May 3 & 8, 2015
Over the past week, I have been continuing to work on insulation in my tiny house. I worked on my own last Sunday (May 3) and Andrew came down to help me last Friday (May 8).
I now have insulation installed in about 85% of the house. I’m still pretty happy with the Roxul insulation and find it relatively easy to install. It was actually ridiculously easy to install into the walls of the house. I think I could even call it fun. It was almost like doing a puzzle. You measure the space you’re trying to fill, cut a piece of Roxul slightly larger than that space (about ¾ inch bigger in each direction) and then stuff it into place. I was able to fill most of the walls of the house in only about 6 hours last Sunday. The only parts I have not done on the parts where I haven’t quite finished electrical and plumbing work. However, it won’t take me long to add the rest of the insulation once I get those areas finished.
In the process of putting insulation into the walls, I also put as much of my remaining polystyrene insulation in the walls as possible. This is polystyrene left over from insulating my floor and I hated the idea of the large pieces I had left going to the landfill. So, I took that as there were large enough to use and stuffed them into the wall together with the Roxul. I also used some expanding foam to fill any spaces between the polystyrene and the two by fours. I did this until I had used up the pieces that were really worth using and then bit the bullet and reluctantly threw the rest of the little pieces into trash.
The only thing about putting the insulation into the walls that was even remotely difficult was going around electrical boxes and electrical wires. However, even this was relatively simple. For the electrical boxes, you simply cut a hole the size of the box. For the electrical wires, you slice the insulation down the middle a little bit, creating a pocket for the wires to live in. Neither of those things was very difficult.
What was surprisingly difficult was installing the insulation into the ceiling. Andrew came down to help me with that last Friday, which was great because I really needed a second set of hands. Installing the insulation into the ceiling is unlike installing it in the walls because when you install it into the walls, it tends to stay in place. When you try to install it in the ceiling, it tends to fall out. In order to keep it in the ceiling, we stapled some polypropylene sheeting across it, just as Sheila and I did a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately the insulation seems a lot more difficult this week and I’m not sure why. Of course, it’s always difficult to do work near the ceiling because you have to have your arms above your head. It might have been a little bit more difficult because the tiny house seemed a little bit warm on Friday, especially up near the roof. In addition, I was probably still a little bit tired from a difficult week at work. In any case, I found myself rapidly running out of patience several times on Friday. I probably should have quit or taken the day off entirely. However, I was determined to finish the project. By the time we finally did finish it off, I was pretty happy but also pretty worn out.
One thing Andrew and I did with the ceiling insulation that was a little bit different than what Sheila and I did a couple of weeks ago was to make the insulation a little bit less thick. Specifically, we decided to cut the insulation down to only be about 2 2/3 inches thick instead of 3 ½ inches thick. We did this to make a room for the rafter baffles which took were about 1 inch thick. Sheila and I had not trimmed down the insulation a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that the insulation she and I installed was really sagging out past the edges of the rafters. I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to compress it enough to install the interior siding and that even if we did, it might affect the R value. As a result, I made the decision on Friday to pull down all of the insulation that Sheila and I had already installed and start over.
Trimming the insulation down to only 2 2/3 inches definitely made the process more complicated and difficult. First, Andrew and I had to slice the insulation all the way through the long way, cutting it into two pieces that were 2 2/3 inches thick and 1 1/3 inch thick. The 2 2/3 inch thick pieces could then be installed as they were. However, the 1 1/3 inch pieces had to be doubled up before being installed. Unfortunately cutting the insulation down like this removed some of the structural integrity of the insulation, making it much more likely to fall apart while we were trying to install it. Having the insulation try to both fall out and fall apart on us all the time is probably what made everything so frustrating on Friday. Other than that, the process was about the same as before: cut the insulation to size, stuff it into the space between the rafters, use four hands to hold it in place and staple 6 mm polypropylene plastic sheeting across it before it falls back out.
Problems we ran into:
The biggest problem I ran into more than once was cutting the plastic sheeting the wrong size. I don’t know what my problem was, but twice we got halfway through installing a sheet of plastic on one side of the ceiling before realizing it wouldn’t reach all the way to the ridge beam. That meant cutting another piece of plastic to patch the hole.
Favorite parts of the day:
- Having Sheila come outside and offer to cook Andrew and I lunch. Lunch was grilled cheese sandwiches which were delicious.
- Having Sheila come outside and offer to cook Andrew and I dinner. Dinner was burritos with homemade carnitas pork and all the fixings. I really love having food cooked for me, especially when I have had a very difficult, tiring day . Sheila and I have never assigned each other’s chores or responsibilities around the house. We just kind of share everything equally. As a result, I never expect her to cook for me (or clean or do laundry or anything else for that matter). But she frequently does all of those things for me anyway and when she does, it is always a little bit unexpected and I’m always a little bit extra thankful.
I was so intent on getting finished with the ceiling insulation on Friday that I neglected to take any pictures along the way. However, here is a shot I took today of the fully insulated ceiling.