Blow In Insulation Questions


You guys in this group have come through for me so many times before so I hope you can help again! We have a fifty-something year old house, plaster walls and brick exterior with NO insulation in between. My son's room upstairs is the coldest for some reason, so we got an estimate to get blown in insulation where they would cut a small hole in between each stud and blow it in , then cap it. Estimate is $500 and does not include painting over the plugs. The room is about 10 x 10 . Questions: any opinions on the estimated cost? is blow in insulation even proven as an effective method? Will we notice a difference in this room ? Is this considered a routine job for a contractor or are there some serious things that could go wrong?
Thanks in advance!
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500$ to insulate one 10x10 room? Foam might be noticable in warmth, so you will be adding only R12?
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ransley wrote:

Hi, Definitely foam is better choice and how about ceiling?
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Put your hand* on the wall. Is the wall cold? If so, insulation will help.
If the wall is not cold, look elsewhere.
------- * A more accurate reading can be obtained with a remote-sensing thermometer. HF has one for about ten bucks.
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"Jeffy3" wrote

Probably you have a wind pattern effect hitting that room. Keep in mind that without insulation, the coldest rooms are thre attic even though 'heat rises'.
Do you have other upstairs rooms and what do you have between the roof and them?

It's pretty routine and the price isnt bad if just doing 1 room. If you have multiple rooms, you'll find the cost per room drops. It has to do with their cost to get to team and gear to your house (time is money).
Look at it this way: I need a tree cut out and it's a big one. To do it, the tree cutter needs 6 employees, 1 gear truck, and the true professional chipper that can handle a 3ft wide trunk. He has to travel 1 hour to get to me, and 1 hour to get back to next nearest job. My 'price per tree' will be higher as he has to pay the 6 employees even if the job takes only 1 hour with his gear. They still get 'x dollars per hour'. So, 'assume' they get 20$ per hour and the actual work takes 1 hour, I would expect to pay 6x20x3 for the job (plus his reasonable profit as after all he's in a business to make a profit).
Now match that to 'I need 7 hours of work' (grunch of trees). I'm the only customer that day due to amount of work contracted. I'm still gonna pay 2 hours 'pay per member' for the travel time but the overall cost per tree will go down and he may well cut me a deal because he gets a bigger overall assured amount.
You may want to ask the contractor how much to do the other upstairs rooms (assuming you have some). It might be only 350$ to add an extra room. Might be even less than that. Worth asking at least!
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Not enough information. No problem about the spaces between the studs, but how many windows? If two, there are a lot more holes to cut and fill. And would you consider doing it yourself? Go to your local big box, see how big the blower delivery tube is, get a hole cutter for your drill, cut the holes, save the plugs, get the blower, blow the insulation in, return the blower and unopened bags, and rest for the rest of the day. Next day, take a wet cloth, wipe the inside of the hole, and the removed drywall circle. Cut the ragged drywall paper around the circle opening with a sharp cutter, remove rough edges. Drywall mud to both, put the circle on a pencil, put it back into the hole with a rotating motion, a bit deeper than the existing drywall. Let the drywall mud dry, the insulation will keep you from putting the plug in too deep. After it's dry, graze over with a tool wider than the hole, pushing in to fill the openings, including the center 1/4" hole. Let that dry. Then graze over it again, let that dry as it fills in the bit of contraction. After all dry for a couple days, with no cracking from putting too much on too quickly, go over them with a wet cloth to make it even with the wall, then paint the room. Or you could have someone else do it, but it's very labor-intensive. I did a couple of rooms a few months ago, total cost was less than a hundred dollars.
Care to guess why that room is colder? Got a roof right above, couple of windows on a corner, with primary weather coming from that direction?
Have you "tuned" your furnace pipes, or is there a room very near the air return duct, with wide open vent to that room? Short-circuits the delivery, the rooms at the furthest distances suffer. Better to have them be the wide-open, the ones closer to get less because they get it first.
So you might want to speculate about other reasons for it being coldest. And is it verified by thermometer or level of complaint? Betcha if you were to relocate the thermostat to outside his door, you'd quickly discover the value of tuning the vent pipes.

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Michael B wrote:

Too bad the walls described are plaster. A circle cutter for plaster may be hard to find.

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Lenox has sets of carbide hole saws touted for plumbers. If you just need the largest one, 2 1/2", it may be in stock or can be ordered by any plumbing distributor. Many electrical distributors also carry Lenox products. Amazon also has the Milwaukee 49-56-2623 carbide blade for $15 or so. I've been told these will handle metal mesh lath and plaster, something I hope I never have to deal with.
Joe
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Is the ceiling over this room insulated? If not, that's the first thing to insulate.
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wrote:

Is it stud construction and brick veneer or double brick?
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Insulation will make a difference. Many years ago I remember my grandmother's house with no insulation. I'd get up on winter mornings and put my pants on under the covers it was so cold in that room. After insulation, if was rather cozy.
Blown in is not perfect, but far superior than nothing at all. I'd not stop at one room though, reduce your heating bill and do it all and check the roof too. Insulation has a very fast payback.
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wrote:

Path of least destruction:
Do a smoke pencil test in the room and find any drafts. Windows, ceiling light, wall cover plates, window trim, etc.
An incense will work - watch the smoke draft outside...
Go from there and fix any leaks.
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Lath and plaster is a royal PIA to make holes. I've not tried, but I've known of people who have. Totally miserable. Anyhow, I'd want to get two or three quotes, and go with the crew that looks like they know what they are doing, and speak American the best.
The time I needed some insulation, I got the blower and such at Home Depot, and a couple fellows from church helped. Hint: Pick a dry day. If you bring the blower back wet from being rained on, the HD guy gets upset.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Jeffy3 wrote:

A 50+ year old house may have balloon framing. (Essentially an obstruction free space between the studs, top to bottom). You could get a blower and bags of insulation and blow them into the wall from the attic. Instead of supplying the cash you supply the labor.
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OP could get minimally expanding foam a superior insulation R6 or R7 per inch put in thru small holes drilled in masonary joints of bricks. no wall repairs necessary.
foam blocks all the air leakage around electric boxes etc.
dont forget the about 1/3 federal tax credit for qualifying upgrades:)
foam costs more initially but saves lots more energy, and elminates interior wall repairs painting etc
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I have brick house built in 1951 with plaster walls....couple of years ago I blew in cellulose insulation....the hardest part was finding all the studs...overall the whole process was quite simple...I used hole saw - 1 1/4 inch - cut holes few inches down from ceiling and under windows...once we got the machine, was real quick and easy to blow insulation into cavaties...the whole house took maybe an hour to complete....to fix holes I made small depression in insulation with finger then filled with expanding foam, next day sliced off excess foam a little below wall surface, then filled with all purpose joint compound, sanded and painted.
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Check at cellar level. For fire breaks. You might put twenty bags of fluff into one cavity, and find out later that you're pumping fluff into your cellar. Don't laugh.
--
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Jeffy3 wrote:

depends on the size of the space. my guy charges 75 cents a square foot to drill and fill a 3 1/2" wall space. Same deal, plugged, but not painted. They drill most of them around here on the outside if it's just wood siding. He even does it under vinyl just lifts the siding, then drills and plugs.
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wrote:

I'm sure the insulation will help, just how effective it will be nobody knows. Typically, a ceiling transfers more heat than walls. You might be able to know more by taping several thermometers to the walls/ceilings or use an IR detector. You may get a better price if you can get a few more (local) estimates, but experience/reputation is important too.
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