Tag Archives: historic house interior vapor barrier

Cement board tub-surround topped with greenboard, and drywall for the rest.
Cement board over last winter’s freeze-fix under the sink. I caulked the seams rather than mud them, for sanity mostly.
Prior to drywall it is smart to level out all the old beams by planing up the beams through addition or subtraction. This lets the drywall go up flat. A less optimal option is to float plaster and take up the difference. That’s what I’m going with.
It took awhile to overcome the old header board (that I’d left in place even though I’d pulled the ceiling) which was a bit proud, and an added anchor to the floated corner at the door (unseen here). All done in 20 minute sanding plaster, and for the final skim coat I’d brought up premix media from the SLC shop drywalling. I forgot that I’d brought it, but discovered it at the last.
I added rubberized window seal between the beams and the drywall, allowing some give.
Then it was on to painting. Just the drywall seal for now. I also experimented with covering the ceiling media in layers of paint, keeping clear of the edges / wooden beams. It worked well, so I may paint a fresh panel before cutting it, then put it up over the original layer. This would keep the beams clean and double the ceiling insulation as well.
The tub surround needs a special waterproof sealant, and about twice as much tile as I have around. The tile I have is for the woodstove and heat battery, which I’ve never had the time to put up- so I was going to use it here. Good thing it wasn’t enough media, as this isn’t where it goes anyway. I’ll hit the tile stores in SLC to find something nice.
The base of the walls around the house have a steel footing layed up with the concrete, except for this run of wall from the kitchen door and back through the bathroom. Critter highway. It is cleaned out, and a layer of the blue breathing media is pressed in then capped with wire stucco mesh.
This corner had no gutter for more than 30 years, and the concrete broke up with freeze/thaw. The concrete issues will have to wait, but I can reseal the exposed subfloor and corner beam.
Mudded up with mortar mix, similar to redux on the ice house a few years back (I wiped the wall down after the photo…)
No more access, so the new work inside should stay clean and clear.
Still a storm every night, but with just a breath of rain. Cooling us off from hitting the low 90’s, which is pretty hot for up here.
The next morning we drive home into a long headwind that spins up to oven temps of 107 in Idaho and into Utah. The little truck could only hold 70mph with the A/C on without overheating (the radiator fluid hasn’t been changed out in years…). I was worried about getting over Malad summit, but a rainstorm met us at the foot of the grade and swept us over the top and back into the heat. As we neared SLC a giant outflow hoodoo wall of dust enveloped us in a howling twilight, and soon met the driving rain of the monsoon system. We were home with a half hour of stormy driving, and temperatures had dropped to 80, falling to 70 by dawn.
Nora lets us know the storm will arrive after dark, when everyone’s down for the night. She gets us up so we can appreciate her storm forecasting- and get her a pill.
The cats have taken to leaving mice up off the floor. Here is a spent little plaything on a chair.
Here’s a little Eeker on a coffee table.
Played out. Xander ate the arm off another played out playmate, and he was left on the floor. Only the display worthy kills are elevated.
The bathroom window will eat an entire day. I have cut away rot till I reach good wood. This same leak was causing problems a few posts back, with the sill plate fix and the new 2×4’s behind the tub. The window sill was bad enough that I removed it.
A start to the fixes- a few boards fit to fill the gaps, and some poly glue to seal things up.
This is the old and new window sill plate. The new plate is from the same run of treated lumber that I sistered the lower sill plate with, and there wasn’t enough left to make the part- unless I glued in a part. An 8pm fix for clamping overnight and installation the next day.
1950 was a big summer for the house. My dad had told me they got electricity in 1950, and I’d always thought he meant in the 1950’s- but this is the second place in the house I’ve found a “fix” of summer of 1950 newspaper stuffed in a wall. In this instance, it was under the window sill.
With the drop ceiling removed I insulated up against the upstairs floorboards.
