How to Plan for Continuous (Exterior) Insulation on an Existing Homes

This post first appeared on the Green Building Advisor website.

When I purchased my small 1950’s vintage Cape Cod home in 2018, I knew I had a lot of work to improve its performance and comfort.  I was planning a multi-year, self-performed (and solo), deep energy retrofit.  A case study where I could learn and share the difficulties of such an endeavor. 

One of my goals was to improve the insulation levels of both the walls and roof.  I went back and forth trying to decide if I should add a layer of continuous insulation to the exterior.  After all, I was going to remove the existing siding and replace all the windows.  In the end, I decided against it.  The gable ends of my roof have no eave (see photos below), adding exterior insulation would have required me to rebuild a portion of the recently re-shingled 12/12 pitched roof.  I now regret that decision, more on that later.

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Rockwool-Not Your 1950’s Mineral Wool Insulation

This post first appeared on the Rockwool R-Class blog.

If you’ve been in the construction industry long enough, chances are you’ve had to remove an old mineral wool insulation product during a renovation.  I know I have.  It’s itchy, easily falls apart, and it often doesn’t completely fill a cavity bay.  I’ve had many conversations with other builders who will not consider using a mineral wool product because of their past experiences with the older mineral wool insulations.  I can tell you; the old stuff is nothing like modern stone wool.

Itchy, fragile, and does not fill an entire 2×4 cavity bay. This R-7 batt of mineral wool insulation from the 1950’s is much different than the modern stone wool equivalent.

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