What I'm Seeing Now

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Every Little Place Should Be Insulated Space

Insulation, to be effective, has to cover every square inch of exterior-to-interior space.

Heat seeks cold.  And insulation traps air.  If insulation is not trapping air in a space where heat can move toward cold, it will do just that.

On pre-drywall inspections, which are best done AFTER the insulation has been installed, I always look at how the carefully the insulation has been applied.  Behind the bath tubs, does it extend all the way to the floor?  Under fireplaces and bay windows, does it completely fill the cavity and does the paper backing touch the sub floor above?  Are exterior gaps sealed with caulking or foam?  If not, I note it and the buyers will bring it up on their builder walk through.

Here is something I see a lot.

This is the basement room under a rear sun room.  That window is on an exterior wall 12' wide. 

Just above the window you see the outer-most floor joist.  Hard to tell from this view is that there is a space between it and the rim joist (also called frieze board) on the exterior of the house.  See the holes in the joist?  That space has been used for wiring.  It is 8" deep.

Well, 12'x8" is about 8 cubic feet.  Do they intend to insulate that space? Not doing so is the equivalent of not insulating an exterior wall between about three 8' high studs.

There are three such spaces in this particular basement.  Taken together they represent a 9' wide wall without insulation.  Do you think that not insulating a 9' wide wall would influence the HVAC environment in a room?  Depending on which wall isn't insulated, it could influence an entire floor!  Additionally, it creates a space ripe for the amplification of microbial growth (molds) which nobody wants.

There are various ways these spaces can be insulated - blown-in cellulose or Icynene - and it needs to be done!

My recommendation:  On pre-drywall inspections, insist that they be done AFTER the insulation is completed.  Check carefully.  You might find spots that were not done!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 9 commentsJay Markanich • March 08 2010 04:52AM

Comments

Thanks for sharing. During this severe winter, many have discovered that their homes are not property insulated.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 10 years ago

What no fuzzy pink stuff ?  Gee but I wish it came in purple...insulate...insulate...celebrate the savings !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago

This certainly has been the winter to prove that Roy!

S&D - more insulation is never a bad idea!  No insulation is...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Hello Jay - Thanks for the information.  I see places missing insulation all the time.  I wish everyone buildign a home had a pre-drywall inspection.  Our city inspectors miss this all the time.

Posted by Andy Chaudoir, Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas (Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas) over 10 years ago

Andy - once on a pre-drywall inspection the county inspector showed up.  Here we are not supposed to be in the house at the same time.  He came in and asked what I had found.  I told him and he turned and said, "Well, I'm failing it!"  And walked out!  He was in the house 2 minutes and had done nothing...

I do a lot of pre-drywall inspections.  It is a good part of my business and almost always sets me up for a final.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Jay,

Good blog post. People are pretty slip-shod over their insulating. They do not do it, do it where they should not and put it upside down.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Nail hit on the head Steve!  Not to mention never stapling the upper end!  It all adds up to a poor interior environment.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Good catch Jay.  Your IR camera would probably have caught it to once all the drywall was up.

Posted by R Cho, R over 10 years ago

Yes, Ron, but this was pre-drywall and I typically don't get back into the house again until just before the one year warranty expires to do an IR inspection.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

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