Insulation in the big, little house

This is a home upgrade post and not related to tiny houses but to give a heads up on how cheap and easy it is to have insulation blown in.  Who knew?

In my little house in Hamilton my second floor studio is always hot in the summer.  Really hot.  I had always assumed that this was because there is a wall of South East facing windows and despite my having blinds up, a lot of heat enters this way.

Very late last summer I salvaged a nice old maple door from a reno around the corner from me and I decided to repurpose the curtains from the closet door in order to block some of the light and heat that was still getting in.  While perched on the step ladder I put my hand on the ceiling and it was SO HOT that it could almost burn…

I moved the ladder around the entire second floor and felt the ceiling and this little area about 2×2 feet was the only area that seemed to be hot like that… so I put it to the back of my mind.

Then we had a cold snap last week and my studio was the coldest room in the house.  I did some on line research and decided that getting it blown in was the least invasive method.  I also learned that sometimes companies have put in dangerous insulations into homes and thus I wanted to go with a company that would use either fibreglass or mineral wool insulation.  Then I called around about getting an insulation expert in to have a look at it and throw in some insulation.

When I did this, I found that most companies charge $0.75/square foot to bring the insulation up from R15 to R 60 which was REALLY surprising.  So what I thought would probably be a job that would cost us about 2K it would fall under $500 for our 450 square foot roof including GST; however, I also found that many companies have a minimum charge of $500 for coming.  I settled on a company that uses fibreglass and also that did NOT have a minimum charge.  I don’t mind paying for work to be done, really I don’t… but I don’t like the idea of paying for something I am not getting.

The owner of the small company came promptly at 10:00 am just as he said he would.  His staff of one, who happens to be  his mom worked quiet, clean and well together.   The job took a full hour less than he said it would.  They were only two hours in and out and in that time he built up the attic entry, baffled the roof and reported that the insulation was not properly installed just in one location… the hot spot on my studio ceiling.  He fixed that, and also explained that for a 1970’s house we had a reasonable amount of insulation: R30.  They blew in the insulation, showed us up into the attic (note this is not easy to see for short portly people like me), then he closed up the ceiling door and left for another job in Cambridge.  Now my R30 attic is about R65 or R70 and the area over my studio is now in good shape too.

Not just the price, the minimal disruption, or the speed of the job was surprising.  What was really surprising is that there was really no mess either.  I had envisioned a layer of fibreglass fluff covering every place they went through, but there were only VERY few tiny little fluff balls.  I mean very little, less than 1/8th of a cup in little fluff balls (that I think came off of Louis when he exited the roof entry).  We did a quick vacuum through incase there was stuff we could not see, in order to protect little dog paws from fibreglass.  That was the end of it.

Due to the fact that I have already done the looking around and I am very happy with the job he did, I am going to pass on his details.  The little company is Boland Home Insulation 519 803 4620.   Any of you who live within an hour or so from Guelph Ontario who who think you could benefit from a little insulation of your own feel free to tell him that Laura sent you.  He won’t know about my blog, so for him I will simply be the artist, customer who has a lot of little dogs.

Now… unlike any other time, I am really looking forward to a cold snap so we can see if there is a big difference in the temperature of the house.  For me, I already think it feels more even, but I am not sure… really… if this is my hopeful tendency creeping in… or reality.

Here is my small house, earlier in the fall.

Just under 450 square feet per floor this little house is now going to be a lot warmer, in winter and cool in summer.  The big window upstairs is my studio.  :-D   Note: The apple trees are new this year and replace two ornamental plums that came with the house.  Sadly they had plum tree cancer.  I tried to save them but they were far too far gone when we got the house.  We got about a half bushel of apples from the two trees this year.  A very big and nice surprise!  <3

Just under 450 square feet per floor this little house is now going to be a lot warmer, in winter and cool in summer. The big window upstairs is my studio. 😀
Note: The apple trees are new this year and replace two ornamental plums that came with the house. Sadly they had plum tree cancer. I tried to save them but they were far too far gone when we got the house. We got about a half bushel of apples from the two trees this year. A very big and nice surprise! ❤

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Categories: Insulation, Renovation, Upgrade | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Insulation in the big, little house

  1. Ryan

    I love your tiny house movement but I’m wondering how others like myself can get started in this. Do you have posts on that or are you mostly documenting your life in the tiny house ?

    • Hi Ryan, start from the beginning of my blog and read backward. That will tell you how I started.
      The key bits are to find out how to live in one in your area, as they are not legal in a lot of places. And to know if you can give up STUFF in order to live a life that won’t take much money and is very sustainable.
      Good luck on your research. If you have more specific questions, I am happy to answer them but will not be able to for about a week from today.
      Kind regards,
      Laura
      PS: my blog has a search mechanism, so you can type things like COST into the box and you will get specific answers back. 😀

      • Jenn

        I’m in Kingston area and would love a tiny house of my own but I have zero skill or knowledge on building one. Are there builders in the area you know of? did you build it on your own

      • If you go back to the beginning stages of the blog with the scroll bar on the left you can find out how I built THO.
        Good luck,
        L

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