Can I setup insulation without tearing down walls?

These steps assume you are working with dry wall. You'll do the same thing but working with plaster will be slightly more work. I would suggest using a hole saw to make the hole in the plaster. Go slowly, particularly when you get to the wooden slats. Keep the teeth clean so it will cut as smoothly as possible.Don't apply a lot of pressure as you don't want to dislodge the existing slats from the plaster.When you repair the holes use some small wooden strips and good glue. (I like Liquid Nails it bonds very well) Insert the strips through the hole and pull the glued ends up against the existing slats and allow to dry. (You can place a piece of wood on the face of the hole and wire or tie the repair slats to this to hold the slats in place until the glue dries. There are products on the market designed to repair plaster walls. Don't use dry wall mud or spackling or anything designed for use with dry wall. After the glue has dried holding the repaired slats mix your mud and patch the...
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It's a question that can drive homeowners to the edge of insanity when extreme cold or hot weather roll around: "The AC/furnace is pumping like crazy. I have decent windows. I have weatherstripping. Where is all of my cool/warm air going? Do I even have insulation in the walls?"

Unless you bought the house new, built it yourself, or remodeled it yourself, this is a completely valid question.

For instance, if you plan to remodel your kitchen, you want to know in advance if you will have... to gut to the studs and install insulation (or blow in insulation). There are millions of ways to find out if you have insulation.

You just need to gain access through any small hole in an interior wall. Sometimes you can slip around the sides of existing holes (heating vents, removable electrical receptacles, etc.) or by looking for tell-tale entry points in either the attic or basement.

Another way is to schedule a time with an insulation company. They will poke...

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I'll have to punch a small hole to see if I have lathe and plaster in there. I called one company off homestars and they said they stopped doing foam injection as they found that when it expanded in the wall cavity that it sometimes would crack the drywall.

They suggested punching a hole and doing blown in insulation instead. If that is the case, then I'm thinking about cutting a cross section near the top of the wall and putting in bat insulation. Since the blown in stuff doesn't give me vapor barrier protection, this would be the same. Any thoughts? Even though to do it correctly, it's best to tear down and put insulation and vapor barrier, I really, really don't want to do that. Any thoughts on...

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There's a ton of variables involved in deciding how to add new wiring and replace existing wire without doing too much damage. In general, tearing down walls isn't required but you will likely end up cutting some holes; how many and where depends on current the house brick or frame? Plaster walls? One story or two? Basement? Has the panel been updated?

Most importantly, look for an electrician who likes working on old houses. It is a special skill and not everyone has the patience and interest in historic architecture to understand the older buildings and see how to do the rewiring without tearing everything out. You may want to talk with other old house owners in the neighborhood or at your local preservation group for contacts.

One story houses are much easier to rewire as you have attic access from above and can drill down through the plates to feed wall switches and drill up from the basement for outlets. Adding new wiring to a two or three story...

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They did it because they wanted to reunify Germany. By 1989, thecommunists in East Germany had lost the support of the SovietUnion, which they needed to stay in power. The USSR itselfdissolved in 1991, a year after German reunification in 1990. After World War II, Germany was split into four sectors-the Soviet,American, French, and English. Germany had fallen apart. TheSoviets ran their sector as a communist one. The wall was built in1961 to prevent the people in the East from escaping into the Westwhich was better. People still tried to get over. They dug tunnelsand jumped out of windows. People died trying to cross-a total of239 deaths at the wall. There were about 5000 escapes. RonaldReagan (US President from 1981-1989) had came over to theBrandenburg gate to give a speech to the Soviet Leader, MikhailGorbachev, and the West Berliners. East Berliners heard the speechthrough their radioes. He wanted the wall down since their wastension between the US and USSR with the Space Race...

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If you add foundation upon top of exisiting wall, it will take wall down and extend current room.
If you stop in next space it will create a seperate room with a shared wall.

