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 $500 and does not include painting over the plugs. The
room is about 10 x 10 .
Questions: any opinions on the estimated cost? is blow in insulation
even proven as an effective method? Will we notice a difference in
this room ? Is this considered a routine job for a contractor or are
there some serious things that could go wrong?
Thanks in advance!
Put your hand* on the wall. Is the wall cold? If so, insulation will help.
If the wall is not cold, look elsewhere.
* A more accurate reading can be obtained with a remote-sensing thermometer.
HF has one for about ten bucks.
Probably you have a wind pattern effect hitting that room. Keep in mind
that without insulation, the coldest rooms are thre attic even though 'heat
Do you have other upstairs rooms and what do you have between the roof and
It's pretty routine and the price isnt bad if just doing 1 room. If you
have multiple rooms, you'll find the cost per room drops. It has to do with
their cost to get to team and gear to your house (time is money).
Look at it this way: I need a tree cut out and it's a big one. To do it,
the tree cutter needs 6 employees, 1 gear truck, and the true professional
chipper that can handle a 3ft wide trunk. He has to travel 1 hour to get to
me, and 1 hour to get back to next nearest job. My 'price per tree' will be
higher as he has to pay the 6 employees even if the job takes only 1 hour
with his gear. They still get 'x dollars per hour'. So, 'assume' they get
20$ 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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
foam costs more initially but saves lots more energy, and elminates
interior wall repairs painting etc
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.
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.
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
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