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Four steps to insulating your house

Four steps to insulating your house

Install weather stripping around window and door frames

You can also buy weather-stripping by the foot or in kits at a local hardware store or home center. You can calculate the amount of weather-stripping you’ll need by measuring the perimeter of all the windows and doors to be weather-stripped. It’s a good idea to add five to ten percent more for waste. However, before you buy anything, determine what kind of weather-stripping you want to use. If possible, remove a small portion of the existing weather-stripping (or take a picture) to compare it with what is available. Checking the size of the gap between the fixed and moveable sections of your doors and windows, as well as thinking about the amount of expected wear and tear in these areas, will help you decide which material is the most appropriate.

Install foam tape weather stripping to your windows. Measure the bottom of the lower sash and the top of the upper sash and then cut the foam tape with a utility knife to fit these areas. Peel off the backing and press into place. When these sashes are closed, the foam tape will form an airtight barrier so that no outside air can get in and inside air can’t get out. This type of weather stripping can also be used in the window channels (the groove in which the sash moves up and down), but can wear down quickly due to friction if the windows are opened and closed frequently. A better option for this area is vinyl “V” strips (see below).

Check the weather-stripping on all windows and doors, and repair or replace as necessary. Check the threshold on doors, and replace if worn or leaking air. Replace broken glass and reglaze or putty loose windowpanes. Caulk around moving parts of windows with nonpermanent caulk that can be removed easily. You can also install inexpensive window films (inside is best) to cut air leaks.

Inspect all windows for gaps that may need sealing. Using mild detergent and water, clean both window sashes. The window sashes are the “frames” directly around each of the windowpanes. There will be a lower and upper sash. Make sure no dirt or grease remains. Remove adhesive from any old weather stripping, using a glue-and-adhesive remover for stubborn adhesive. Dry the area with a clean cloth.

Weather strips are another inexpensive and simple way to keep out draughts from your home and how to keep cold out of windows. These are self-adhesive strips commonly available at most hardware shops. You can get them in three types, compression, V-type, and foam. Out of the three, foam strips are the easiest to use, and they also last a while. Simply stick them along the window frames and block the ingress of cold air coming through your windows and window frame. This method is quite simple and effective. However, the strips don’t offer a permanent solution. Also, when you peel them off, you run the risk of either peeling off the paint, or leave residue of the adhesive on the frame.

Inspect doorframes for gaps and holes that may need sealing. If there are any holes or cracks on the exterior side of the door around the frame, seal them with caulk rated for outdoor use. Insert the caulk tube into a caulking gun, cut off the end with a utility knife at an angle and push the gun’s plunger against the bottom of the tube. Pull the trigger to release the caulk and pull the gun across the area you want sealed.

Clean the entire area inside where the weather stripping will be added. Use mild detergent, water and a sponge, making sure no dirt or grease remains. Remove old weather stripping and any old adhesive. The old weather stripping should just pull off. For stubborn adhesive, apply a glue-and-adhesive remover with a rag and scrub it away. Read all manufacturer instructions to be sure the product is appropriate and won’t damage wood or other areas. Dry the area with a clean cloth.

Apply caulk around joints and cracks

It takes a bit of experience to produce a smooth bead of caulk, so start caulking in an inconspicuous location. Get in a comfortable position and rest the tip against the joint. Squeeze the trigger until caulk emerges, then continue to squeeze as you move the tip along the joint.

Check the ducts for air leaks. Repair leaking joints first with sheet-metal screws; then seal joints with either latex-based mastic with embedded fiberglass mesh or metal/foil tape (UL 181). Don’t use plastic or cloth duct tape because it will harden, crack, and lose its adhesion in a very short time.

‘Use a knife to scrape any old caulk or peeling paint off exterior or interior window edges,’ advises home improvement expert Arnold Long, general ops manager at Mr. Blue Plumbing (opens in new tab). ‘Then, fill a caulking gun with silicone caulking.’

Seal gaps that allow unconditioned air into the space you’re insulating. Pay attention to areas where plumbing, ductwork or wiring enter the space. See Do-It-Yourself Spray Foam Insulation and How to Caulk. In crawlspaces and basements, make sure there are no cracks in the foundation.

Using rigid board insulation with at least RSI 1.76 (R-10), secure and seal it to the foundation by applying foam-compatible adhesive around the perimeter of the foam board before fastening it to the wall. If any mould were to develop behind the insulation it would be contained. Air sealing the foam board to the wall creates an air and moisture barrier somewhat equivalent to spray foam. Special mechanical fasteners can be used if you have any sensitivity to the glue. Install the insulation snugly to eliminate air circulation at the edges. Use urethane foam sealant and technical tape to seal all joints and inter Parts of the foam board.

First clean the surface of the foundation with a wire brush and scraper or use a pressure-washer if you can easily remove the water. Inspect and repair any major holes, cracks or damage and then seal all penetrations. Smooth or replace deteriorated surfaces and old parging with an appropriate type of new parging. Allow repairs to dry.

