Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Behind the Walls - All the Important Stuff!!

It's been 3 months, so it seemed like time for an update.  And so much has changed!!!  I can't believe how quickly things are moving forward.

We got electrical and plumbing completed and passed our inspections with flying colors.  Now there are multiple outlets in each room, new lighting and 2 new bathrooms all plumbed up.  Next step, insulating the house.  And that was a really big job.

You see, when we gutted a few of the walls, we discovered there wasn't any insulation in the walls!!  No wonder we were burning through oil at a crazy rate during the cold snaps!  And insulating an old house isn't all that easy, but it was fascinating to watch the process.

Pink snow???  Nope, shredded fiberglass!

We used blown in fiberglass (which looked a bit like pink snow as they move the hoses around the house!).  It doesn't compress as much as cellulose over time and it can be chopped up finer - which is important when you're filling an irregular cavity in an old house.  Typically, it's done from the outside.  But since it's so cold, the exterior siding was too brittle to be moved and we decided to have all the holes drilled from the inside (our drywall team was not amused!!).

Essentially, they drill two holes in each bay between the studs.  That lets them fill from the bottom first and then the top.
Chopped up fiberglass insulation is pumped through the hose into the walls
Once the bay is filled with insulation, the hole is fitted with a wooden plug, so they can do the plaster repair.  There are a LOT of plugs!!

We also added extra insulation in the attic and basement, to seal up the whole building envelope.

What I found most amazing was the dramatic difference in sound levels after the insulation.  Suddenly there's a lot more sound deadening - the house used to have a bit of an echo and now it's dead quiet.  You can't hear cars go by, the way you could before.  And we haven't even finished swapping out the windows!

Next the drywall team moved in.  And they really had their work cut out for them.  Not only did they have to install drywall in the kitchen and baths, but also seal up all the wall plugs.
Special delivery!!!

'Pillowed' ceilings
And the upstairs ceilings and exterior walls had an interesting pillowing effect.  The original house has long sections of drywall installed, with a plaster coating on top.  But on the unheated ceilings, the plaster had sagged between the studs and created all these pillow-like areas.  They were totally solid, with no cracks, so must have evolved slowly over the 80 years with no insulation.  Essentially all the cold/hot seasonal changes made the plaster sag a bit.

Don't you love a guy on stilts?
But it took a lot of time and skill to smooth out the valleys between each 'pillow', to give us a smooth ceiling again.  Add the work required to fill all the insulation holes and we've practically replastered the whole house.  See the difference in the front bedroom?
The drywall has been primed and I thought it would be nice to share a few photos and a video.  Enjoy the tour!!  
Living Room - Fireplace is updated and ready to use.  Wall to Kitchen is completely open.
Kitchen looking towards dining room, living room and office
Dining room with view towards kitchen (right) and living room (left)
Front bedroom - opening up wall to include additional window floods the room with more light!

Creating a Master Suite by adding a bathroom 
Back bedroom

Next up?  We have 28 new windows to be installed....the guys have gotten a good start on them, but it takes awhile!  And again, the difference is remarkable.  No more drafts wafting through the rooms!  And they open and actually lock!  Now that's fancy!

And the most exciting thing?  With all this work done, we're ready to move forward with finish carpentry.  We can start the kitchen, install the doors and get this place put together.  Can't wait!!
See these boxes?  That's the kitchen - including the kitchen sink!

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  1. As always beautiful

  2. I learned something new about insulation. Fabalous! I love how it is coming together. What I am really excited about seeing is the new kitchen. It's looking really good! I just love reading about your houses. So much work but such a beautiful finished project. You have very good helpers that do the job right.

    1. Thanks so much Linda!! These houses are a labor of love - it's so much fun to update them for the next generation of homeowner!!

  3. wow so much work, my family are like why do you bother with all the things in the walls that no one sees. And I am 'I will know it is done correctly and to code and then when the house is surveyed by a mortgage company we know everything will be correct and they wont be able to drop the price (in England, the survey is done after the offer is made and people then try and haggle the price down if there are thing wrong with it). we have a network of cracks all over the house and in some places it has really dropped. We have to wait for planning permission to take the roof off and add a 2nd floor with a balcony, which will give us sea views. (making it worth the work). Fingers crossed for you it is all plain sailing with the items left and the kitchen! its looking great already!!!! well done!

    1. Thanks so much! We're pretty excited about it. And your project sounds great - sea views will be fantastic!!!

  4. Hi, can I ask you a question about solving the pillowing effect on your ceiling? We are about to deal with the same issue. Thanks!

    1. My drywall guys used Durabond to fill the valleys between the pillowed sections. And then they did a skim coat on top of that. It was a lot of work, but looked so much better!


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