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Framed Wall Insulation

Installed correctly, framed wall insulation can cut your utility bills, make your home more comfortable, and increase its value.

Preparation
The walls shall be inspected for any evidence of bulk water penetration, knob and tube wiring, or moisture or pest damage, and a list of any potential problems shall be provided to the homeowner before proceeding with the work so remediation can be fully addressed as necessary, including upgrades to the exterior cladding and flashing details as required before starting the work.
Option 1: Continuous Exterior Insulation
Existing wall cladding and trim shall be removed.
The wall sheathing shall be free of any protruding nail heads, screws, or irregularities to ensure a smooth surface for installing the air/water control membrane.
Windows and doors shall be removed as required to allow installation of flashing and air control layer transitions into openings including pan flashing at sills and flashing at the jamb and head.
All exposed cracks and penetrations at sheathing, rim areas, and top and bottom plates shall be air sealed with sealant compatible with the surface.
A weather-resistive barrier (WRB) (e.g., house wrap) shall be installed over the entire exterior wall with seams taped and edges sealed at the top and bottom. Liquid-applied WRBs will not have seams and will not require additional taping or sealing.
Flashing for windows and doors shall be integrated with the WRB to protect the wall assembly from bulk moisture.
Per the contract scope of work, existing windows and doors shall be re-installed or new windows and doors shall be installed in properly flashed openings per window manufacturer’s specifications.
Insulation shall be installed in accordance with the R-value specified for the wall assembly under the contract agreement for this work.
Furring strips shall be installed in a vertical orientation over insulation and attached to the structural sheathing and/or framing. Wall cladding and trim shall be attached to the furring strips. Where vinyl siding is being used, the furring strips shall not be required.
Option 2: Drill and Fill with Blown-In Insulation
If the wall cavity has some existing batt insulation, a 1-foot strip shall be cut out along the wall near the floor on either the interior or exterior side of the wall, and the old batt insulation shall be removed to allow proper installation of blown insulation into the wall cavities. Alternatively, an infrared camera shall be used to verify that the blown insulation has adequately filled the wall cavities around the existing batt insulation.
If the walls are balloon framed, blocking shall be installed at the top and bottom of the walls at each floor.
Blown-in cavity insulation shall be installed so it completely fills the cavity, with adequate density per the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure no settling.
If installed from the interior, any holes cut into the interior wall surface shall be patched after the insulation is installed and all cracks and penetrations in the wall surface shall be fully air sealed.
If installed from the exterior, all cracks, penetrations, and holes shall be patched and air sealed after insulation is installed.

BASC Guides

Information guide describing how to perform a thorough visual evaluation of walls, windows and doors before proceeding with renovation projects.

Guide describing blown insulation into exterior wall cavities of existing homes with minimal disruption to occupants.

Guide describing how to apply an air control layer directly over existing wall sheathing, and cover by two layers of insulating sheathing held in place by vertical furring strips.

Guide describing how to insulate the walls of an existing home with spray foam insulation.

Guide describing how to install spray foam on the exterior of the existing home after framing over the existing siding.

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert (HIE) is a valuable tool for organizations committed to quality installed work. The following tips help optimize the value of this tool when selling home improvements:

  • Be the Expert: Take advantage of Building America Solution Center comprehensive guidance on ‘Existing Home’ retrofits.
  • Earn Trust: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) world-class expert guidance and recommend homeowners visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.
  • Clarity with Contrast: Tell prospective homeowner clients to compare your expert recommended best practices with other contractors.
  • Ensure Equivalent Pricing: Tell prospective homeowner clients to insist other bids also include DOE checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.
  • Translate Value: Note your company uses DOE HIE Checklists based on world-class expert recommendations for home improvements on all your public-facing communication including websites, advertising, and signage.
  • Create Emotional Experiences: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images for good and bad insulation and air sealing; pre- and post-energy bills following quality installed work; short and long warranties for standard and high-efficiency equipment; and charts showing amounts of contaminants in homes that can be reduced with effective fresh air systems.

Framed Wall Insulation Background

Framed Wall Insulation

Older homes without effective wall insulation allow excessive heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Insulating walls is a highly effective way to improve your home’s performance. It can reduce your heating and cooling bills, improve comfort with less drafts, and help your home meet increasing performance expectations. If you are undertaking a remodel or renovation project where drywall or exterior siding is removed, conventional insulating techniques can be used. Otherwise, there are two strategies for installing wall insulation. One is to remove the existing wall cladding and install continuous rigid foam insulation under the new cladding. The other option is to use "drill and fill" in which holes are drilled in either the exterior siding or the interior drywall, insulation is installed through the holes, then the holes are patched and finished.