Insulation in the Hallway

We took some time off to have Thanksgiving dinner. It was good. Then we figured that with four days off we should put in a day of work on the house, no?

The project awaiting our tender ministrations was the insulation in the upstairs hallway. This is a timely project because it is turning cold now, and the heat is whooshing out the openings in the siding.

Gappy siding

You may think that was hyperbole, but it was anything but.

Before we put in insulation, we needed to add blocking. Blocking is wood framing that keeps fire from spreading from floor to floor. By code it's required every ten feet on a vertical wall, and Victorians never ever have it.

Checking out the situation from the attic

We talked through where the blocking would have to go, both in terms of accessibility and where it would do the most good. I am actually a fan of doing things that prevent the spread of fire in houses.

Then Noel crawled up into the attic on our WONDERFUL ATTIC STAIRS and looked at what things were like up there. There wasn't going to be any better access from above, though, so that great idea was out the window.

Old gas tie-down

Installing blocking is pretty straightforward. You cut the piece to the width of your opening and nail it into place. This was made much easier by the palm nailer, and the chop saw which we borrowed from the neighbor to help finish up the framing.

This old tie-down for the gas lights was in the way, so it got pulled out. It's funny how similar it is to a modern piece for the same purpose.

Unrolling the insulation

We'd bought a roll of insulation, and I unrolled it and cut pieces to length.

Taped ends

Each piece was taped on both ends to help keep water out. We know a lot of water gets in our walls; that is how Victorians are designed to work. But I do not want the insulation getting wet.

In addition, we use rafter vents (Durovent) to provide an airspace between the insulation and the walls. That lets the walls behave a bit like a rainscreen, as they were originally intended to do.

Installing insulation from above

We ran the insulation up to just under the attic "floor" (if the attic had a floor, that is). This was made easier by access from above.

Insulation installation

And here's the process: add blocking, put up Durovents (which we did not do all at once), install each piece of insulation.

Insulation in the bathroom

And this is what it looks like inside the bathroom. It's starting to get real. I even brought home some tile samples to see in place this weekend. Tile samples! Like we might actually someday finish this thing!

posted by ayse on 12/01/13

4 Comments

"We know a lot of water gets in our walls; that is how Victorians are designed to work."

Really?!

Yes, really. OK, maybe not designed for a LOT of water, but designed for water to get in and be shed out again.

Bottom left of 1st picture seems to show diagonal siding underneath the clapboards. If true, was this removed at some point? Our Alameda Italianate, of a similar vintage, has this. Just curious, keep up the great work.

It's not diagonal siding; that's the framing for the roof of the attic, over the 1-story part of the house. As far as we can tell, there was never anything under the tongue and groove siding.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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