1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

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crockpotinvesting
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1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by crockpotinvesting » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:26 am

As always, I got directly to the boggleheads :).

I’m redoing my dining room and 2/3 walls are exterior walls. The home was built in the 1950s and my contractor thinks we should rip the drywall out and reinsulate when we are doing the project for efficiency purposes. I wanted to get your thoughts? Btw- house is in the northeast, heated by oil/central air. Cost would be about $1,000. Do you think it would payoff in the long run?

Other option is to just skimcoat and repair the current walls.

Soon2BXProgrammer
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:38 am

i would probably be doing the work myself, but i would do it.

also, because i would be wanting to install many extra plugins on new circuits. Can never have enough plugins.

also, i might run other stuff in the walls when they are open.

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cheese_breath
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:57 am

Just make sure it's drywall, and not plaster. You're probably right on the cusp when drywall began replacing plaster. Personally, if it's drywall I'd do it. I don't know if the insulation would save $1,000, or how long it would take. You're only talking one room, but you don't want to be eating Thanksgiving dinner with icicles running off your nose. And considering the other stuff you want makes it worthwhile IMO. Better to spend a little extra now than to wish you had later.
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TLC1957
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by TLC1957 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:16 pm

No way I would put that $1000 towards insulation for 2 walls in your home, the payback on a R13 wall in heat saving will be many many years. I would look at the the attic insulation if it has enough insulation for the area you live in. If OK then consider wall insulation via the entire exterior of the home depending on the exterior wall construction. Now if the wall is in poor condition then perhaps go the replacement route, removing plaster wall is a big job very dusty. Make sure if they do it they put up plastic curtains and duct tape real well that plaster dust gets into everything. Drywall if that is what you have is very easy to patch.

Dottie57
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:25 pm

One of the best investments my parents made (for heating and cooling) was replacing the windows in their 1956 home. It made significant difference in comfort during all seasons.

I would do the insulation.

Point
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Point » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:46 pm

I would do myself. And I’d have an electrician advise on wiring that I would do but have him validate.

Check for asbestos first.

Mr.BB
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:00 pm

I would always get a second or third contractor's bid and opinion for the job.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

RudyS
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by RudyS » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:04 pm

I would bet that there is a calculator out there (maybe power company can provide a lead) that permits calculation of the savings of one type of wall insulation over another if you have the square footage of the wall in question.

update: this looks like what you want:
http://www.cellulose.org/HomeOwners/Cal ... avings.php

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ClevrChico
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:15 pm

I had my 1950's home insulated from the outside. A piece of siding was removed, holes made in the sheathing, insulation blown in, and siding replaced. It was almost free with energy company rebates. Far less mess and risk than dealing with old drywall.

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CAsage
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by CAsage » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:37 pm

Ripping out the old drywall and insulating is buckets of fun - I did it myself in two perfectly fine bedrooms because the prior owners replaced old 1946 windows … and rather than match the old lath/plaster they double drywalled the whole room. The doors no longer lined up (oddly recessed) … so I ripped it all back to studs, insulated, added a couple more outlets, and new drywall - clean, level.

If you have to do a lot of repair work to the existing walls for some reason, then it's probably just as easy to put in big new pieces of drywall from the contractors POV. I'd do it, but I'm odd that way.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

bluelight
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by bluelight » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:48 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:15 pm
I had my 1950's home insulated from the outside. A piece of siding was removed, holes made in the sheathing, insulation blown in, and siding replaced. It was almost free with energy company rebates. Far less mess and risk than dealing with old drywall.
The previous owners of my house did this. Compared to previous houses that I've lived in that had comparable attic insulation and double pane windows, our house stays a consistently comfortable temp.

LawEgr1
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by LawEgr1 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:39 am

TLC1957 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:16 pm
No way I would put that $1000 towards insulation for 2 walls in your home, the payback on a R13 wall in heat saving will be many many years. I would look at the the attic insulation if it has enough insulation for the area you live in. If OK then consider wall insulation via the entire exterior of the home depending on the exterior wall construction. Now if the wall is in poor condition then perhaps go the replacement route, removing plaster wall is a big job very dusty. Make sure if they do it they put up plastic curtains and duct tape real well that plaster dust gets into everything. Drywall if that is what you have is very easy to patch.
+1

Few things to keep in mind -

1) This is ripe for an opportunity for the GC to make more money off you. This may require inspection, and depending on your jurisdiction they may find some electrical unsuitable as well. Before you know if you are out $2.5k.

GCs aren't some unicorn, they try to make a buck when they can and can smell blood a mile away.


2) Your $ is best spent elsewhere (i.e. attic, windows) than the 2 or 3 walls that already have insulation. If they don't have insulation, and I misunderstood, then yes - do it.

and the big one -

No where in here did I hear you state "this room is freezing cold in the dead of winter". I refer you to #1 and the quoted post.

forgeblast
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by forgeblast » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 am

For me yes I would do it. But be aware once you open the walls you will have to fix what you may find. In our case we were lucky we found a bare wire that a mouse had chewed on.
There are ways to insulate too, you could do a small thin coat of spray foam and then put in a higher r value. The spray foam (closed cell) will seal any air leaks.
One thing people told us to do was to take pictures of the walls once they are opened so that you know whats behind there if you ever have an issue.
Ask if you can do the demo and it might save you some money.

