Insulating our new home is nearly complete. On Wednesday, a crew began blowing insulation into the space between joists that support the ceiling and attic floor above wing of the addition that houses our offices, RE rooms, choir room, crying room and restrooms --for ease of reference, the office wing.
The two most common types of blown-in insulation are cellulose, made mostly from recycled newspapers with a fire retardant, and fiberglass. For our purposes fiberglass was the only choice because it is the only way we can achieve the R-38 insulation value specified in the design.
Blowing insulation into an enclosed space is a labor intensive process. Our crew from Mincin Insulation Service consisted of two men. One was assigned to drilling holes between the joists in our new ceiling and the other was tasked with blowing in the insulation. They used Owens-Corning AtticCat expanding fiberglass. The insulation is run through a machine, seen on the left in the picture of the truck, that according to Owens-Corning, "conditions the insulation by breaking it up and fluffing it, [and] adding millions of the tiny air pockets that give the material its insulating power."
The insulation is further conditioned as it travels through the hose. As the picture shows the hose has two components - a corrugated section like a vacuum cleaner hose and a smooth section. The smooth section is pushed through the holes in the ceiling and backed out as the void fills with insulation. Once the void is full, the installer puts a plug into it. When the insulation crew is done, drywall finishers will return and patch all the holes. Once the ceiling is painted no one will ever know the holes were there.
This photo shows what the expanded AtticCat fiberglass looks like. The installers were, surprisingly, not wearing dust masks. When asked why, they reported that the blown-in fiberglass does not create dust like cellulose, and it is not itchy like the fiberglass used in batts.
Once the blown in insulation is finished, the only insulation remaining to be completed is the 2-inch rigid foam insulation, seen in the photo, which goes on the exterior of the building under the stucco.
To recap the different types of insulation in our building: the roof over the sanctuary is insulated with 4-inch thick rigid foam between the wood decking that forms the ceiling and the sheathing that is the substrate for the shingles on the pitched roof and the rolled rubber on the flat roof. All of our exterior walls are insulated with 5 1/2 inches of mineral wool. The cathedral ceiling of the RE-Choir room is insulated with R-38 fiberglass batts. The roof and suspended ceiling of the attic are insulated with R-30 fiberglass batts. And, now the ceiling of the office wing is insulated with R-38 blown-in fiberglass.
While it's not an exterior wall, the rear wall of the sanctuary is insulated with 5 1/2 inches of mineral wool for its fire retardant qualities, and the walls of the restrooms have been insulated with fiberglass batts for sound attenuation.
The commentary on insulation would not be complete without a mention of the attic space, which has been nicknamed the Taj Mah-attic. The attic is not heated or cooled, but because it houses air handling equipment and water lines, it has to be "tempered space." Tempered space requires insulation, just not as much as our occupied, heated and cooled space, called "conditioned space." To best meet the need, the walls and portions of the roof of the attic were insulated and drywalled and a drop ceiling was added with fiberglass batts on top. It has become, as you can see in the photo, a rather nice looking place, which most people will never, ever see. When the HVAC is completely installed, the blog will include a photo of the maze of ducts criss-crossing the floor and going up through the ceiling, and then we will turn off the lights.
Other essential parts of our heating and cooling system will be installed in the new-ish utility room in the basement. New-ish applies because the concrete block wall in the top of the photo is a new wall, but the parged wall on the left is a historical wall that has been patched and repaired. The old basement floor has also been replaced. When Sunnyhill was originally built, it was common for concrete basement floors to be only about 2 inches thick. The new 4-inch thick floor is more substantial. In addition, concrete pads have been added to support the furnace, pumps and other heavy equipment that will occupy this space.
On the subject of infrastructure, this circuit-breaker panel is located in a storage room across from Roy's office. It is the primary circuit-breaker box for the new addition and contains 42, 20-amp circuits. For the uninitiated, the white wires are neutral, the red and black wires carry the current and the green wires are ground wires, which are designed to prevent shocks. A similar panel for the historical section of the building will be installed in the basement in the area designated as the new RE library, but which for years served as an office for Mushroom.
The five sections of conduit seen in this photo will run under the steps and the landing of our new stair case. Joining them will be two pipes that will carry hot water from our new boiler to the radiators in the historical portion of Sunnyill and back to the boiler; our system is circulating hot water. A gas line and a water line will also run under the steps. On the other side of the purple and white wall at the top of the photo is the utility room. The new stairway will incorporate newel post caps rescued from the original Sunnyhill stairway before it was demolished.
This is one of two open coat closets -- no doors -- that will be on the east wall of the hallway in the office wing of the building.
The right side of this photo shows the wall that will hold the sculpture recognizing those who financially supported the building of our new home. On the far left, temporarily covered with Tyvek, is the window to the infant-toddler room. In between is one of two entrances to the sanctuary.
Looking out from the door to the sanctuary next to the infant-toddler room the two large openings leading to the old fellowship hall can be seen. On the far left is where the rarely used door from the rear of the fellowship hall to the steps was located. When finances permit, a television monitor that will display church announcements will be mounted on the other side of the wall in between the openings.
In other news, the New Home Construction Team met to pick carpet for the church. We will be carpeting the sanctuary, all of the offices and classrooms, the hallway and the various entry ways, the old fellowship hall and the large RE room in the basement -- so it's a lot of carpet. From an array of choices, we picked four that are available in our time frame and made a tentative decision. Since carpet will be a major design element of the new church, we are meeting with our architect on Tuesday to review our choice and make a final decision. We are using carpet tile, which will allow us to replace sections of the floor with wine and coffee stains that cannot be removed. At that same meeting, we will also select paint for the walls and the steel structure. An indication of how far along we are is that paint choice is now on the critical path. The sanctuary looks like it's just about ready for primer. The other rooms are still a few days away. We also selected the tile for the restrooms. The floor will be a 12X12 tile with the appearance of stone -- since it's impossible to describe, look for a photo as soon as one is available -- and the wall tile will be white subway tile as a nod to the original tile used when Sunnyhill was built.