be a huge lump in our wall right there.

I hammered in some staples into the studs, zip-tied the shade cable into it's proper place and Paul was going to have them cover it up. As you can see it actually came out pretty well.

This was a very inexpensive upgrade and will be more than worth it during the summer.

There's going to be like a foot of this stuff in the ceiling. They install that after the drywall is in.

More on that later...

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