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Thread: Blown-in Insulation

  1. #1
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    Blown-in Insulation

    HI Everyone! I was just wondering if anyone has had good luck with Blown-in-Insulation? My house is 85 yrs old and while I had the bathroom redone...we saw the old black insulation only on the bottom quarter of the walls. Anyway...I have had 2 contractors tell me that they can take the vinyl siding off at the top (and no, did not use insulating foam between wood siding and vinyl-dumb mistake).
    Then they would drill holes in the wood siding (cringe) and blow in the insulation. The reason I cringe...old wood siding still good shape at top. Hate to put holes in there.
    The older I get, the more colder I get in the winter.
    So...again any help or info on this would be great. Would like to hear personal experience before I do this in the spring!

    Thanks and have a great day!
    Vi

  2. #2
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    I have heard reports on spraying in foam giving off bad fumes. I don't have personal experience but a loose fiber sprayed would be my choice. They put little round plastic plugs in the holes so check to see what colour they are to match your house.

  3. #3
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    They usually seal it up pretty good with the blown in. The good companies try to not destroy the integrity of the siding. Get as much information as you can and don't be afraid to get 2nd and 3rd bids and opinions.

  4. #4
    Super Member lawsonmugs's Avatar
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    The holes are usually about the size of a reg. size canning jar lid. maybe 2"-3" dia. If they are taking off siding then drilling the holes when the siding is put back the holes should not show and they should plug the holes before they put the siding back. Good luck. I know of 2 people had this done and they are happy with the insulation.
    Mary

  5. #5
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I'm watching this. I need insulation but am only thinking of getting it in my attic space. new roof possibly too. Hate to spend money I don't really have to spend, but sometimes one must.

  6. #6
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    Some energy companies pay some rebate money for some of this kind of work. We had APS pay $750 of our bill. That was three different rebates from them. Check it out. The companies should know about this. We also have a place called TO FIX IT and they recommend the best. The company's has to go through them first and they check them out.
    Suzanne
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  7. #7
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    The problem with blown-in insulation is that they can't see whether the void is being filled or if something like wiring or framing lumber is blocking the area. So it is better than nothing, but may still leave spots that are under-insulated.

    Our solution was to sell our big old drafty farmhouse and get a small brick ranch! Much warmer and less maintenance too.
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  8. #8
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    Back in the mid 1970's, we had blown insulation put into the house we owned at the time. It worked fine. The shingles were removed, a small hole cut, and the insulation was blown in. I don't remember if they plugged the hole afterwards, but the shingles were put back on. It worked fine.

  9. #9
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    I grew up in a house built in 1929. It was COLD in the winter. I remember being covered with so many quilts that I couldn't even turn over. My parents had insulation blown in, probably in the early 60s. I know it was before I graduated from high school in 1964. I don't know any of the details, but I know the house was considerably warmer after that in the winter. It also seemed to make it cooler in the summer. Good luck with your decision. I would think insulation blown in/used today would be much, much better than that in the 60s.

  10. #10
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    When we remodeled they used blown in paper in the walls--bad choice. The areas with blown in brown plastic type stuff is very warm. Stay away from the paper!!

  11. #11
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    My DH's childhood home was built in the 30's, and his mom had insulation blown in, sometime in the 80's. Then in the 90's DH & I moved into that house ourselves. It was a drafty house because all the windows were original (and falling apart) but overall fairly cozy. DH told me the house used to be freezing all the time when he was little; it was pretty comfortable for us. No central heat or air in that house.

    Whoever did the job didn't do a great job of it cosmetically, though - the siding was wood shingle and they just cored out holes right through the singles and then plugged them with plastic plugs that they painted brown. By the time DH & I moved in the paint was chipping off of the plastic plugs and it just looked weird and cheesy.

    I don't know what kind of material was blown in. I think they have stuff that is shredded fabric now, I want to say old jeans?

    It'll definitely warm the house up but make sure you do your research. Ask for references, all that stuff.

  12. #12
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I've seen shows where they make holes inside the house between the studs and blow insulation in. outside is new to me.

  13. #13
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    I bought a duplex in 1991 and live in the lower. My outside walls were so cold in the winter that you could not touch them. I had insulation blown in, and they cut hole in the house under the siding. I did not see it. The walls were so much warmer that they were the same temp as the inside walls, to say nothing about the lower heat bill Just be sure the contractor is licensed and insured and get more than one bid.

  14. #14
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    my husband said they could most likely go up in the attic space and make holes over each wall section, blow in insulation and plug holes there. Good luck what ever you decide.

  15. #15
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    We just did ours yesterday. We went to a big box store and bought 24 bales of insulation and they let us borrow the blower. There is some way to calculate how much you need. I dumped the bales in the machine and DH installed. We already feel a huge difference. Even if you don't get all of it into the walls it helps a whole lot more than none or very little. Ours had some blown in the walls but not enough and not enough in the attic. It looks like this was made from recycled cardboard and plastics. It was not terribly messy. Temp dipped to teens last night and we were still warm. I think we spent $150 or so on the attic and the machine was free. Blowing the insulation in the attic took about 2 1/2 hours then some clean up time. We've done it before so there wasn't any learning curve. (Allow time for learning.) It isn't rocket science but you need two or 3 people. One or two to load the machine and one to work the hose in the attic - maybe one of the people can yell between the person in the attic and the person loading. I learned to crush the bales a little, cut around the half line of the bales, break them in half, then load broken bits loosely into the machine. It doesn't work to just put the whole bale in the machine. One time we broke up the bales into a garbage can and dumped it into the machine. DH did the hose in the attic part - he started on the farthest part and worked to the hatch. We still could take out the window trim and fill in where they didn't insulate when they replaced the windows but that is a lot more work. At least it is warmer now.

