We had a big step today. We had the insulation installed. That’s a big one because it means we are done inside the walls. I’ll be honest. It was a bit scary. I’ve been working for the past 2+ months on the electrical. And now that we’re closing up the walls, that means I had better be done or I’ll be making a huge mess to get back into the walls. Anyway, the guys showed up early this morning. By the time I got there at 8:30 they were well on their way. There were just two guys, but you could tell they knew what they were doing.
But there was just one problem. As I walked around I noticed they were putting batt insulation in the rim joist bays, but we had ordered closed-cell spray foam in those areas. We wanted spray foam mainly because the foundation company had screwed up and their forms had slumped during the pour so the tops of our foundations were lower in the middle than the corners. So the foundation company came back and grouted the rather large gap between the foundation and the sill plate the framers built, but I didn’t trust that and we wanted a good air barrier in that area. So we had opted for the spray foam. I called the salesman and he said there was a clerical error and they would spray that foam in tomorrow morning. I talked to the guys on site and we all agreed it would be better to get it all done today. So I drove one of them to get their spray foam truck while the other one kept working.
Just one more example of how you have to check on every detail. It wasn’t the installers fault because the spray foam wasn’t on their work order. But if I hadn’t been there to check, it wouldn’t have been right and would have costed us at least a day. Frustrating, but just the nature of construction. No matter how hard you try, someone isn’t going to do their job right. That might sound really negative, but it has happened so many times on this project, I’ve come to accept that it will happen at virtually every step. Now at least I know to watch for it and hopefully catch the mistakes before they cost us too much time.
We ended up using four different types of insulation in the house. In the exterior walls we used Net-And-Blow or Blown-In-Bats (BIBs). Since our exterior walls are 2×6 we figured it would be good to use the full cavity. And with the loose fill blown in, the insulation goes around everything in the wall like wires, cables and outlet boxes. They cover the walls with a fabric and then blow the insulation in (see video above). This results in a R-24 insulation. As I mentioned earlier, we had 3″+ of closed cell foam sprayed in the rim joist bays (video below) resulting in about R-21 or so. Then in the basement ceiling we had foil faced batts installed for an R-11. This was mostly to help force the main floor radiant heat upwards. Then once the drywall is put on the ceilings on the main floor, they’ll fill the attic with 3 feet or more of loose-fill insulation resulting in an approximate R-50 insulation value. Hopefully this will make sure we stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer and have no drafts on our necks.
Some photos too: