Thursday, May 7, 2009

My New Shop, Episode 3: Now It's Purple And Fluffy...

With a box to make, projects around the house, work, bird watching, and a whole lot of other things to keep me busy, I haven't been able to get back to working on the new workshop until this evening.

When we last left the shop, it was framed in and the electrical had been run for power and lights. It was ready for insulation. Earlier this week, I started looking for some because I had to put it in before my little brother helps me with the drywall this weekend. Turns out it was more difficult to find than I thought it would be...

Earlier this year, we had additional insulation blown into our attic spaces to try and cut a little more off of our cooling and heating costs. My wife, who works in the environmental field, was concerned about VOC's off-gassing from the formaldehyde used as a binder in most fiberglass insulation. After a few months of searching, we finally found a company who uses formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation. Turns out their bid was very competitive, as well, so we went with them.

(Our budget billing has already dropped $10/month since then, by the way.)

After spending that much time and energy in putting a healthy insulation product into our attics, I thought it would be very silly to put regular fiberglass insulation in the basement (where the VOC's could rise through the rest of the house). So I started looking for any local companies who sold formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation batting. After several hours of searching on-line, I finally found a company who specializes in the product, but they weren't exactly "local".

The brand name of the product I'm using is Johns Manville. They actively make and market insulation products that are better for your home environment. Unfortunately, there are only three places within fifty miles of my house that carried their products. The first one I called said they hadn't carried JM products in two years. One of the other two places was over in Illinois - not someplace I'd be going soon. That left Washington Lumber Supply in my home town of Washington, MO.

Having grown up there, I knew the store hours. It left me in a bit of a quandary, because I knew there was no way I could make it from work to the store before closing time.

Then I remembered I had two brothers still living in Washington.


So I called my older brother and asked him if he could pick it up for me if I paid for it over the phone. He agreed. I called the store and placed my order.

The next day I drove down to my brother's house to pick up the insulation. In the process, I found out exactly how many bags of insulation I could fit in my Xterra and still see out the passenger-side window. (The answer is six, in case you are wondering; three bags of R19 and three bags of R13.)

It was a quiet ride home.

This evening, I went downstairs, sealed all of my duct work seams with HVAC foil tape, and installed the insulation.

It was hot and itchy and I had flashbacks of helping my brother finish his entire basement most of the time I was working on it. I was able to finish the ceiling in under two hours.

It had nothing to do with my calculations, but three bags of R-19 was just about the exact amount I needed. I was left with a total of four feet of ceiling still needing a little insulation by the time I'd finished.

Now my workshop is purple and fluffy. Not exactly the manly space I was looking for... I can't wait for this to be finished!

Well, I can't wait until I can paint those stupid walls, anyway.

I'm not going to insulate the newly-framed wall until we get drywall up on the inside, but I will insulate the areas around the steel I-beams and any other gaps in the ceiling before we close it up. I also picked up enough to insulate the only other interior wall (on the right in the first photo). I will do that from the other side before I hang some better quality peg board in the other room.

In the second picture, you can see the fluffy white insulation juxtaposed with the fluffy black Baby Teeters.

She spent a lot of time with me this evening. I don't know if she was more interested in what I was doing or in the Paul Simon CD I was playing. She gave us both a fair amount of attention. She is a wonderfully curious cat and managed to pick up one of the only bits of insulation I didn't sweep up. She doesn't photograph well from a distance in poor light, so you can barely see it on her chest...

This Saturday is the annual local plant sale sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Gardens via the Shaw Nature Reserve; Dana and I are going to go to that early in the morning. We will get back home before noon to meet up with my younger brother so we can hang some drywall.

Hopefully I'll have another shop update for you by Sunday!


mdx3mom said...

OOO Waht kind of plants! We need some. Time to grill Dana.

Your room will done before you know it and the purple will be gone.

You think they could take the itch out since they are trying to make insulation better for the home. I hide when it is time to put insulation in at any of Mike's jobs. I very much dislike the stuff.

Ethan said...


You're right - formaldehyde-free does not equate to "itch-free".

Unfortunately, I get to play with it again this week when I insulate the two framed walls. At least I won't be messing with it over my head...

Hey, I need to get the name of that guy Mike and Jimmy use for mudding and taping so I can have him give me a bid. Can you send that to me in an email?