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Plaster and lath insulation
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Picture of Runville Pug
posted
I just bought an eighty-six year old farmhouse with plaster and lath walls. When these older houses were built what kind of insulation would they use?
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: 18 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Probably nothing in the walls. Probably some has been added to the ceilings at some time since the house was built.

I usually recommend to clients that have old houses to insulate the roof/ceiling as much as possible, the floors as much as possible, and take care to seal around windows and doors and other leaky places, and leave the walls until last, if at all.

There is no really good way to insulate a wall without tearing off either the interior or the exterior.


Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
 
Posts: 2870 | Location: Tobyhanna, PA | Registered: 24 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There is no really good way to insulate a wall without tearing off either the interior or the exterior.[/QUOTE]
I'm responding to an old post but it may still be useful to the person that posted the question and others.
I routinely insulate old frame homes that have plaster and lath interoir finish. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of insulation contractors that do the same. As with all things, some do bad work and some great work.

I blow cellulose using a tube that I slide up or down the wall and the material is injected into the wall cavity under significant pressure. My goal is 100% coverage and a "dense pack". Dense pack is defined as 3.5 pounds of cellulose per cubic ft of volume. This is twice the density of what is open blown such as in an attic. Plaster and lath walls are extremely tough. They are the only walls I never worry about "blowing off". The cellulose is packed into the wall tightly enough that it will not settle and so that it drastically slows the air leakage the flows through the walls. I use infrared and air leakage testing equipment to quality control my work.

Every house I do has a significant reduction in air leakage and fuel bills. There is the added bonus of sound control. I access the wall cavities by removing the siding and drilling through the sheathing that's under it. When the siding is replaced, the only evidence that the work was done is the chipped paint on the siding that was removed.

At todays fuel prices the energy savings usually pays for the cost of the work in 3 to 4 years.

Obviously, I disagree with the quote!
Steve/starbrightEnergyServices/Wellsboro
 
Posts: 16 | Registered: 25 April 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I beg to differ on the fact that you have to remove the wall to insulate it properly. Do a search on AIRKRETE. You will be suprised what you find. This cementious insulation can be injected into the wall cavites similar to cellulose. Difference is that its 100% fireproof, will fill the void completely as cellulse will not always do as it can bulk up in areas. Its also mould proof, rodent proof, and 100% non toxic. I blow cellulose also, and would recommend AIRKRETE over cellulose for a wall retrofit
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Ontario, Canada | Registered: 15 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hetzel:
Probably nothing in the walls. Probably some has been added to the ceilings at some time since the house was built.
There is no really good way to do wall insulation wall insulation without tearing off either the interior or the exterior.

Virtually any conventional insulation material can be used as wall insulation subject to the location and the properties desired.

If retrofitting (under the warmer homes scheme for eg.) is desired the cavity wall in filling is the only
option available at low cost.

Here too only the continuous cavity holes can be injected with insulation.Desirable Properties of Wall insulation
Primarily the wall insulation is expected to act as a barrier for the ingress of undesirable heat.

In addition it should possess the following minimum attributes;

* Permeability to water and moisture
* Aesthetic Finish (if fitted exposed)
* Better insulation property (R value) with minimum thickness
* Environmentally friendly
* Fire Resistant
* Resistant to Rodent and other vermin attack
* Does not pose a health risk to the occupants or the installers
* Good mechanical strength


Attic Insulation, Wall Insulation, Insulation Contractors
 
Posts: 2 | Location: ireland | Registered: 12 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lots of people inject lots of stuff into wall cavities. No one said it can't be done. The question is how well it's done, and it is virtually impossible to completely fill wall cavities with any compound that won't contaminate the air and cause health hazards. Most compounds do not create a vapor retarder, a major weakness, and many settle, leaving the top of the wall, where your heat is, uninsulated. Then there's the matter of patching holes in the wall when the job is done. Also, with most of the injected compounds, any future electrical work in the insulated walls is virtually impossible.


Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
 
Posts: 2870 | Location: Tobyhanna, PA | Registered: 24 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, you can remove the sealant either chemically (if you can find out what solvent will dissolve it) or abrasively, by light sandblasting, but then you'll be left with a coarse surface. You can deal with the surface by polishing it, much as they polish terr***o. Then you can stain the polished concrete. Both sandblasting and polishing require machinery, which may or may not be available to you. A solvent may not do a complete and satisfactory job, either, even if you can find the right one.


Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
 
Posts: 2870 | Location: Tobyhanna, PA | Registered: 24 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of fowlervillefarmer
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My colonial house was built in 1924 with plaster and lathe walls and no insulation. After I bought the house, I had insulation blown into the walls from the exterior of the house through holes drilled under the clapboard. I monitored the heating oil consumption per degree day before and after, and adding the insulation cut my oil use by approximately half! 30 years later, while doing renovation, I opened up one of the walls from the inside and found that the insulation had not settled. The biggest problem I found was that one or two narrow spaces between studs had been missed because the distance between studs was not uniform when the house was built.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: 30 November 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The lack of settling indicated that the contractor used quality equipment and knew what they were doing. Quite often insulation contractors use rental type machines that do not dens-pack the insulation in the wall properly and the result is settlement on top as well as moisture issues within the cavities.
Its not uncommon however to find some sections that may have been missed because as you say, studs not set on centers and strange framing methods that were used for years before real inspections took place in the housing industry.
 
