The Little Things Really Add Up
After a series of brutal winters, the owners of a 90-year-old, two-story home in Elgin took advantage of a local grant program that provides money to help reconvert multi-family homes back to single-family dwellings, using the money to insulate the house.
“There was no insulation whatsoever,” Paulson explains. “In this type of job in such an old home, the people generally know that they don’t have any insulation. I familiarize them with how it’s done – both from the outside and the inside. I have a photo album that I use to walk people through the processes — it’s very descriptive.
“We insulated the house from the inside — primarily because the current owners were renovating a good part of it and didn’t want anything to detract from the improving outside appearance.”
Approximately 200 holes were drilled in the interior walls to allow the insulation to be installed. Paulson went through nearly 35 bags of insulation in the walls to get an R-13. Then foam plugs filled the holes. The owner, a former general contractor, breezed through the interior finishing and praised Paulson for the conditions he left.
The project then moved into the attic. “We blew insulation underneath the 1-by-6, tongue-and-groove floorboards in the attic,” Paulson says. “We drilled a series of holes in the floor of the attic perpendicular to the joists every 8 feet and blew in between the joists up there — 4 feet each way to fill the space. Then plastic plugs filled the holes.”
Blowing through the holes eliminates the need to pull up the floorboards, which in these older homes can be quite brittle; it also means the ceiling below is spared a pounding. Fifteen bags of insulation were used in the attic floor, providing an R-19.
How General Insulation got the job is a neat story. We asked Paulson how he got the lead. His response: “This particular job was not a referral; I suspect it might have been advertising. I’m in the Yellow Pages and in the papers.” He suspected wrong. The homeowner, Jim McKenzie, relates, “I had noticed General’s trucks and trailers in the neighborhood over the years, so I gave the company a call. Larry is very personable and our discussion (much of it centered around the photo album) was quite comprehensive and professional.” When we told Paulson about our interview with McKenzie, he laughed and said, “Well, my equipment does look nice; even my one trailer that’s six years old looks brand new. And apparently, it sells.”