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Whitetail Sprin...
Insulating a 110 year old farm house

We have a 110 year old farm house that I grew up in and we have gutted. The exterior walls are all masonry (exterior brick and interior hollow speed tile with plaster directly applied to the inside face). The old knob and tube wiring is being removed and new wiring will be installed, but the exterior walls must be furred out first to allow for the wiring and also to accommodate the insulation. We are using closed cell spray foam insulation and my question is what is the best means to furr out the walls? I would like to leave a 1/2 gap between the furring and the existing exterior walls to allow the spray foam to get behind the furring to create a complete air / vapor barrio as well as a thermal break. I naturally thought of conventional wood framing first, then thought of metal studs, but was concerned about the thermal conductivity of metal. I also have explored the idea of recycled plastic studs that can be fastened directly to the existing walls and have no thermal conductivity. Has anyone tackled this issue and if so what was your solution, and how has it performed?

Also, I am looking for advice on spray foaming the attic. Is it common practice to foam directly to the underside of the roof and eliminate the air flow? Will this create a conditioned attic space, and if so what other steps must I take in the attic?

I appreciate the advice and help.

Thank You,

Whitetail Springs Farm

Re: Insulating a 110 year old farm house

Hi, I would not go overboard with the insulation because you will create a new set of problems. The attic is where you loose the heat so I would fix that first. I would reframe the roof and attic to include an attic platform. This platform is where the insolation needs to be and can be 1 foot deep or more and the full depth over the walls with the roof attached on top of the platform and not to the top of the walls. After the framing is done the attic can be sealed and the vent can be moved to under the roofing. You can add a grid of strapping to make the vent system and install the roofing over this grid. Thanks

Re: Insulating a 110 year old farm house

Are you removing the hollow speed tile? I would assume not but you never know. Can you pull new wiring through the walls by tying the new wire to the end of the old wiring and just pull the old out and the new in place in one move? If you can pull the new wire in place this way, then why furr out the wall and add more insulation.

If your speed tile has the hollow cores running horizontal, they trap air in them and the insulation isn't all that bad. You might consider using Insofast foam boards to insulate the walls and provide a space for wiring instead of furring and spray foam.

For the roof, I would recommend insulating only the joists and keeping the attic vented properly, unless you are going to convert the attic to living space. I would also recommend using a batt insulation instead of foam.

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