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Insulation Question

We live in New England and have a 100 year-old 16'/28' shed/old blacksmith's shop with open peaked ceiling to 11-12 ft at peak. We use it for household storage and occasional workshop and art projects. We would like to seal it up and insulate it to keep out critters, dehumidify, and minimally heat with baseboard heating (we think) in winter. Walls are currrently open with true 2X4 studs and 2x6s in ceiling. What kind of insulation would you recommend? We are considering Icynene. Contractor says no ridge vents are needed and says it will be so tight you can heat with a candle! True? Should we worry about the building not "breathing"? Should we? If we go with a cement floor, will condensation collect there? How can you prevent that? Many thanks!

Re: Insulation Question

First off, Never trust a salesman! They can tell you anything and are only looking to get you to spend your money on their product so they can get paid. What I would suggest is do your research on the product and make your own informed decision.

Good Luck

Re: Insulation Question

As a foam contractor in MA, I am partial to foam.
Foam will probably not seal out critters. That is a separate issue to deal with. You mention a need to dehumidify. That needs to be addressed also.

Foam is great and stops air movement, a serious cause of heat loss. Icynene is an open cell foam and the building code in Massachusetts calls for a vapor retarder on the underside of the roof with open cell foam. Closed cell foam might be a better optionas it doesn't need the vapor retarder. Foam needs to be covered in habitable areas for fire safety.

I doubt you will be able to heat with a candle, but it is likely to be the insulation that gives the best results. A blower door test after he has insulated will verify the thouroughness of the contractors work and locate other leaks that might be present.

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