Any other outcome and your doing it wrong

You stated the general rule of thumb. But there is at least one big exception. (since you didn't read the thread). If you lay foundation next to, but longer than, the shared wall, you will get a double-thick wall. So you lay the new foundation next to the shared wall at the same length, then expand the new room with extensions before it is built up and has real walls.

"tearing" down walls, sounds so emotive. You're selecting a delete tool and clicking. Moments later you've moved on with something else. That's it.

I don't think this is that big an issue. Identify this issue the first time it happens, work out why, then adjust how you design your add-on buildings. In almost all cases addons work as described. Deleting a few blocks of wall here...

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Cavity wall insulation is a great way to keep your home warm and cut your energy bills, but there are instances where cavity wall insulation is not the right solution and can actually lead to big problems further down the line.

Why were cavity walls introduced?

Cavity wall properties began to be built in the 1930s as a way of stopping moisture penetrating the external walls. The cavity walls were built by laying two skins of brick parallel to one another with an air space between them. The advantage of this type of wall was that water could penetrate the outer skin of brick, but then when it reached the void there was no way it could cross to the inner leaf, ensuring that damp never made it into the home.

In the 1970s, oil prices sky-rocketed and this saw energy bills increase, so the decision was taken to utilise the cavity for an additional purpose – to house insulation. The aim of the cavity wall insulation was to slow heat loss, thereby helping lower...

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For homes old enough to have tube & knob wiring (two single wires), there was a tendency to run wires to the top of a room, then drop them to their fixtures along stud spaces , at least in my area. while in the ceiling, there was a tendency to run across the "grain", driving tubes thru each joist to house an individual wire and sometimes along the joists...Sometimes, when joining outlets, they'd run tube thru the studs to connect strings of outlets.

With modern wiring, there's a tendency to follow the stud and joist spaces, especially since there's been more scrutiny by officials in how things are wired, although one can't be certain that it was done by the book.

Being who I am, I tend to think there was a purpose for the switch. And so, I'd be inclined to suspect it either at one time powered a ceiling light that has been capped over or (bad form) plastered in), or that it once powered a "convenience" outlet.

For the first situation, is there...

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Chapter 5 Havannah

The concert was amazing! I have never experienced anything so magnificent in my entire life. Me and Kat were hyped up on monsters and we couldn't stand still. Waiting for them to call us back into the room we jumped, skipped, hopped, and rolled in the hallways. We were about to start jumping again when a guy said Kat's name. We followed him into a room and he told us to wait.

"I'm nervous again." I said to Kat. She looked at me.

"Me too." she said and smiled right before the doors opened and our five boys walked in. I was in shock so Kat spoke first. "Hi I'm Kat." she said I could tell she was nervous and about to hyperventilate. She shook hands with them all and nudged me.

"Oh right." I said lost in my own...

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in a nutshell.....

1. cover the floors with a tarp or paper.
2. remove all trim around windows, doors and base trim, this can be reused if you take it down carefully.
3. remove all outlet plate covers
4. i prefer to use a spade shovel to remove the plaster, run it horizontally along the walls and it will come down quickly.
5. clean up the plaster using 5 gallon buckets or fill a trash barrel no more than half way.
6. remove the lathe, make sure to save some of it for later if needed.
7. send in your electrician to update the electrical
8. insulate the walls, depending on your stud depth i assume it will be either r-13 or r-19
9. depending on the thickness of the old plaster, it's sometimes easiest to tack the lath you took down back on to the studs. not horizontally like it was but just on the face of the studs to shim it out for the new blueboard.
10. call in the plasterer, they will hang the blueboard and plaster the walls

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Understand window insulation film. The window insulation film this article discusses, and which most hardware stores carry, is heat-shrink film stretched across the interior window frame to form a bubble that blocks drafts and disrupts convection of the indoor air mass across the too-cold (or too-warm) glass. Window laminate films that stick directly to the glass like automotive window tint, to shade, insulate, and reinforce, are very different.


Choose windows to insulate. You won't be able to open the window without removing the film, so leave at least one window near the kitchen uninsulated in case you have to air it out after burning food. You may want to leave windows on opposite ends of the house uninsulated to open them for a breeze when the weather is nice if you don't want to re-insulate each winter. You won't be able to reach window blinds after applying insulation, and a lack of opaque window covering lets a lot of heat radiate in or out, so...

