Superinsulating My Old House, Phase 2

November/December 2009
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 02, 2009
Phase 1 was an R-35 face-lift of the west façade. Phase 2 looks to the north and east.
I’m undertaking an energy retrofit of my old home on Rodney Street in central Helena, Montana. Phase 1 was an R-35 face-lift of the west façade (see “Superinsulating My Old House,” HE Jan/Feb ’09, p. 20). Phase 2 was installing 4 inches of expanded polystyrene foam under the 15-year-old steel siding on the north and east walls. This meant removing the siding, storing it, installing the foam, and reinstalling the siding. The north wall is 26 feet high. It abuts on the sidewalk between my house and my neighbor’s house. The sidewalk is only 4 feet wide. The close proximity of the houses was a logistical problem that made installing the foam and reinstalling the siding the easiest part of the job. Just reaching the high part of the wall was the biggest challenge in phase 2. The original brick veneer crashed down off the north, east, and south walls in the 1935 earthquake. Workmen cleaned up the brick, nailed  2 x 2  furring vertically to the plank wall sheathing, and installed wood siding over the  2 x 2s. The full 2 x 4 framed wall was blown with loose fiberglass from the inside in the 1970s. In the early 1990s, ...

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