Foam insulation...why now?

Many within our family and a few of our friends have asked why would I undertake this specific project right now, given that there appears to be many greater needs/projects which should come first. Notice that I also said "I" instead of we because Carmen was not that enthusiastic about this project but agreed to come along for the ride. (She is great!) For me, the answer is simple; first do the major systems and then finish with the eye candy. In addition to this philosophy, I firmly believe that we should first complete the projects which will begin to pay us back. This is how I arrived at the insulation.

Having spent many hours in the attic, I knew our old insulation was insufficient at best. Coupled with that was the fact that the second layer had disintegrated into a fine powder. Whenever I needed to do some work up there, I could guarantee that I would come back looking like this:

like Bert the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke) in Mary Poppins only without the smile. Additionally, this insulation dust would continuously migrate down to the first floor making it futile to keep the house clean (or at least dusted). So Carmen and I took a long holiday weekend and some cooler than normal weather to begin the demolition and clean-out phase.
In my December post I also said I would show how I modified the rafter areas the create a continuous air channel that runs between the roof deck and the insulation. Many will say that it is overkill, and I would tend to agree. However, I am the kind of person that prefers to do things once and am fond of overbuilding to make sure I achieve this goal. And given the fact that once this insulation is in place, there is no modifying it without the need to completely redo it. So, here is a diagram of what I did:

This is a photo showing the actual installation:

The hope is that with a continuous air stream running directly underneath the shingles, the heat load will not be allowed to build where it causes the temperature in the attic to be drastically different than the first floor. The other issue came to warranty of shingles. I remember when I was researching foam insulation before we did our exterior walls a few years ago, many shingle manufacturers where not warrantying their shingles if foam insulation was sprayed directly on the back side of the roof deck. This may have changed since some of the roofing manufacturers have gotten into the spray foam arena (Owens Corning in particular).

In the end, I can sleep easy not having regrets that I should have done this or that. If things turn out that this effort wasn't really worth all of the work, then so be it. At least I will know that I did everything I could to make this space comfortable.

Finally, the one project that had eluded me until right before the insulation was sprayed was the rewiring of our doorbell. Why is it that something so easy turns out to be one of the hardest things to complete? Before we had our exterior walls insulated, I tried to run a new doorbell wire to replace the existing wire because it had been cut in half prior to us purchasing the house. Long story short, the remaining wire snapped off in the wall as I was trying to pull the new wire through and I was never able to run a new wire. Even after carefully removing the trim around the door, I could still not locate the wire in the attic. After working three hours and boring a new hole through the wall, I had success in getting the wire upstairs. Just don't ask me how long it is going to take me to get the door bell functioning.


Quote of the Week: What happened to your doors?!

We've been asked this question by neighbors a lot lately. No, no one broke into our house. No, our house hasn't been vacated or abandoned (tempting as this may sound). No, we do not prefer the look of plywood to an actual door. I can't blame them for asking - both the door above and our back door to our house looks like this.

Don't worry, it's only temporary. We're having the doors stripped, repaired and repainted. In fact, the door above is already finished.

Above is the door before. I think it was original to the house. However once our door guy had it he said it was beyond repair - large cracks and it was way uneven and slightly warped. So we found a very old similar door to replace the old one (below). We ordered hardware to match the hardware we bought when we bought the house for the portions that were not original when we moved in.

Below is the new old door being stripped and starting to be primed.

Finally, here's the new old door painted and installed. Still needs some touching up with the paint and some scraping along the windows (it was just installed today). It is painted Rookwood Red by Sherwin Williams. Love it.


off to a good start

what number was "general organization" on our 2009 goal list? i can't remember right now but it was most likely near the bottom. if you live in a fixer-upper then you know organization is often the last thing to occur.

however last weekend i feel like we got off to a good start. one of the items on my christmas list was a shelf for our breakfast nook area. i've been married long enough to know that if i asked for some fancy shelf from PB or something that this wouldn't happen. so i asked for a shelf that could be used again once we remodel the kitchen and it was no longer needed in the breakfast nook. we got a gorilla rack. looks like we specifically have the GR 7304N.

no monkeying around (sorry) this thing is HEAVY-DUTY. dual purpose, too. now it holds our overflow kitchen items and all of my hobby supplies (shameless plug, sorry). one day, post kitchen remodel, it will live in our garage.

i really wish i would've taken a "before" picture of the this area. up until a few days ago this small space housed the dog's food, an old wall mirror we removed from the LR like four years ago, an antique umbrella, the microwave (still there), the dog's food (still there), an air compressor, various tools and boxes of nails, a stool, chairs, a folding table (still there), boxes to recylce, a basket full of old magazines and shoes, and a pile of junk to go to Goodwill. ah. isn't it better now?! for this feat alone i should be able to cross one item off of our goal list.


2009 goals

on the treadmill today my mind started wandering back to this house. as usual. i remember that i had posted a 2008 goal list early last year. so i decided to check our progress on that list.

1. (most important) Fix the attic insulation. As in suck out the old and foam in the new. DONE.

2. Remodel the bathroom. It will be so fun and innovative to be able to flush after every use. Grossed out yet?

3. Fill in our insulation holes in our walls / fix the plaster walls.

4. Paint the walls.

5. Refinish the wood floors.

6. Purge unnecessary items from spare bedrooms and basement. / General organization.

are you serious???!! that is the ONLY thing we accomplished from our list in a year? well. in our defense, i was out of work for one glorious, warm, vacation-taking, book-reading summer. {sigh} of course those carefree days do come at a price. as in no checky check. as in no work on the house. so that's our excuse. but the insulation is a huge timeandmoneysucking item to cross of the to-do list! so that's the silver-lining, fellow DIY-ers.

An item accomplished that was not even on our list was continuing work on the landscaping. We installed landscaping on the south, east and north sides of the house. man. i hate looking at the posts from summer. makes me sad for warm weather.

as usual, i've totally digressed. here's our 2009 goal list (many with carry-overs from last year, i'm sure):

1. have the back door and the entry garage door stripped and prepped for painting

2. weatherize same doors as well as our entry doors

3. work on bedrooms - fix walls and ceilings

4. pick out exterior paint colors

5. fix other walls and paint

6. bathroom remodel

7. refinish floors

8. finish landscaping (front yard, install a small raised bed garden)

9. generally organize

now that's ambition. good luck, irvington bungalow. good luck.