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Community and Q&A

Stucco Balloon Frame Home Insulation

colemanleclair | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on


I am currently renovating the interior of a 1900 balloon home in the Chicago area that was stuccoed in the 1950’s and have a lot of questions about insulation. 

Next year, possibly two, I plan on removing the stucco to install a WRB and replace the original windows. The stucco is in not good shape with quite a few cracks and the windows sills and trim are deteriorating.

The exterior wall assembly is 2×4 studs, 1×6 tongue and groove boards, a heavy tar paper, wire mesh and then stucco.  The walls are currently uninsulated and plan on using dense packed cellulose. I also will be doing as much interior air sealing as possible.

Should I dense pack the walls from the inside prior to removing the stucco or wait until the stucco is removed and insulate from the outside? I worry about the risk of moisture getting trapped, especially if for some unforeseen reason the stucco cannot be removed for a longer period of time.

Or would a different insulation avoid this concern all together? 

Last question. I need to add to the depth of the studs to meet the insulation codes. Instead of adding the needed depth with just wood, I would like to use the Bonfig wall method.  Which is the best foam board for that application?

Any input is much appreciated.

Thank you

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