    Last weekend DH put some 2 inch thick foam board insulation in part of the crawl space. I cut it to size and put it down the access hole to him and he installed it. He measured it and I just cut it with a utility knife. He mostly wedged it in or nailed it to the back walls. It is toasty warm above where he did that. Then he also used some of the foam to fill in the crawl space vents for the winter. There are places down there we can't really access enough to insulate like it needs. We only used the foam boards under the kitchen and bath. It was about $90 for DIY.
    Last edited by miriam; 11-14-2014 at 12:38 PM.
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  16. #16
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan View Post
    I'm watching this. I need insulation but am only thinking of getting it in my attic space. new roof possibly too. Hate to spend money I don't really have to spend, but sometimes one must.
    We added insulation in the attic space of our house. They put in enough to cover the duct work and it has helped lower our HVAC costs. Just get several quotes.

  17. #17
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    We have never used this type of insulation so I don't have personal experience. I do know that after Sandy hit the Jersey Shore some people were using it. However, we were told that if you are in a flood prone area and this stuff gets wet and it has to be removed to remove other damage.........it is a mess to deal with. I also did hear that it is hard once the house is built and drywall is installed to make sure you get the foam insulation in all parts of the walls because you can't see exactly what you are doing and they have to get it in all the bays between the studs. Here is a link to an article about the pros and cons...maybe it will help you decided for your situation. http://www.ehow.com/info_12038911_pr...nsulation.html

  18. #18
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grammahunt View Post
    When we remodeled they used blown in paper in the walls--bad choice. The areas with blown in brown plastic type stuff is very warm. Stay away from the paper!!
    We just used the brown paper stuff and it works just fine.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  19. #19
    Super Member donna13350's Avatar
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    Our home had it done in the 80's, and it settles over time, so now only 2/3 of the way up a wall actually has insulation in it...like another poster said, it's better than nothing, but I wouldn't do it again.

  20. #20
    Super Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Two summers ago, my DH, father and friend, drilled holes in our wood siding and filled our 100 year old house with blow-in insulation. They filled the attic first then drilled holes for the walls on the outside. Blew in the insulation, filled the holes with plastic plugs and then put the vinyl siding back up and no one was the wiser. Your house will be so much warmer and you will see a saving on your heat bill. There is some mess involved but well worth it. Good luck

  21. #21
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    we had it done in our ceiling and the difference was amazing. Of course it was heat we were keeping out. But blowing in is great and there are no fumes, I think its' the liquid foam that has the smell
    Patski
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Sewhappygal's Avatar
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    We did it to our house two years ago. Made a BIG difference in the temperature of the house as well as a huge saving in the monthly bills.
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  23. #23
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    Had an old home down in Florida with no insulation and only wood siding. Had blown insulation put in by drilling holes at the top as you described. They put the circles back into the holes when done, caulked around it to seal them up. Had no problems the whole time I had the house. I now live in cold, cold Iowa with another old house with no insulation but I'm looking into having foam insulation put in about the same way. This house at least has vinyl siding on top of the old wood siding so if I've been told correctly, they just remove the vinyl piece, drill thru the wood siding and then replace it, seal it and then put the vinyl siding back on. More expensive though.
    Suz in Iowa
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  24. #24
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    We had Shelter Shield ("Cellulose") blown in back in the 80's. About a month ago I had R38 rolls put in the attic - And so far in the cold Fall season, it has kept us warm here in the house. I don't know if you are having the walls done or the attic. Check and see if you can have the cellulose blown in from the inside. It would be so much neater as far as the exterior of the house is concerned. I don't think I would want any siding taken off . They can blow it in from the inside.

    I am 76 and I ca feel the difference for sure. I am sorry, but we have siding and I won't let anyone drill into the siding or take the siding off to drill a hole in the wood siding (cringe for sure). You can have sheet rock put in where they drill the holes to fill the interior walls. And when that is fixed, it can be painted (providing you get a good guy to do it right) or you can wallpaper it, or panel, whatever. Maybe have the holes put in at a chair rail height and no one will be any the wiser.

    That has been my experience - in other words, the cellulose will eventually pack down - ours packed doown from 14" to about 2". So I opted for rolls. I had to to do this on my own...my husband died in 2013 and it just had to get done and so with the help of the world's greatest handyman (and I got him) he did it right and good and didn't overcharge me. couldn't be happier.

    OK, now I lam going back to the Minnesota Ohio game - Yay! So far! Edie
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  25. #25
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    Thank-you everyone for all your comments/help/info!! I will be checking in each day to see anymore help/information.
    I will definitely get 2-3 different bids and recommendations. Sometimes I don't feel I can trust the recommendations from the contractor's previous jobs (skeptic, paranoid??) I wish I would have done this a couple of months ago. Oh well, next year will be warmer in this house, as I sit with a shirt and sweatshirt on-lol.
    Have a great weekend!
    Vi

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