January 4, 2010

Air Sealing The Attic - Post Three, in which we share our Attic Spelunking Adventure

So.  When someone you love is on his belly in the 18-inch high attic crawl space?  And there is a hole in the chimney that empties into the crawl space? Perhaps it is best not to turn on the forced-air furnace? Because maybe the person you love in the attic will - at the same time you send carbon monoxide laden fumes into said contained space - drop his flashlight and start to feel a little...claustrophobic. OR.  Perhaps the person in the attic should let someone know he's in the attic in the first place. BECAUSE HELLO I LOVE YOU. 

No apparent brain damage. Just a few tears shed (by me) at the thought of what could have happened.

Here are some illustrated photos of our row house attic.  In sum, it's in pretty good shape, but some air sealing is definitely in order.


  1. I just found your blog via Julie/Live In Hartford. I owned a 1921 Craftsman colonial in Litchfield County CT for 9 years and lived through similar renovations (never finished, sadly, but that's another story for another day). I love your house! Your front door especially, and your hardware and that tub! I don't miss how tough it can be and everything costs more and takes forever but there is a certain satisfaction and thrill in making an old house like that beautiful and new again. Best of luck and I look forward to following along (and living vicariously).

  2. Hi Maggie
    I love how detailed you are being about your Philly Cottage project.
    The 1" gap between your exterior wall and plaster over lathe is a potential space for blown in. Its only an inch but if you are blowing the attic then it makes sense to get some in the walls. The HD rental machine actually comes with a 1 inch adapter to do this. A contractor could easily do this but it would add 4 hrs to the job.
    The gap around the chimney is known as a chase. It could be used to run wiring to the attic for a fan or for additional lighting, etc. A can of spray foam at the top and/or bottom would greatly reduce air flow here. If you used sprayable fire block you would be keeping the fire chief happy too.

  3. Oh man, I love this stuff. Just love it. My last home in Ohio before I moved to AZ was an 1813 Federal. The house pre-dated the State being formed. It was an amazing place and I miss it all the time!

  4. Hi there. I saw your blog on SITS and decided to stop by to say, "hello". Wishing you all the best in 2010.

    Kindest regards,

  5. I read this post with interest, because I seem to have the same problem in my ca. 1920s northern Berkshires (hi neighbor!) cottage. In fact, we were told by our contractor that because the space between the brick and plaster is so small, it wouldn't, in the long run, be cost-effective to insulate the walls with blow-in (contrary to what a commenter says above). So we're doing the attic.

    I look forward to reading along while you work your way through the renovations list!

  6. nice post. thanks.


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