Remove any old sealant between trim and siding. Clean out dirt and debris from the areas to be sealed so the sealant will adhere properly to the surfaces. Inspect the gaps: They should not exceed 2 inches wide by ½ inch deep. If the joint is deeper than ½ inch, insert foam backer rod into the gap before applying the sealant.

Cover windows with plastic

If you don’t plan on opening the windows until spring, you could try caulking along the edges to seal them shut. Even if you don’t want to take such a drastic measure, you can still apply caulk to block out any damaged areas of your window frame that may be letting in draughts.

Wipe off moisture and use gentle heat to evaporate away any that remains. Turn up the thermostat several degrees, or operate a space heater in the general area of the window. Make sure any humidifier has been turned off and you haven’t boiled or washed anything with hot water for a few hours.

Unfortunately, this is a temporary solution since you need to remove the plastic once the weather becomes better and reapply it again when the weather becomes colder. On the other hand, you can use plastic for windows all year round if you prefer that way, as it can save energy during the hot days, as well.

Prepare windows. It’s most efficient to insulate all you want to insulate at once. Remove debris from around the lower sash, close the window, lock it, clean the window and frame, and clean and adjust the blinds if any (a vacuum works well for light dust on them). Allow the window and frame to dry.

Unpack the film. The film is thin and easily damaged by hard objects. It also has static cling, so keep it away from dirt and dust, preferably off the floor. Clear and white are both very easy to find, and should blend in with most window frames, but you can also get paintable caulking. There are also removable caulk products that you can use to completely seal up a window just for the winter.

Use vinyl V strips. Vinyl “V” strips often go between the sash stiles (the vertical section of the sash) and the window channels. Open the lower sash all the way and measure the channel from the bottom of the sash to the bottom of the channel. Use a utility knife to cut the strip to the correct length. Repeat this for the upper sash, opening it all the way down. Then simply peel away the backing and push the strips into place in the channel. When the sashes are closed, both sides of the “V” are pushed together, forming an airtight seal.

You needn’t turn to window replacement yet. Sure, energy efficient windows work well. That said, you can sidestep an entire purchase by installing low-emissivity film. Low-emissivity film reduces solar heat gain. If you can block your window’s solar absorption, you can strike out insulation problems. If new, energy efficient windows aren’t in your budget, you can make them yourself.

Install roofing material

Make no bones about it—roofing is hard work. There’s no hiding from the elements. You can’t be afraid of heights and you need to be pretty fit. Before committing to this how to roof a house project, try this: Get out a ladder and climb up onto your roof. If you can’t walk around on it comfortably, hire a pro. If you passed this first test, go to the lumberyard or home center and throw a bundle of shingles onto your shoulder. Imagine yourself carrying that load up a ladder…many, many times.

Before deciding whether to perform the installation yourself or hire an insulation contractor, remember to carefully examine the condition of your roof. If the space is easily accessible and doesn’t show any signs of moisture, it may be possible to do the job yourself. But if there are any kind of leaks or mold, it’s probably best to hire a professional.

If you’re still feeling positive about this how to roof a house at this point, why not give it a shot? You can skip a lot of heavy lifting by having your roofing supplier hoist the shingles onto the roof. Be sure you spread the load evenly across the length of the roof’s peak. However, don’t have the shingles delivered to the roof if you still have two layers of old shingles to tear off—it could be too much weight for your trusses.

If you’re installing the type of stack flashing with a rubber boot that seals around the pipe, spray-paint the pipe a similar color as your roof. You can also paint electrical masts and other projections (before installing shingles). This simple step adds a lot to the finished look of your roof.

Cover the rest of the roof with No. 15 asphalt-saturated felt underlayment (some codes may require No. 30). Each layer overlaps the lower one by at least 2 in. Follow this step by nailing drip edge along rakes (sides of roof), on top of the underlayment. As you did with the flashing, always lap upper pieces over lower pieces. The felt keeps the roof deck dry before shingles go on, protects against wind-driven rain as shingles fail and increases fire resistance.

If you’re looking to save money on labor costs, it’s possible to install roof insulation as a DIY project. Make sure you have the right equipment and research the best practices before starting. Poor installation jobs can make the insulation less effective.

Snap chalk lines to help keep the row of ridge cap shingles straight. Install the ridge cap so the prevailing winds blow over the overlap seams, not into them. Once all your shingles are installed, you’ll need to cover (cap) the ridge (and hip ridges if you have a hip roof). The top ridge cap shingles will overlap the hip ridge cap, so start with the hips. Snap a couple of guide lines just a little inside the perimeter of the ridge so the lines get covered up when you’re done. Nail each shingle on both sides about 1 in. above the overlap seam (Photo 16). Store-bought architectural-style ridge caps are often two layers thick, to match the look of the shingles. You may need longer nails to fasten the ridge because of all the extra layers of shingles.

When you reach the top of the roof, run your last row long , and drape the paper over the peak (top ridge) onto the other side. When you reach the top on the other side of the roof, run that paper up and over as well. That way you’ll end up with a watertight ridge. Ask about the inspection schedule when you pick up your permit.

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