With our first frost last night, and our first sub-30 degree night predicted for Thursday, it only makes sense that this week was all about insulation. For weeks we’ve been readying the house for the installation of dense-pack cellulose, first by completing the exterior siding, then wiring for solar electricity, then installing the woodstove, and finally, stapling and gluing the Insulweb mesh that holds the dense-pack cellulose in place.
Cellulose insulation is a “green” product made of post-consumer newspaper that has been treated with borax for fire-, insect-, and mold-resistance. It has been tested to have superb insulating value, and to prevent air leakage. We decided to insulate our floors with rigid foam insulation, about half of which was reclaimed (and free), and half was purchased new. We used cellulose for the walls and ceiling.
A few friends joined us in the fun: Beth, Mike, Julia, Stephen, Mary Beth, Brady, and of course Brian hopping along on his crutches. I worked frantically in the garden to harvest our remaining vegetables, made a yummy hot meal for our volunteer crew, and captured some of the chaos…
Bales of cellulose, ready to be poured into the blower.
The machine churns the material and blows it out the tube, almost like a reverse shop-vac.
Beth and Julia work the OSHA approved respiratory gear.
It looked like snow!
Our beloved Jotul stove, which made its way across country with us. You can see the wall cavities in the background, with slits in the Insulweb. The blower gets inserted into those slits, cellulose fills the cavity, and then you move onto the next slit. This process gets repeated a few times until the walls are densely packed with the cellulose.
Now we are in another period of transition, where we just finished a major push, and the question is, “what’s next?” Do we focus on finishing the walls so we don’t accidentally push out clouds of cellulose? Or do we work on the ceiling? Do we install our hardwood floor, or just live with the subfloor for the winter? There is so much to do in a short amount of time, and it can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s good to pause and reflect upon how much we have accomplished, and know that we will be cozy and warm inside this super-insulated house.