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Community and Q&A

Advice regarding adding insulation to log home with added siding

Debbie Baskerville | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

Hi, we have an unusual situation and I just want to make sure I’m not about to do something stupid! We have a log home that was not well-maintained, so we ended up putting board-and-batten siding over two of the walls to try and arrest the further decay of the logs. We couldn’t afford to add insulation at the time. We ended up adding house wrap on top of the logs and then the builders put 2×4’s horizontally along the logs (although in some places they had to build out further because of unevenness) and applied the siding. Wood heat is no longer an option for us, so we are looking into adding insulation along with a new heating system. We have an estimate for blowing kwikrete into the cavity made by the insulation, so it would be logs, housewrap, kwikrete (of varying densities) and then the siding. Does this sound like a good or bad idea for any reason? Advice is much appreciated!

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  1. Debbie Baskerville | | #1

    Sorry, we are in upstate New York!

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    I have never heard of Kwikrete. A web search reveals that this is the name of a supplier of concrete materials in South Africa ( Can you provide any more information on the material you intend to use?

  3. Debbie Baskerville | | #3

    Sorry, I meant airkrete, not quikrete!

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Air Krete (two words, not one) is a crumbly insulation with a mixed reputation. I suggest you come up with a different plan.

    The best approach would be to remove the battens from your siding, and to install a thick layer (or layers) of rigid foam insulation, followed by a ventilated rainscreen gap and new siding.

  5. Debbie Baskerville | | #5

    Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, that is not an option since the siding just went up two years ago...

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    It's possible to install dense-packed cellulose in this type of void. The only problem is that the depth of the space to be filled is small -- so there isn't much room for insulation.

  7. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #7

    How thick are the logs, and how deep is the cavity between the logs & siding?

    What type of siding?

    Note: "upstate NY" covers US climate zones from 4A through 7A, depending on location. Got a ZIP code?

  8. Howard Gentler | | #8

    Debbie: I like Martin's advice using rigid foam. I don't see why you could not reuse the board and batten siding over the rigid foam and rain screen. Whether the boards were nailed or screwed they should not be that difficult to take down and reuse.

  9. Debbie Baskerville | | #9

    Thanks all. The logs are between 6 and 8 inches thick (they get smaller towards the top of the walls). The cavity between logs and siding is not very large, but also varies since the wall was uneven- from 1" at the bottom to probably up to 8" at the top in some places. Maybe an average of 3-4"....

    Zip code 14850. It's cold here!

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