Thursday, January 15, 2009

Think happy thoughts...

Boiler chimney (detail)

Last night, I went up in the attic in preparation for the beginning of the insulation installation, which is another story altogether. Due to the rather steep pitch of the roof on my house, the "attic" comprises a large area above the third floor, as well as some small crawlspaces around the edges of the third floor rooms. My intent had been to determine the amount of free space between the joists, but I then became distracted by the structure and the little random things I found up there.

Boiler chimney (detail)

The most significant thing I saw was evidence of significant water damage around both of the chimneys. Fortunately, the leaks appear to have been in the past, as there is plenty of snow on the roof right now, the attic is warmer than it should be, and the areas that are water-stained are dry to the touch. These still present a councern, I assume, but they are not as bad as if the areas were still leaking water.

Evidence of water damage by fireplace chimney

The water damage by the other chimney appeared to be more significant.

Evidence of water damage by fireplace chimney

Yes, that is flashing that can be seen through the missing sheathing.

Northwest corner

Three of the four ridges also showed some very light evidence of water staining.

Additionally, there are some issues in back where the roof has a bit less of a pitch.

Insulating all these spaces is going to be a real challenge. There are so many areas that will be somewhere between difficult and impossible to get to. One might consider blowing in insulation, but the spaces in question are so large that a huge quantity of insulation would be required.

At present, we have no insulation at all, which I had planned to address next summer. However, it's been so cold that I really wanted to do something now. I purchased ten sheets of Owens Corning Foamular 150 because sheet insulation seemed the perfect product for sliding into the spaces that would be impossible to roll fiberglass into. It has an R-value of 5 per inch of thickness, which helped cement my decision over blow-in products.

I chose this product over the one offered by Dow (which has an R-value of 5.5 per inch) because it came pre-scored to fit between the studs. Unfortunately, those are new-construction studs. Doh!


Shane and Casey said...

Ugh, water around the chimney. How are you planning on fixing that? I get to do the same thing this spring when the snow thaws as ours still leaks...

Good luck with the insulation, hopefully the sheets will work out well.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

I'm going to get some quotes on the work this spring. There's no way I'm going out on that roof. I'm getting it repaired, of course, using someone who will match the slate with comparable slate. I'd figured that we'd probably need a significant amount of work on the house when we bought it - deferred maintenance and all.

The garage roof is in a bit worse shape, and I'll probably tackle that myself. It doesn't matter so much if that leaks, and the distance to the ground there isn't nearly so great.