The bays get “bumped out” to fit deeper insulation. Some with 2×2 (actual of 1.5×1.5) and some with runs of 1.5″ insulation.
The moonrise was huge, and of course, looks tiny in a picture. No one can explain how that one works, which is a nice mystery.
R16 rockwool is laid up.
Into the afternoon and evening the cement board surround goes up.
Things are getting tidy-er.
Since the window frame needed so much help, and I had to pull the lower window, I took the opportunity to free the seized upper window. When I make a screen for the whole bay we’ll be able to open both windows, which creates its own convection to air the room. Keen!
The remodel on the bathroom was all about replacing fixtures, opening/refinishig the window, removing the old linoleum and finishing the wood floor, painting, then hanging artwork. Since then a Feller thought has been haranguing Danger.
Padded blanket in the tub, towel racks / artwork / curtains removed, plastic over the sink and toilet, and impact paper on the floor. Uh oh.
This does a lot, but also nothing- as the everything goes everywhere.
Terrestrial space suit for super team-up of DangerFeller.
Dividing the walls that will stay from the walls that will go.
No insulation here. Most had about 3 feet full from the bottom, then a tangle at the corner/ceiling. And I’m using the term insulation, but I mean fiberglassed mouse poo and seed caches.
Paperboard sandwich lathe material (entire room) with swan border, and black adhesive backing for plastic tile board that was overlaid.
The ambience of critter is overwhelming.
Three 50 gallon contractor garbage bags of just fiberglassed poo.
It looks tidy, but the smell is relentless.
See the sparkles below the window- all the bays from the window down are filled with Vermiculite, mined in Libby Montana in this era, along with asbestos. So hazmat suit is pulling double duty, at least.
If you look up, DangerFeller pulled the ceiling as well. Then wire-wheeled it “clean”.
One morning it was misty- pea soup then lifting like this, then rolling back in again.
Triple digits in SLC are a long way away.
The lumber order for the 1920’s edition in under the name Genevieve Gerhart.
The order is being sent to Monarch, Montana.
Kinda precise gridding for some aspect of framing…?
Our hottest day of 80 degrees spawned some massive cumulonimbus storms and wiped out all the flowers with a long intense pulse of hail.
I like the sideways hail vaulting from the roofs to form a crucible along the path.
The creek flowed for the first time this year, but just to about here.
Things have cooled off considerably.
Big marble stingers.
The sudden cold generated mists.
DangerFeller has found a trouble spot.
The window had a leak (fixed 10 years ago) that dropped down to the sill plate.
Standing in the tub looking down from the window to the old cinder block- after the rotten section is removed.
DangerFeller awoke at 4am grappling with the inevitability of this little jerb within the larger jerb.
A bit out of focus down there, but note the new treated board nicely married with the unrotten original board.
Here is the other end, looking down 18 or 20 inches. Next I’ll lay in a treated 2X4 on top and lock both the old and the new to the topping board with screws.
Next I add support legs to the old framing, and add the center board, which is on center-16 for drywall. (Oh, and also all the “breathing media” in blue). It replaces a board that had been cut into to hold a recessed soap tray: while forming the space for the tray the carpenter had dropped his chisel into the vermiculite (which is like loose foam), and the board was subsequently shattered from his nice bottom cut all the way to the top. His board was scribed to nearly match the angle of the window- I’m going another route…
Old houses need to breath. This old gal has lots of water staining in various places tracking along ceiling supports, down the walls, and of course the worst is under the window.
The first three bays from the door has my old 10 mil remains, and the nearest bay has the new6 mil: about half as thick, so more room for insulation.
AL foam panel goes up next to form an air/vapor barrier, creating seamless envelope.
The open spot below the window is so DangerFeller can fix the window’s remaining problem area from its long ago leaking.
The last step for the panel is spray foaming all the edges, which happened way to late in the day for pictures. Demo of walls was Monday, ceiling demo was Tues, cleaning and prepping was Wed, and today was blue breathing and foam/Al vapor barrier for the walls.