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This guy has no idea of what he is saying. Old school thinking was not to insulate because of moisture issues. Not so these days.

Ideally foam in place in walls is the best. Cost the most but has the biggest paybacks you can get. Also R value is greatest per inch of anything else out there.

Forget about using fiberglass on the box plates or mud sill area of the basement also. To much air will flow through this stuff making it no more useful then a filter.

Foam the sills closed. Foam all the pipes and wires that enter into the floor from the basement.

Then go into the attic and foam closed all top plates exposed into the attic, Seal all wires, plumbing and chimney pipes also. Any high hat lights. Convert them over to LED lights and then foam them closed. If you have cooling equipment in the attic. Seal off the soffit areas and foam the ceilings with closed cell insulation to about two inches thick, the finish with open cell insulation to the edges of the roof rafters. Seal off all ventilation holes, gable vent holes etc.

For the main wall areas on outside of house. Pour in foam insulation into them.

Once done you need to get a BPI energy audit done to make sure you did not make the house to tight. A CAZ test is performed to determine if there is enough fresh air entering into the home both for combustion and for healthy breathing air for the occupants of the home.

If you do not want to use foam in walls. Dens Pack cellulose insulation at about 3.5 lbs per cubic foot should be done.

The reason why people said that cellulose can soak up water is because they are not putting enough into the wall system. Using machines that are rented from the big box stores cannot push enough insulation into the walls to have it be successful.

Also be very careful to be sure that there are no Knob and tube wires buried in the walls or anywhere there will be insulation installed. These wires must be removed and proper modern wiring done before the foam or any type of insulation is installed.

My suggestion is before you do any insulation work at all. Get a BPI home energy audit performed by a unbiased professional and have them suggest methods of air sealing and insulation that will work best for your home.

You can also check out www.hometalk.com
 
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you very much. I'm on a budget, should I start with the attic then the walls in a few years, or the opposite? Or would a BPI contractor tell me what is the best?
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 15 December 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your BPI annalist should be able to tell you where to put your money first.

The first area you should consider doing however is the basement area. This is where the air is pulled into due to stack effect of home. Then attic area.

Also being on a budget. I would suggest that you purchase outlet and switch gaskets and install them. These foam pads simply are placed under the covers of the outlet and switch covers as well. They will stop or help stop air flow in and out of the wall cavity. They are only about 20 cents each and take about one min to put in.

You can do an audit of sorts yourself. Using a window box fan and some cardboard. Simply take the fan and put it in a window blowing out. Seal all around the fan with cardboard and some blue masking painters tape. Turn fan on high. Be sure to have all the doors and windows closed. If you have any vent fans and dryer all which should be venting out of the home. Turn them on as well. This will help put the house in a negative pressure. It will not be a lot but it will help you out.

The best time to do this is when its really cold out. You will be able to feel the cold air coming in if you simply use a wet rag and dampen the back of your hand and place it near where you suspect air to be leaking in. The wet hand with the cold air can be felt real easy. Just be sure however if you use the incense stick that your careful not to burn anything.

Then take an incense stick that gives off smoke when it burns. Light it and then carefully move it around the outlets, doors, windows throughout the house. You will notice or should notice the air moving into the home at many of these points. Anyplace you see air coming in, needs to be sealed.
Check around the plumbing behind the sinks in kitchen and baths. Go along the edges of the floor near the moldings. If you have an AC system that is located in perhaps an attic area, check the grills for air blowing out of them.

Although this is a off the wall way of testing. You should be able to at least find where the worse leaks are.

Your BPI professional uses a larger fan system and a computer that after plugging in information such as volume of the home can tell you pretty much what size hole overall you have in your home and what areas are the worse.

If you do this before you seal anything and then after your done you should be able to tell the difference.
 
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Wayner
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quote:
Originally posted by Envirotech Insulation:
I beg to differ on the fact that you have to remove the wall to insulate it properly. Do a search on AIRKRETE. You will be suprised what you find. This cementious insulation can be injected into the wall cavites similar to cellulose. Difference is that its 100% fireproof, will fill the void completely as cellulse will not always do as it can bulk up in areas. Its also mould proof, rodent proof, and 100% non toxic. I blow cellulose also, and would recommend AIRKRETE over cellulose for a wall retrofit


I was impressed at the simplicity of the product when I went on the company website and viewed the video. My only questions are what is the R-value per inch, and in the video, they tasted AirKrete, and said it was salty...how to you apply that near an outlet without creating a short circuit, since it's salty and wet during application?


Wayne
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Queens, NY | Registered: 09 June 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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