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Community and Q&A

1880 Victorian – no insulation and new windows needed

SKPr2e4NEc | Posted in General Questions on

We live in Massachusetts. Our 1880 Victorian has no insulation in the walls/ceilings/basement. Looking to replace all the windows in the house. Looking at Marvin Infinity Series (thoughts/comments?). Confused on pro/con of different insulation options. Looks like blowing in deep pack cellulose is the most common option. Exterior of house is in descent shape (wood shingles). I have read a lot about moisture issues with deep pack. Is this really a risk since there is no vapor barrier behind my lathe and plaster? Anyone suggest a great company in Mass to do the insulation work? Thanks!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Insulation contractors have been installing dense-packed cellulose in the walls of homes like yours for 30 years. Some homeowners report that exterior paint doesn't last as long on an insulated building as it does on an uninsulated building. This makes sense, because the insulation will make the siding colder, and therefore slightly more damp.

    The change in the average moisture content of the siding has nothing to do with the presence or absence of an interior vapor barrier; it has to do with the fact that slowing down heat loss through your walls will make your siding colder during the winter.

    The advantages of living in an insulated building outweigh the small disadvantages related to paint job longevity.

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