Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Just Call Us Itchy & Scratchy

Woohoo! Music INSIDE for the first time! 
Insulation is underway!

On Sunday, we started the full fledge tackle of the insulation. Since we had completed and tested the electrical on Saturday, we knew we were good to go on the insulation.

For anyone new, our insulation is reclaimed from a warehouse with industrial coolers, so it's pretty intense stuff. Gotta love Craigslist! We saved a substantial amount of money going this route, but as we quickly learned on Sunday, there are "trade-ins". Since we purchased this reclaimed stuff that comes in 4x8 foot sheets, we have to do all the cutting ourselves. We learned, THANKFULLY, that using the skill saw made our job much easier....sort of.

This type of insulation is not the "closed cell" so that means when you cut, you get crumbles, powder, and dust. We wore masks last time to avoid breathing in the stuff. Dan wore one again this time, but I was the measure and mark person, and only occasionally  the cutter, applicator so I didn't wear one. There were a couple of times that I wished I had. That powder clings to sweaty skin like nothing else. I made the mistake of licking my lips at one point and spent the next 15 minutes spitting the awful taste and texture from my mouth!

Kitchen light...yay! :D

We forged onward however, because time is closing in. We only have the apartment until the end of September and we certainly don't plan on renewing the lease!

We decided to begin with the back wall since it is the simpler of the two long walls. This wall is pretty much all 16s on center, so the measuring and cutting would be pretty standard. Or so we thought....see the thing with this hard, unforgiving insulation board is that you have to cut it EXACTLY right. Being off by just an 1/8th of an inch can be a real pain, and often leads to a lot of grunting and griping, punching and kicking, sometimes even throwing a shoulder into it to get the damn thing in the wall. There was more than once that we had to give up and take the piece back outside to shave off just a hair.  Each time we did that, I think we shaved off a little of our patience too. haha

All the while we were both slowly changing color. The fine yellow powder collected EVERYWHERE on us...our skin, clothes, hair...and it ITCHES. After four hours of continuous work, and near completion of the back long wall, we cried Uncle. Neither of us could take the powdery itchiness, the nit-picky measurements, and the special circumstances that electrical wire introduced. With this hard board stuff, the wires don't play nicely. The foam board is almost exactly 3.5 inches, so that leaves zero room for anything else. We decided going forward that we will just cut the insulation to give the wires space and then fill in the larger gaps with foam as needed.
This coming weekend, I return to Maine yet again for a family wedding event. So much driving! Dan couldn't get the time off, so he's staying home and then heading to the Cape to visit his family since they are all gathered there for vacation.  We both return on Sunday, he much sooner than I, and he plans to work on the insulation some more while I'm gone. What a guy! :) A friend offered to help him out on Sunday too! But we've had those offers before, we shall see if he is good to his word.

Thanks for reading!
Like Us On Facebook!



  1. Do you know the approximate R-value of the insulation you used? I'm also looking at building my tiny house in a northern climate and I was concerned that 2x4 walls would not be able to hold enough insulation to keep the place warm. I don't think I can replicate the material you used, but might be able to find something approximately equivalent.

  2. Hi Erin,

    I'm having a brain cramp! When I spoke with the guy he told me the approximate R-value per inch. The insulation we bought was hard board that was just about perfectly 3.5 inches thick, so it filled the walls completely. I believe the R-value for the stuff we have is around R-18 to R-21. Having cracks where air can flow is almost as important as the stuff you choose. We made sure each piece fit SNUG, and then also filled even the tiniest cracks with spray foam.
    It all comes down to air flow...if there are not cracks for air to flow- no heat leaves, no cold comes in! Thanks for reading!