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Thread: Clapboard siding and old house insulation

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  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Master Brian's Avatar
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    Default Clapboard siding and old house insulation

    My house is a c1915 Craftsman Style Bungalow.

    I had brought up a post earlier this year regarding insulating the house and had finally determined to blow cellulose insulation in the walls. I talked with an inspector as well as a contractor in my area, both said that would be fine.

    I am finally at the point, a few months later than hoped for, to possibly start tackling this job, but I have a few new questions....

    I don't have any sort of house wrap or vapor barrier on the house. On the inside walls are lathe and plaster, then the stud, then the siding. Because I don't want a bunch of plug holes, I had thought about taking a row or two of siding off at different heights to blow the cellulose in. I was looking at a room on my 2nd floor where the siding has come loose a bit and noticed that someone had put fiberglass batting in those walls. Not sure if they pulled siding or installed from the inside as there is tounge and groove panel on the inside wall. I am thinking it was installed from the outside, since the paper face of the batting is facing out, not in as I understand to be the correct method.

    This leads to the questions:

    1) at least on this rooms exterior walls, I am thinking of pulling the siding off, so that I can run new electric wires. I am guessing I should yank the old insulation and replace it with the batting facing inwards. Is that correct? I will use what I tear out to insulate my garage and other little areas. No use wasting it. Should I then wrap the walls with something prior to putting the clapboard siding back up? Will tar paper work, or should I look at something else? There isn't a lot of square footage on this rooms exterior walls, because the roof slopes into it from both sides, there are large window areas and a door, so this isn't a large job. Figure a good practice/starting area.

    2) Since the rest of the 2nd story can be completed from the inside, this really only leaves the main floor, which has fairly cut up walls due to bay windows, large windows, box outs, etc. But I am now wondering would it be better to strip the siding from the rest of the house, so I can put a vapor barrier/tar paper up? The inspector said cellulose blown into these old walls in our area has never been a problem without the barrier. He was a higher up inspector and said he'd been doing it about 20+ years. Don't recall the exact number.

    3) If I tear the siding off, I will re-use it, but should I at that point blow in cellulose or use fiberglass batting? If I use the batting what is the best way to hang it, since I won't be able to access the craft paper front to staple it in place. Any tricks?

    4) what about the rooms I do from the inside? I can't really put a vapor barrier up from the inside, but I have an idea where I could use tar paper or something similar and attach it between the stud bays with furring strips to make it a little more sealed off. Is that a good idea or bad? I can draw up a pic if needed.

    Right or wrong, my take on the cellulose is that it can handle moisture better than the fiberglass and it would provide a better initial fill of the space. The problems I see are that it settles over time, but I could always refill from the top at a later point, if necessary. Or I could install blocking to keep it from settling. The fiberglass batting would probably stay in place better, if I can attach it from the outside in, but it probably doesn't provide the fill the cellulose would.

    Suggestions or comments?? Thanks........

  2. #2
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    I have a 1923 Craftsman Style Bungalow.

    For your Kansas environment, I would recommend the kraft paper/vapor barrier to be on the inside.

    I would pull it out if you can, otherwise maybe not too big of a deal.

    When my house was resided, I had them put on Tyvek. Tar paper can be used too.

    Another thing, when you blow in cellulose (or glass), you can then use an indoor vapor barrier paint on the walls. No way to attach kraft paper on ex. wall. The paint is better than nothing.

    Jason

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Master Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakee911 View Post
    I have a 1923 Craftsman Style Bungalow.

    For your Kansas environment, I would recommend the kraft paper/vapor barrier to be on the inside.

    I would pull it out if you can, otherwise maybe not too big of a deal.

    When my house was resided, I had them put on Tyvek. Tar paper can be used too.

    Another thing, when you blow in cellulose (or glass), you can then use an indoor vapor barrier paint on the walls. No way to attach kraft paper on ex. wall. The paint is better than nothing.

    Jason
    Based on some reading on the internet, I think tar paper will be my choice for wrapping the outside.

    I am undecided on the insulation at this point. If it weren't for the machine rental cellulose would be my ideal choice. Not that renting the machine is a huge deal, but I hate trying to stay within time limits as things always take longer than planned.

    Upon doing some reading, I'd like to blow the cellose in wet, but that requires leaving the walls open for up to 3+ days. Not a big deal if weathr permits and it'd give me chance to ready the siding for re-install.

    I can't paint the inside walls, unless it's done on the backside of the walls. The inside walls are already wall papered!

  4. #4
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    If you completely open the walls up, just put plastic on there before the insulation. Studs would then be inside the vapor barrier, but that's okay.

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