Yooper16
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Yooper16 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:03 am

Are the walls cracked or just pock marked and uneven from many holes filled over the years?

If just pock marked from years of filling holes etc, a skim coat would be fine. But is cracking you may be dealing with a settling/shifting issue or you may have plaster that has pulled away from the cement which may be on lathe or in the time frame of your house a wire mesh. If it is a plaster the cracking will continue through the skim coat as the adhesion to the substrate is gone.

If it is the later and you replace with dry wall you might as well insulate. Insulation is relatively inexpensive and you can purchase R-15 for 2X4 wall cavities for not much more than R-13. A good couple of videos and patience you can do a decent job of insulating. The electrician who is rewiring our old Victorian has commented that we do some of the best insulation work he has seen.

As a off shoot for the future, one way to reduce the shadowing that comes from filling holes etc on walls, is to use a lower sheen level on your paint. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Wilson, Pratt and Lambert make a matte finish that is scrubable yet does not telegraph fill areas are much as satin or eggshell.

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lthenderson
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by lthenderson » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:14 am

crockpotinvesting wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:26 am
I’m redoing my dining room and 2/3 walls are exterior walls. The home was built in the 1950s and my contractor thinks we should rip the drywall out and reinsulate when we are doing the project for efficiency purposes. I wanted to get your thoughts? Btw- house is in the northeast, heated by oil/central air. Cost would be about $1,000. Do you think it would payoff in the long run?
I think before you can answer this question with any reasonable certainty, one needs to know the condition and type of insulation behind the drywall. If it is batt insulation, unless there has been water damage, there is little to be gained by replacing it. If it is blown in loose cellulose that has settled significantly in the wall cavities, there would definitely be some comfort and efficiency gains by replacing it. Whether or not you could pay off the cost of $1000 to do it is hard to say without being there and seeing how cold/hot the room is during extreme months. Like others mentioned, if you have other things to do behind the wall like upgrade electrical, plumbing, etc. that might be the kicker to do the project anyway.

If you know that blown in insulation was used (from experience on other parts of the house), I would cut a small hole up near the ceiling somewhere to gauge the depth of the insulation and then make a decision from there before committing to it sight unseen.

AnonJohn
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by AnonJohn » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:22 am

FYI - It's cheap these days to buy a borescope. $15 on amazon, plugs in to your phone. Has LED lights + a camera; great for looking into wall cavities. I've beat the crap out of mine pulling wires and pipes and inspecting things. Well worth it!

Also: +1 on plaster deconstruction creating an absurd amount of dust ...

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jharkin
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by jharkin » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:14 pm

TLC1957 wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:16 pm
No way I would put that $1000 towards insulation for 2 walls in your home, the payback on a R13 wall in heat saving will be many many years. I would look at the the attic insulation if it has enough insulation for the area you live in. If OK then consider wall insulation via the entire exterior of the home depending on the exterior wall construction. Now if the wall is in poor condition then perhaps go the replacement route, removing plaster wall is a big job very dusty. Make sure if they do it they put up plastic curtains and duct tape real well that plaster dust gets into everything. Drywall if that is what you have is very easy to patch.
+1. Paying a grand to insulate a single room won’t pay off for decades...

I had my whole house upgraded with blown in cellulose insulation. they just take of a couple of clapboards and drill holes in the wall from the outside. Along with blowing into the attic. Cost only a few hundred with utility subsidies to do the entire house, required no demo and saves hundreds per year on the gas bill.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:49 pm

In terms of payback figuring payback - I'd suggest using the following to plug in some numbers that fit your situation.

Assuming cost of $250 per month to heat/cool the house. Assume typical 10 room house, assign maybe $25 per month to dining room. Assume adding insulation to the specific walls in question reduces HVAC cost down from $25 to $15 for that room. So apprx payback is $10/month or $120 per year for investment of $1000. This will also likely add zero value to your house. There are better ways to invest $1000 and still have $1000.

Unless the room is uncomfortable and you know there is no insulation, and/or you already have very high HVAC bills, I'd skip it.

If you decide to insulate - I'd first make some small holes at the top of walls and inspect using one of those inexpensive flexible video scopes. Check to see if voids are empty and if there is blocking in the walls (making two holes per void necessary). Likely you can get much the same result by blowing in loose fill from the top of the walls and then patching holes.

Ping Pong
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Ping Pong » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:00 am

Drywall mud and insulation of that era can contain asbestos. The paint can also have lead in it. You may be turning your house into a hazardous site by disturbing it. Most lead poisonings happen during and shortly after renovations. You can take samples to a local lab to have them tested.

Also, when it’s cold outside, you can measure the inside temperature of your walls with an infrared thermometer to estimate how much insulation you do have.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: 1950s home. Replace drywall and insulation or repair it

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:18 am

Contact Mass Save for a free energy audit. They'll assess where you should spend money to get the best payback. We had this done in our first home in Eastern Mass which was built in 1963 with no insulation anywhere in the house. The report prioritizes the best places for my dollar to improve heat retention. Insulating the walls was far down the list. Foam pads under the outlet covers was high on the list. Caulking a number of windows and doors was near the top. I ended up insulating the attic myself (exposed rafters from on top). I would think that you're never going to get that $1000 back in energy savings.
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