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Special Report 11: Interviews with insulation contractors - Electronic Edition

Special Report 11: Interviews with insulation contractors - Electronic Edition
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Author: Mark A. Smith

[This is the Special Report 11 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Format. Our electronic products download immediately to your computer upon purchase.]


We found ways to greatly increase our comfort, decrease energy costs in a big way, and still save money on installation. The experts discuss popular insulation materials, application techniques and performance. Six pages, revised and updated with new reader tips, web links and comments.

Topics Include:

  • BIB (Blown-in Batt) system
  • Housewrap
  • Cellulose
  • Differences in walls and ceilings
  • Environmental illness and insulation
  • Rastra block
  • ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms)
  • Protecting foundation foam
  • Real savings in alternate systems?
  • Spray-in-place polyurethane and Icynene
  • Biobased foam
  • Design adaptation for ICF homes
Excerpt from Report:

"...Q: What do you suggest for a good job?

A: Been here for twelve years. Recommend: do B.I.B. ("Blown-in Batt") system in walls. R-23 for 2x6 walls. Patented.

A: Depends on the house. I can give you an estimate if I had plans for two hours. I bid standard for 2x6 R-38 attic, R-19 in the walls. And an option to a blown-in system. We are smaller, and we are quality oriented. Before we got here, Hansen had a monopoly. We have brought the prices down. Installation - neat batts, no compression, cut behind outlets and wires. One thing is doors and windows are major loss. Ceilings is second. Third is unfinished basement or crawl space. Fourth is in exterior walls. You can do the subfloor in between the joists. Or you can do the foundation walls. You need ventilation for moisture, but we are so dry. You can put a 6-mil insulation on the ground to keep the water out. If you do the joists only, you should wrap the copper pipes.

A: Quality workmanship filling all the voids. Cellulose blown in ceiling R-38. Walls R-19. Friction, plus Visqueen. That's the best vapor barrier you can get. Tyvek is a wind barrier. Where there's overhang, you have an R-30 batt in the floor. Garage separate. Most houses don't insulate garage. Insulation kit in garage door. You could just do the walls now, and not do the attic over the garage.

A: Hansen uses BIB, we use cellulose sprayed in with high pressure nozzle.

A: Forty percent of heat loss is due to air infiltration. Tie it up. Sometimes they frame the corners so they are so tight, you can't put anything in it to insulate it, unless you happen to be there when it's made. Also put Barrier Shield or Tyvek on the outside. Cost effectiveness is super. Before windows go in. We don't install the Tyvek. We provide FOB to the job site, and General can put it up. We also do urethane foam, it goes on the inside of your stud walls 1/4 inch thick. Seals up the home completely. We do it in place of Tyvek sometimes. If we foam, we put an R-19 batt in. The other is a blanket blown in. It goes around your boxes and corners, tight. But there is no way of measuring density. With Vaults, make sure you have a 2x10 space that will accomodate an R-38 batt."...

Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:

"We built 2,071 finished square feet finished, and 2,071 in the basement. I cherry picked the marble for the bathroom, insulation, rain gutters, sheetrock taping, the leverage worked well. I show the vendors actual figures."
Vern & Catherine P.
Willard, UT

"We are currently remodeling a 25 year old house. It's been a fairly good process. We took out all the old insulation, and blew in cellulose, and it makes a big difference."
Jody & Andrew P.
Scottsdale, AZ...

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