Friday, October 3, 2014


Now the title of this post might be a little deceiving when I mentioned in yesterday's post that this was the 'most disgusting task yet' but this isn't just about installing insulations, it's about removing all of the old stuff as well.

Given we had rooms gutted, we figured it would be a good time to clear out the roof allowing us to drag everything down into the open rooms rather than attempting to break down large sheets of Styrofoam to fit through the man-hole.

Inside our roof (from the man hole)
Understandably, I didn't take many photos as we worked. It took all weekend to pull everything out of the roof into the gutted rooms. It was hot and dusty work, we started off with goggles, masks and full head to toe overalls...and ended up in shorts. It didn't help that crawling around in the roof ripped the overalls to shreds anyway and it was so dusty it got inside them and the masks (I kept a mask on til the end due to asthma but I'm not sure it helped). The goggles were the first to go, it was impossible to see without them and even more so with them all fogged up.

One big mess
When we were done, we were still a long way from done. Each of the rooms (2 bedrooms, kitchen and front room) was more than half a metre deep of Styrofoam and insulation. It clung to the exposed studs and battens (and in many cases is still there behind the gyprock now!) and slowly drifted throughout the house. We had sealed off those rooms as best we could, but insulation is one of those nightmare things. I expect to still be finding bits of it over the years.

Cleaning up the rooms took a week of night work and into the next weekend. SJ did a lot of it while I was away in Melbourne for work and I have never loved him more.

I have to admit, one of the worst parts of renovating a house is that you literally never stop cleaning. Throughout the renovations we kept the house tidy (I hate it when things aren't organised) and pretty much gave it a full clean every day where possible. It's a never ending battle though, even now when the house is more finished we're constantly making new layers of dust.

Sarking the house from the inside
So once the house was 'clean' we were able to start on the insulation. Because we have a chamferboard house we couldn't install insulation batts right up against the boards (there needs to be an air gap so they don't rot the boards) so we needed to sark the house (i.e. wrap it in the blue stuff that makes it look like a space ship from the inside). Now traditionally, you'd do this from the outside before you put the boards on, but instead, we had to do it from the inside out cutting pieces to fit between each set of studs.

During this period we also had new wiring laid in some of the rooms for new power points and two-way light switches (that's what those coloured post it notes represent on the wall). One of the silver linings to having the rooms gutted was the ease at which we could do this, almost every wall in the house was exposed on at least one side and laying cables was much easier than it usually would be.

Insulation in Bed 3
Then in went the insulation. We used Earthwool batts from Bunnings, choosing R2.0 thermal and acoustic batts for the walls and R3.5 batts for the ceiling. We haven't found the time to install the ceiling batts even now but we've pushed the unopened bags up into the ceiling to make life easier for when we do.

The effects of the insulation were immediate, without gyprock on for the sound to bounce off the rooms were also incredibly sound proof. It cost us $300-400 for the wall insulation and another $600 for the roof insulation. Definitely worth the expense though, it makes the house a lot more cosy. In the future we'll build in more underneath which will help as well.

And in case you're wondering what we did with all that old insulation and Styrofoam, rather than dump it I gave it away on gumtree. The insulation was taken by various people who either had gaps to fill in their own roof spaces or couldn't afford new insulation, the sheets of Styrofoam were taken by those using it for hobbies (one gentleman collects badges and covers it in felt) and those using it for the insulation of sheds. I also gave away all the old skirtings, architraves and bits of kitchen and wardrobes that were ripped out of the house, so where possible, things have been recycled rather than dumped.

And if you're wondering, timeline wise it's now mid- June and we had owned the house for six weeks. The next step was hanging gyprock but in between we made a few small changes that I'll cover in the next post.

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