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staphory

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I need some advice.
I recently acquired and older home. Built sometime in the 20s or 30s.
It has a good roof, the electrical was updated in the early 70s and there is some insulation in the attic. None in the walls.
Now, I am going to remodel the bathroom, it's old and needs new everything.
I would like to put spray foam in the walls and replace the old storm windows.
The problem is that they built these old houses differently back then. They have a horizontal beam between the studs that divides the wall into an upper and lower section. Can spray foam still be done?
Would there be any economical advantage to updating the windows to something more energy efficient?
Also, the house has gas space heaters and my insurance company really doesn't like those. I want to remove that and go with a Mitsubishi Mr Slim heating and cooling system and install a solar barrier in the attic.
Thoughts?
 

dgrant

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I too have an old home with 10' ceilings. Heating was near impossible until we had the windows replaced. It cut my energy bill in HALF. No exaggeration. We ran central heat with space heaters in every room and still walked around in coats. We had single pane aluminum, and switched to double paned vinyl.

If you still have the original windows, however, I think the old wavy glass looks great with orginal wooden frames. I would put storm windows on top of them to retain the original look which is impossible to duplicate, and receive similar benefit as double pane.


Spray foam costs a fortune. Looked into it and researched. Glad I spent the money getting the aluminum windows ripped out instead. Made the inside and outside of the house look better too. In the course of your remodeling use standard batting insulation in the walls. Just remember the saying "fluff don't stuff", and it will work just as good as the spray foam.

Where spray foam applications really shine are on hanging surfaces such as roof, and under floors if your home is pier and beam. That is where I would apply spray foam. Good luck!
 
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staphory

staphory

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I too have an old home with 10' ceilings. Heating was near impossible until we had the windows replaced. It cut my energy bill in HALF. No exaggeration. We ran central heat with space heaters in every room and still walked around in coats. We had single pane aluminum, and switched to double paned vinyl.

If you still have the original windows, however, I think the old wavy glass looks great with orginal wooden frames. I would put storm windows on top of them to retain the original look which is impossible to duplicate, and receive similar benefit as double pane.


Spray foam costs a fortune. Looked into it and researched. Glad I spent the money getting the aluminum windows ripped out instead. Made the inside and outside of the house look better too. In the course of your remodeling use standard batting insulation in the walls. Just remember the saying "fluff don't stuff", and it will work just as good as the spray foam.

Where spray foam applications really shine are on hanging surfaces such as roof, and under floors if your home is pier and beam. That is where I would apply spray foam. Good luck!
Thanks for the reply.
One of the problems I have is then walls on the inside look good. but the former owner had sheetrock installed over the old tongue and groove walls and the outer walls are asbestos shingle.
 

dgrant

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Asbestos Shingle! Yikes! Many people are encapsulating asbestos instead of removing it like we saw in the 80's-90's. I've dealt with a lot of it in floors. They realized the removal was making everything go airborne. You've got me stumped with that one. Maybe vinyl ciding could help there? I know it would also increase your r value somewhat and might alleviate the asbestos problem at the same time. I'm just a DIY guy that loves old homes. Perhaps one of the contractors on the board could chime in.
 

dtc

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The order in which a house loses energy is roof, floor, walls/windows.

Start with the roof and get as much as you need. Then, do the floors. If your walls aren't in need of tearing out and your windows are ok, it's probably not worth the money to replace them. If your windows don't work, are ugly, leak around the frames or are just terrible, single-pane aluminum, then replacing the windows is next.

Careful with window replacement companies and the lies they tell about efficiency. A pane of glass can only be so efficient. 2 panes and dead space is better and vinyl is a better insulator than aluminum. 3 panes and gas and dead space and even coatings can't make a window as efficient as an uninsulated wall. Also, if the problem with your "windows" is that air leaks around the outsides of the frames, you should be able to fix that without replacing them if they're old, good looking wood windows it's a good idea. Storm windows are awesome too.

Spray foam is overrated as far as insulation goes. It's a vapor retarding insulation so if you're only doing pieces of the house, you're over paying for R value as opposed to batts/blown in bulk insulation.

If you're doing a bathroom at a time or a bedroom, just use the batt. Don't waste your money on foam for only a part of the walls. That said, if your house is off grade, old and leaks like a sieve through the floor like mine and most, then I would definitely consider 3" of spray foam on the underside of the floor decking. Of course, make sure all electrical, ducts, framing repairs or whatever are done before or you'll be cutting it out to fix anything. In some cases, it's a good idea to put down a heavy vapor barrier on the ground in an off grade house and then top it with gravel then spray foam only the foundation walls from the inside of the crawl space. Less foam square footage is less money and the natural leaking of the house will condition the space maintaining a dry and climate controlled space.

I love the space heaters in my old bathrooms and had to argue with the carrier to keep them. They're on 10 minutes each 4 or 5 times per year. Don't see the issue, but still, your best bet for efficiency is high seer hvac units or geothermal and insulation in the most efficient order.

Call the local utility and see if they'll come do a free energy audit and call your cpa who should be able to direct you to tax savings on the retrofits.
 

dtc

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Thanks for the reply.
One of the problems I have is then walls on the inside look good. but the former owner had sheetrock installed over the old tongue and groove walls and the outer walls are asbestos shingle.
Most asbestos shingles aren't much of a hazzard unless they crumble when removed. Leaving and siding over is one option or you have to wet the siding during removal, bag the debris and dispose into a lined dumpster and into an approved dump. Subs in most areas must be licensed and certainly wearing respirators and tyvek so as not to import the dust or breathe it.

PM if you need direction with asbestos and I'll point you in the right direction.
 

LSSpam

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Asbestos abatements are ridiculous and not something you want to mess with. If possible, as recommended, side over it, don't try to remove it. Some locales won't even let you nail into asbestos, though to be honest most contractors may not even know (or care) about that. It's the disposal/abatement they shy away from (unless insurance is involved in which case it always asbestos it always must all go :hihi:)

There used to be a tax credit for upgrading your windows, not sure if its still in place.

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency : ENERGY STAR

Yep, looks like it.
 
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staphory

staphory

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Thanks for the advice guys! :9:
 

BHM

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If you are doing remodeling, then it is not that hard to install new windows especially if you do not have a brick exterior. Don't be scared man, it is only work. Anything you screw up can be fixed and you walk away with experience. Other than that, DTC is your man.
 
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staphory

staphory

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If you are doing remodeling, then it is not that hard to install new windows especially if you do not have a brick exterior. Don't be scared man, it is only work. Anything you screw up can be fixed and you walk away with experience. Other than that, DTC is your man.
Well, I am not afraid to try replacing a window, I am wondering if I ought to. Cost vs benefit is what I am worried about. :scratch:
 

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Well, I am not afraid to try replacing a window, I am wondering if I ought to. Cost vs benefit is what I am worried about. :scratch:

Yes, you ought to especially if they are very old single pane windows. I think DTC mentioned already, just don't go crazy with million dollar windows. You will never save enough to pay the cost of the windows. Just get some decent double paned windows.
 
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staphory

staphory

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Thanks!
 

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