Carpenter's Omission

May/June 2009
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 06, 2009
My wife and I moved into our 1917 American Foursquare house 21 years ago. Before the first winter, we had a contractor blow the sidewalls full of insulation. While he was doing the job, he remarked that the walls were taking more insulation than he thought they would. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but this fall, when I was doing some other exterior work on the house, I had a chance to remove one of the 3 inch x 12 inch soffit vents and happened to glance up inside the eave box. The eave had a lot of cellulose fiber insulation scattered around, and by playing a flashlight up against the top of the exterior wall inside the eave, I could see why. The carpenters who had built our house had omitted the last exterior sheathing board at the top of the exterior walls. This left an opening at the top of the stud cavities. When the insulator blew insulation into the sidewalls, the insulation went right out the top and into the eaves, leaving a section of completely uninsulated (and wide open, unsheathed) stud cavity around the upper perimeter of the house. By sticking a point-and-shoot camera ...

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