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Community and Q&A

Interim Roof Insulation

Jamie Malcolm-Brown | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I recently bought a 200 year old timber-frame cape in Western Mass. Right now there is no insulation in the roof. I know the recommended fix is to put rigid foam on top and re-roof, but as the story seems to go the previous owner replaced the roof last year. I know. It is a shame or even a crime they didn’t address the problem then. But they were 90+ and had lived in the house for 50 years without insulation so why do it now.

Anyway, I am saving up for a more aggressive retrofit but want to find an interim solution. The ceilings are short so I can’t build down (about 6’6″ at the peak, which is only 2 ft wide). I am tearing out the plaster and lathe and will have an opportunity to put something there before I sheetrock. It is a timber-frame but the rafters are basically one side hewn logs with the bark still on. I would say I have about 4 inches of depth with the logs about 3 ft on center.

What do you suggest I insulate with? Keep in mind that I plan to insulate above with rigid foam and don’t want to create a foam sandwich. The roof is not vented. I know I can’t reach code but some insulation is better than nothing, right?

I will be building mooney walls and having dense pack cellulose installed in the side walls for 6 inches of insulation and minimizing the thermal bridging. If I could guarantee that my kids didn’t grow taller than me than I could do the same thing for the roof. Darn that modern nutrition!

Thanks for the suggestions!

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