03:52PM | 09/02/05
Member Since: 08/14/05
18 lifetime posts
I don't know which end is up anymore!!!

I have a twin built in 1908 in South Jersey. I think it is balloon construction, though I am not really sure what that is. The basement is damp and moldy (a problem I am working on) as is the rest of the state and there is no insulation in most of the house. Most of the walls are plaster and not in the best of shape.

I am having the old siding (insulbrick from 1945) torn down and vinyl siding put up. I am also having the roofs worked on.

During all of this, I would like to insulate the house before spending $400 a month on utility bills this winter! However I don't know what to do.

I am absolutely paranoid about mold and don't want anything that would trap mositure or provide a habitat for mold/mildew. I would also prefer to have something blown in vs. tearing all the walls out and putting up drywall. The spots where the plaster is cracked with holes is covered in panneling from the 70's...I plan on spackling over that vs. tearing it out...tearing it out would open up a whole other can of worms!

What is my best course of action?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can lend.


04:04PM | 09/02/05
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
For insulation purposes the easiest short-term solution is to blow in cellulose insulation. Your house is not so air-tight that moisture should be a problem. The insulation is formulated with additives that do not support development of molds, kill insects and is fire retardant as well. In balloon frame structures, you will consume a little more insulation if it goes into the joist spaces. Since you are doing the siding, now is the easiest time to blow in insulation.

Tearing down interior walls and adding new modern wiring, plumbing, insulation and drywall is worth consideration if your budget can handle it. Once you blow in insulation, the job becomes larger, just because it will generate more waste debris. In any event, blown in insulation will work fine. the biggest drawback is it may limit your future access to wall interiors for wiring and such.


05:52PM | 09/02/05
Member Since: 08/14/05
18 lifetime posts
well, an electrician used to live here, so I think the wiring is fine (no knob and tube - with the exception of possibly one interior wall - and I will be running sheathed electrical cable and cable to the attic before insulating anyway).

as for the plumbing, everything is copper with the exception of PVC repairs and the original cast iron sewer pipe running from the second floor to the basement. When do you think it will rust out?

as for the insulation...i only want to do this once!!! my pockets are a little deep, but i don't want to waste any money. is cellulose the way to go? what about drying time? the moisture problem is a somewhat serious wall actually sweats when it rains...if feels like a jungle!!! my dehumidifier runs constantly on the medium setting. whatever I decide to do, the insulation only has as long as it takes to install to dry. as soon as it is finished, the siding will be put up. I might be able to stall a day or so, but that is it.

please keep in mind...i am allergic to mold!

as for drywalling, the guy from the cellulose company said I would probably be ok if i don't remove the wood when removing the plaster. he said i should just drywall right over the slats and i shouldn't lose too much.

can severely cracked plaster walls withstand foam insulation? in my readings it looks superior to cellulose, but everyone thinks THEIR product is the best!

please help!!! thank you in advance.

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