Posts Tagged ‘home improvement’

Insulation Dude Gives Me the Lowdown on Attic Insulation

Jan 21, 2009 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

baffle1 Insulation Dude Gives Me the Lowdown on Attic InsulationSo the guy from Eco Foam concluded that I needed vent chutes around the attic perimeter and a layer of R-30 blown-in cellulose (about 9 inches) in both attic areas on top of the existing insulation. The vent chutes will allow for better cold air intake and overall circulation. This made sense to me considering my initial hypothesis that there was insulation obstructing the soffit vents. For some reason I couldn’t visualize what the baffle/vent chute would look like or how it would be installed so I did a quick scan of the web and found a couple things.

A little animated tutorial on insulating an attic. Mentions baffle installation a couple times…now I get it!

Itchy’s Do It Yourself Home Insulation provides a quick overview of installing baffles/vent chutes in both new construction and in an existing attic. He had a couple of great lines in the article that made me chuckle because it sounded like he was talking about me: “Installing the baffles [in an existing attic] is the same [as doing so in a new home] but it is a slower process and may require a certain amount of cussing to get the job done. But, that’s OK because nobody can hear you in the attic anyway.”

I can say with absolute certainty that based on the pitch of my roof and the amount of space it provides near the end of the eaves, there is not a chance that I’d get up in there and do this install on my own. About a year ago I installed some rolled insulation up there and that was miserable enough. Balancing on rafters and dripping sweat behind an air mask for an extended period of time didn’t instill loving memories of my attic.

Which leads me to another thing mentioned by the insulation guy. He explained how rolled fiberglass insulation isn’t as effective as blown cellulose. Basically, the R-value of fiberglass insulation¬† decreases as the temperature decreases and because there are many openings and gaps in rolled insulation, air can blow through it, which negatively affects its ability to insulate. On the other hand, blown cellulose holds its R-value as the temperature drops, it doesn’t have the gaps like the rolled stuff because as it settles, it fills the voids, creating a more tightly sealed attic. AND it’s a recycled product AAAANND it’s cheaper than the rolled fiberglass.

So there you have it. $1378 will get me 9 inches of blown insulation and a bunch of vent chutes.¬† Not sure how that compares to other parts of the U.S., but around here that’s not too bad.

Ice Buildup Continues to Persist. Need Insulation Now!

Jan 19, 2009 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

dsc077172 Ice Buildup Continues to Persist. Need Insulation Now!It’s the dead of winter here in Michigan and the frigid arctic temperatures and constant snowfall are once again wrecking havoc on the eaves on the southeast corner of my house. That’s the corner where the 1926 portion of my house meets the 1977 portion. I like to call it my little arctic hell. Every year for the past five years it’s the same old story. Snow falls, snow melts, snow freezes and my home begins to look like Superman’s fortress of solitude. The ice buildup is a sure sign of inefficient heating which is naturally a cost and environmental concern but those cold, sharp ice shards are a physical hazard as well, especially for the kids.

Turns out there are a few things I can do to alleviate the problem. Obviously, insulation is a key factor and as it turns out just a year ago I added rolled insulation to the 1926 attic though admittedly I had a very difficult time getting insulation into the eave area. I tried using a long metal rod to gently push the insulation into the crevase but not being an insulation expert, I think I may have compacted it a little much, which as you probably know, means the insulation along the eave was essentially rendered worthless. Another thing we did was cut soffit vents into the 1926 eaves. Previously, there were none installed so doing this was supposed to add greatly to the air circulation. I personally think the vents aren’t working properly because they’re covered with insulation. Real good, right? Sometimes I find no joy in home improvement, especially coming in as an amateur.

Bottom line is I have a guy coming out today from Eco Foam to evaluate my situation and let me know what type of insulation will be most effective. I’m not looking for them to insulate my entire attic space so hopefully, it won’t be a major expense. We’ll see. Stayed tuned in for the update later tonight.

Oh How I Love Craftsman Style Trim

Jun 20, 2008 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

craftsmantrim Oh How I Love Craftsman Style TrimCraftsman trim is probably one of the most defining aspects of an Arts and Crafts home. Below are several sites that display some excellent examples of trim from the Arts and Crafts period.

The folks at Heart of Oak Workshop in Irvine, California are a talented bunch. They specialize in custom doors, built-ins, cabinetry, trim, and furniture. Their trim page has plenty of great examples of their work and just might provide the much needed inspiration for that adventurous DIYer out there.

Then there is an entry from the Humphrey House blog that describes the installation of some Craftsman style trim in a 95-year-old Bungalow. This a very well-written blog, by the way, that I highly recommend.

Finally, Twentieth Century Fires, located in the UK, has some original Arts and Crafts fireplace mantels that date back to 1900. They’d only set you back anywhere between 2 and 4 thousand U.S. dollars plus shipping (if they even provide that service to U.S. residents). Not cheap, but worth taking a look.

House Blog Highlight: 10k Kitchen Remodel

Sep 17, 2007 |  by  |  House Blog Highlights, On the Web  |  Share

kitchen2 House Blog Highlight: 10k Kitchen RemodelLove this blog. Love that the homeowner did all the work. And I love the detailed photos and descriptions of their kitchen renovation. Although my tastes aren’t 100% identical, I truly like a lot of their design decisions. Cabinets and backsplash are particularly impressive. And I also like the island and cabinet with hutch. The green color is different, but nice.
Their kitchen renovation is pretty much complete but it’s still worth visiting to read about the project from start to finish.

Truthfully, I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to gut my kitchen and start from scratch. As long as it would take me, my family and I would become obese from all the eating out we’d have to do. Obese I tell you. And I simply can’t allow that to House Blog Highlight: 10k Kitchen Remodel

From Country to Classy: Kitchen Renovation

Sep 9, 2007 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

I think now is as good a time as any to fill you in our kitchen remodel. Let’s go back to February of 2004 when my wife and I decided to take the plunge and purchase our first house, a 1926 Dutch Colonial with 2300 sq. ft. of living space. Though over half of that space came from a two story addition that included the master suite upstairs and the great room and half-bath downstairs. The sacrifice for having this kind of space? No garage. Seems the single car, detached garage was torn down in the mid-seventies and was replaced by the additional ground floor level. Some years later the upper level master suite was added. Thus we have a home with pieces built by three separate builders – one of them a major imbecile. With the addition, the kitchen now looked over the 400 sq. ft. great room, which is one of the features we truly fell in love with.

As you can see from the before photos, this was a country kitchen complete with light blue Formica countertops, matching light blue vinyl flooring, scum ridden cabinet hardware, and pale blue wallpaper covered with sweet, little birdhouses. Fortunately this place came with beautiful cabinetry, because everything else was a total disaster. As most of you who have moved into old homes in need of renovation and updating know, without a sense of vision it can be difficult to see that diamond in the rough. But every home has its character and the most exhilarating part of home renovation is discovering and building that character so that your home becomes an extension of you. That’s why I continue to work on this house even though at times I want nothing to do with it. Even though I often think how great it would be to live in a new home that doesn’t require constant renovation. Even though it has caused me to drop more f-bombs than I’d care to admit.

I take pride in myself and I take pride in this place I call home. I’ve invested far more than just money into this place – time, sweat, a little blood here and there. These things only scratch the surface. The rest are far too deep to be explained in a single blog entry. In fact, I’m not so sure they can be explained at all. But for those of you who have walked in my shoes, you need no explanation. It’s something we’ll share without ever having spoken a word.

You wouldn’t think home renovation could be this deep, but it can be. And for me it is.

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