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There are several options when it comes to wall insulation in existing homes. Most commonly a number of holes are drilled to allow injection of insulation foam but there are times when it is better to open up the wall from the outside to gain full access. We call this second approach the “Outside-In”. Both methods are described below.

The Traditional Approach to Wall Insulation

Wood frame walls

Pure Seal uses Air Krete wall foam for insulation of closed wall cavities. We chose Air Krete after careful evaluation of competing systems and materials for the following reasons:

· Air Krete offers outstanding R-value.
· Air Krete flows around obstructions in the wall during installation, which prevents voids in the insulation.
· Air Krete does not shrink or settle in the wall, which eliminates unwanted air infiltration. Competing retrofit foams can shrink which allows cold air to bypass the insulation, significantly reducing is value.
· Air...

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...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Have I mentioned yet that the all exterior Underdog walls are cinder block? Yep, behind the original plaster is cement block on all the perimeter walls. Should the Big Bad Wolf come knocking on our door, we’re good. All the huffing and puffing and ‘blow your house down’ won’t scare us. Structurally speaking, those block walls are a positive thing. But when it comes to insulation and upgrading the electric, those walls pose a problem.

For one, there is no insulation in or on the cinder block walls. We’re looking to improve the exterior wall insulation without compromising square footage…i.e., we don’t want to build out the walls to add a bunch of insulation if it means losing a bunch of floor space. Even a few inches would qualify as a ‘bunch of floor space’ here. Second, just for kicks, Handy Hubby tried fishing a new electrical wire between the block wall and its plaster overlay. He worked at it for 15...

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For many materials, the low frequencies hit the resonance frequency of the material, which means that the material actually vibrates with the incoming sound, producing worst performance and annoying you more. To lower the resonance frequency, you need to add more mass. Lowering the resonance frequency essentially shifts the performance curve left, so lower and lower frequencies are required to induce resonance. This is also the reason two layers of drywall and Green Glue outperform QuietRock at the lowest frequencies: it just adds more mass and shifts the resonance frequency lower. Ignoring only 40 Hz and below frequencies are a lot better than ignoring 80 Hz frequencies and below. You double the range of blocked frequencies!

Sound Redirection

As a side note, if you start researching sound insulation, you'll invariably come across egg cartons, foam, and hanging tiles. These materials are used for sound redirection, not sound blocking. They are used in recording...

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I was about to launch into an article on insulating empty wall cavities in an older house when I realized that the topic is best broken down into two sections: a survey of the products you can use to insulate your wall cavities, and a discussion of installation techniques and methods. I'm just glad I realized that in the first paragraph as opposed to the fifth page. So this article will focus on insulation materials.

Important Note: In this article, I am only talking about insulating existing wall cavities in an older house. This article is not about wall insulation in new construction. I would've had to take a “No Country for Old Men”-style air gun to the head to tackle that large a topic in one post.

Also, we're only talking about closed wall cavities. We'll deal with roof trusses and gut rehab jobs another time.

Five options

Short of gutting the wall cavities, which would allow full access (and all possible options), there are five insulation...

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Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another...

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Foam insulation can be injected into the stud cavities. A contractor will drill one hole in each stud cavity to inject the foam through. Then you can patch the holes and paint over them.

You should also check any windows in the room. Look specifically at the caulking around the frame. If it's old and dry/cracked, remove the old caulk, use window/door expanding foam to fill large gaps, and apply fresh caulk.

You can also purchase window insulation kits that use double sided tape and secure a plastic sheet all the way around the window frame. Then a hair dryer/heat gun is used to shrink the plastic sheet in place. The trapped air provides a bit of insulation, and the plastic stops drafts.

If there are any exterior doors in the room, check the weatherstripping for wear and cracks. Consider replacing/upgrading the weatherstripping to stop...

