Designer insulation?

IMG_3791SMWe’re starting to feel like we may actually get moved in before the fall after all!  This week, our friends Adam and Christina came out and helped us finish installing the insulation on the cottage. We’re trying yet another weird product, this time Ultra Touch recycled cotton insulation. It’s been in the green building news for years, but I’ve only had one client ever actually shell out the extra dough to get it. That was, ironically, Adam and Christina when they remodeled their basement into a recording studio. We were interested in it because it’s environmentally responsible (recycled material), inert (no fiberglass to damage lungs), and highly effective (same R value, and even better acoustical performance than traditional pink stuff). The big reason, though, comes back to health- both when we install it, and when we have to one day work on the building again. That fiberglass stuff is TERRIBLE for you, and I’m convinced that it will bee seen 20 years from now the same way we see asbestos today.

insul labelSMSo, into the house it goes. Once installed, we could immediately feel a difference in how comfortable the house is. Emily noticed something funny as we were standing around admiring it: a Ralph Lauren tag sticking out of one of the batts. I guess even the fanciest blue jeans can make good building materials once shredded!

The next step is the drywall. After much considerations, we’ve decided to hire a professional drywaller, the second contractor of the project. I can do drywall, but I’m not great at it. With Dan doing the work, we’ll get much better quality, but also (and more importantly at this stage) we’ll get it done weeks sooner.

NEWWOODSMTo get ready for his arrival, I’ve been cleaning up the last of the framing details, things like adding corner blocking and the curves at the tops of the doors. We’ve still got some wood left that was taken out during demolition, so I’ve been using that where I can to save on buying new stuff.  Here we see two identical cutouts I made in the door fame, from two different pieces of wood. The one on the left is old wood, from when the place was built in the 80s. The one on the right is from today. Look at the grain difference… there are nearly twice as many rings per inch in the old wood. That’s because managed lumber trees are bred to be fast growing; you get a harvest twice as fast as a “wild” forest. However, the older stuff is much stronger! It’s also a little harder to work; it took twice as long to saw, and it really hard to get a nail into without bending it.

The building inspector is coming tomorrow to do a final check before we cover everything with drywall. Wish me luck!

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