Friday, September 16, 2011

33 Years and Still Building Dreams

OK, so I haven’t written on the progress of the house lately.  We’ve been busy and my internet connection sucks and I really wish Grady was still taking the pictures, but I am excited to report that the insulators arrived today (yesterday now)!

I didn’t write about the rough electrical installation mostly because it was amazingly expensive and just a bunch of wire sticking out all over.  I am sure I will be more grateful when I am lit up and warmed up this winter, but for now it just didn’t thrill me (and there’s the big check to write).  Don’t get me wrong, they did a great job and you certainly don’t want to skimp on electrical.  It’s REALLY important!

The insulation however is much more exciting.  The entire process is a blown-in insulation.  Three guys arrived today from Gale Insulation at about noon and by 5 o’clock, they had all the walls covered with ‘blanket’.  This ‘blanket’ material reminds me of the stuff on the bottom of your box spring.  It’s a thin mesh-type material that the light passes through.  They cover all the walls, doors and windows. 

When they are covering these areas, they have this staple gun that sounds like a machine gun.  I was so fascinated with it, the guy let Daniel and I try it.  You just hold it up to the wall studs and move it along and start shooting.  There must be a couple million staples in our house now.
Next they will ‘blow-in’ the insulation.  I haven’t seen what this looks like yet, but I can’t wait!  Don is busy running around and putting ‘blocking’ in wherever needed to support things like fans and finish material.  Once this ‘blanket’ is up everywhere, you cannot get into areas later to add material for support of your finish wood, sheetrock or exhaust fans, for example…  This has become an on-the-job learning experience. 

I spent an entire day vacuuming up debris between the walls and caulking or sealing between the mud-sill and the foam insulation that comprises the base of the foundation ‘outside’ of the concrete floor.   This, we thought, would help eliminate any bugs coming in along cracks or openings in the foundation.  I also sprayed foam insulation around the outlets and light fixtures that penetrated the exterior walls.  Then these insulator guys came in and made me feel small when they sprayed foam insulation in and around EVERY plug, outlet, door and window in the house!  The ‘stapling’ of the insulation blanket will surely detour any bug that ever thought about coming inside.  

The coolest part about this entire process is that when finished, with our eleven inch walls, we will have an R factor in our insulation somewhere above 50!

"An R-value indicates an insulation's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

The R-value depends on the type of insulation and includes its material, thickness, and density. When calculating the R-value of a multilayered installation, add the R-values of the individual layers. Installing more insulation in your home increases the R-value and the resistance to heat flow. 

The effectiveness of an insulation's resistance to heat flow also depends on how and where the insulation is installed. For example, insulation that is compressed will not provide its full rated R-value. The overall R-value of a wall or ceiling will be somewhat different from the R-value of the insulation itself because some heat flows around the insulation through the studs and joists. Therefore, it's important to properly install your insulation to achieve the maximum R-value." []

We had to actually install vented windows so that the wood stove will not suck all the air out of the house because it will be so air-tight!  This is where you really don’t want to skimp on materials.  When you live in any climate, but in especially cold country, insulation is a major factor in building your home.  It’s nice to have a beautiful home, but it’s more important to have an efficiently operating house to live in.
PS – I may have forgotten to mention our new R-15 insulated garage door!  It’s awesome, tight and our first EVER electronic garage door opener.  Just because we’re living in the woods doesn’t mean we can’t have a couple treats! 

Also, 33 years ago today (9/16) Don and I said ‘til death do us part’ and we haven't killed each other yet!  So I guess we must have meant it because we are still building our dreams together! Happy Anniversary to my hubby!

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