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Insulating Existing Walls with spray foam insulation

I have had a Great experience from “FoamItGreen”. The slow rise spray foam worked perfectly. I am totally impressed by your product and highly recommend it! – Walter P., Otisville, NY

If you’re renovating, your structure probably lacks good insulation.

Most buildings, even newly built, don’t have adequate insulation. And VERY FEW have an air seal that prevents drafts, allergies, and high energy bills.

You want spray foam insulation in these walls, but normally spray foam is sprayed as an expanding seal. In these cases, both sides of the wall are up and you want to get an expanding foam inside WITHOUT tearing down 1 side or the other.

Here’s how to do this:

If there’s nothing in the walls, read Slow Rise below>>If there’s fiberglass in the walls, read Dropfill below>>

Slow Rise Spray Foam Insulating (Retrofilling)

Slow Rise Insulating (Retrofilling)

Does your home have...

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First, determine if the wall you want to remove is a load bearing wall, meaning it supports the floor above. Go into your basement (or crawlspace) and look at the alignment of floor joists. These are large pieces of lumber going across the house from side to side supporting the floor/roof and are generally 16" apart. Remember the alignment - they generally go from side to side on most modern homes across the width of the house.


If the wall you want to remove is at a right angle to the floor joists - STOP. This is a structural load bearing wall and can't be removed without doing major damage to your home. Inspect the floor space above it for signs that it supports the joists, or an upstairs wall. Look in the attic too, to see if any of the roof framework rests on it. If it's imperative that this wall comes down, you'll have to hire a contractor. They will call in a structural engineer to advise what has to be done to make the house structurally safe if...

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Basement insulation installed incorrectly is one of the most common Contractor errors I see on a regular. Often times the results are disastrous with severe mold and mildew problems, not to mention the loss of heating bill savings that mounts up over time.

For years contractors have been treating basements much like regular living space. It’s not uncommon to see fiberglass basement insulation in direct contact with foundation walls. Typically here in the Northeast I see several methods including:

Plastic vapor barrier against concrete wall, fiberglass insulation inside stud wall, then drywall. Fiberglass insulation inside a “bag” hanging from the rim joist down along the foundation wall. Stud wall filled with fiberglass insulation an inch or two away from the concrete wall.

This may seem like an obvious problem but the fact that I see contractors still using fiberglass insulation in basements leads me to believe that the industry needs to do a...

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Traditional method of sound proofing.

Basic: 2X drywall thickness mount on resbar, behind is full cavity of rock wool.

Advance: fault ceiling with soundproofing boards, soundproofing mat & above that is rock wool at 8" or more, at least 1 1/2 of concrete above floor. Internal walls will be double wall (1"-2" separation) staggered studs filled with rock wool, and drywall over 3/4" plywood. All wiring, conduit, pipping, and duct works are fire or spray foam insulated between walls & ceilings, all drainage pipes are of cast iron with 1 1/2" insulation, return air duct work have internal 1 - 1 1/2" soundproofing insulation & sound separation flex connections, supply air duct work main trunk have sound separation flex connections and all supply branches are flex connection. Exterior walls, same as internal walls ++ 4"-8" insulation, 4" concrete finish walls, or brick, or 12" stone slabs, or 24" adobe/ram earth. Windows are of triple panels with foam/rubber isolation between...

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If you do a search here, there are even some threads on this very topic. Being in CO, you're in a similar boat as mine in Iowa. I did quite a bit of research before I started finishing my basement, and in the end I liked what I found at

Building Science Corporation

. Last I knew the PDF that I used that had a ton of excellent info in it is gone from their site, but I think it can still be found on the net. If you can't find, I can probably scrounge it up.

Basically, what they found through lots of site surveys (empirical data) was that in colder climates the old 'interior vapor barrior/insulation/concrete' concept doesn't work as well in practice as it would seem in theory. There's way too much to go into here, but essentially, the problem goes like this:

During the heating season, you have very cold concrete - sometimes extremely cold. You have lots of penetrations in the vapor barrier (outlets, switches, etc.) where warm humid air inevitably enters the...

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