On Saturday a few friends of mine came over and helped me to insulate my office. It is the room in which I spend the majority of my time and it is also the coldest room in the house.
My office has two outside walls. During the summer, all the trees in my back yard shade the hot sun from the office, however, the dense trees also block the sun (even without foliage) from my office windows during the cold winter.
I have not had a chance to replace the single-pane cottage windows (individual lites), but that was only part of the cold problem. What I discovered a few months ago when I finally decided to pull one of the pieces of 1950’s good wood paneling down was that there was no insulation between the cinder blocks and the paneling.
My house is a brick ranch built in the early 1950’s. And, maybe they didn’t think much about insulation back then – but I could often feel the wind come through the nail holes in the paneling. I KNEW that didn’t make sense.
Back to the project.
The crown molding and baseboards came off and the paneling came down.
Old termite damage was discovered – structural problems for holding the window in place, so a new 2×4 was placed in as a support, and two additional pieces of 1×6 were liquid nailed to the cinder block and supported by the footers which were still in good shape. (This is when I am very glad I only live two exits from one of those big box home improvement stores).
And this is what this looks like now. Of course, you can’t see the new brace boards and I still need to put on a new sill and do some finishing work — but the new 2×4 that was put in fits like a glove. We dated and signed this new piece of wood (it is something we just do from time-to-time when working on home projects).
1″ insulation sheets were cut to “sort of” fit – it is hard to fit when one opening may be 13 1/2″ wide at the top; 12″ wide at the mid point and 11 3/4″ wide at the bottom. And… none of them were the same size.
A foam expanding insulation was used to fill the large gaps between the ceiling and the wall covered by the crown molding. The foam expanding insulation was also used around outlets and at the bottom of the wall.
This foam insulation from a can was also used to put some much needed insulation into the window frame itself. I discovered there was all of an eight of an inch between me and the elements around the window. This is not the case anymore.
Next a black plastic moisture barrier was placed over the insulation, and the paneling was reinstalled.
It took the four of us almost nine hours to finish this job. Because of the insulation and plastic, the back counter top which fit like a glove before, now wouldn’t fit at all. I’ll have to get my hands on a belt sander and shave the counter top down so it fits.
The 1″ insulation only has an “R” value of 5 – but 5 is better than nothing! The moisture barrier will hopefully help with some of the moisture problems I seem to be having in this particular room, as well.
This job cost be right just under $100 for materials – all of which (except for the plastic) qualify for the tax credit in the US.