Avalon Building and Blogging

Can I really care this much about flooring and faucets? Apparently, I can.

SUCCESS! (And how to install soundproofing insulation)

After my long, snarling rant on Friday, we had our pre-drywall meeting yesterday. It went really well. We didn’t know what to expect, but spent about 45 minutes first thing in the morning walking through the house with our PM. We were really happy to see that a lot of the little things we’d noticed were wrong had been fixed, and the PM went over all of them without asking and explained how they’d been fixed. Way back in the pre-construction meeting, he’d asked that we give him time to find and fix things on his own (the implication being, please don’t call me every night with every little crack or wonky board!). So we’ve really tried to be quiet about things and let him work them out. I pointed out one or two small things that we wanted fixed, namely some cracked or splintered studs, and he said he was happy to swap them out. All in all, a nice meeting. He said he was so happy we were building an Avalon, since nearly every house they’re building right now is one variation or another of the Courtland Gate. I think it’s just nice for him to have something different to walk through! And, yes, we’re still likely to close July 5. Gulp.

So, now on to the success part of this post. After kvetching about not getting the Roxul on Friday, the big-box store advised that we might be able to find something similar locally. I called a local building supply company (Virginia Builders Supply in Richmond) and talked to an extremely helpful guy on the phone, who told me that what we wanted was mineral wool insulation, and they carried it. It’s called Saf-B, and it comes in wool batts, like the Roxul. Nice thing is, it’s way cheaper than the Roxul. We found out at the pre-drywall meeting that the drywall wouldn’t go in until Wednesday, so I was able to leave work a little early and pick some up. We were able to cram seven packs in my car. Each pack covers something like 33 square feet or so. The total for all seven packs was a little less than $200, about $150 less than I’d found the Roxul for. We ran over tonight, and put it in all around the bonus room upstairs (which abuts the master bedroom) and the guest room downstairs.

Here are some pictures and explanation about how we put it in. If you are having difficulty finding the Roxul, check a local building supply company! They couldn’t have been nicer, and told me how to put it in.

 

This is the Saf-B insulation, which is similar to the Roxul.

This is the Saf-B insulation, which is similar to the Roxul.

Take a big car--this stuff takes up more room than you think.

Take a big car–this stuff takes up more room than you think.

This comes in two widths-16" and 24". Most studs are 16" apart or so, so we ordered that and if some of the studs were wider, we just cut it to work.

This comes in two widths-16″ and 24″. Most studs are 16″ apart or so, so we ordered that and if some of the studs were wider, we just cut it to work.

The insulation just pushes in between the studs.You can cut out spaces for outlets or boxes, etc. Or you can just pull out the corner with your hands. This stuff has the consistency of quilt batting. YOU WILL NEED GLOVES AND LONG SLEEVES! Also, rinse or shower with COLD WATER. Cold water closes the pores and reduces itching. Because, trust me, this stuff is itchy. We didn't wear a mask, but could have.

The insulation just pushes in between the studs.You can cut out spaces for outlets or boxes, etc. Or you can just pull out the corner with your hands. This stuff has the consistency of quilt batting. YOU WILL NEED GLOVES AND LONG SLEEVES! Also, rinse or shower with COLD WATER. Cold water closes the pores and reduces itching. Because, trust me, this stuff is itchy. We didn’t wear a mask, but could have.

We found that scoring the batting with a utility knife and then pulling it apart worked really well.

We found that scoring the batting with a utility knife and then pulling it apart worked really well.

Depending on your ceiling height, you may need to get creative.

Depending on your ceiling height, you may need to get creative.

 

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20 comments on “SUCCESS! (And how to install soundproofing insulation)

  1. J and M
    May 22, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. kimberly
    May 22, 2013

    Glad you were able to work it out. I have no idea how you fit 7 in there. If you look at my pictures and I had a huge jeep, I barely fit in 5 and that was with one in the front. LOL

    • newbietobuilding!
      May 22, 2013

      I did see your pictures, and that’s why we took the big monster instead of my husband’s small car! I think the Saf-B has a little less in each package than the Roxul, which is why we could fit a few more in. But it’s probably about the same square footage. After all this effort, I am so hoping it’s worth it! Both the PM and the guy at the building supply store assured me it was, so we’ll see. 🙂

      • kimberly
        May 22, 2013

        It definitely makes a difference in the sound. We have tested it out between walls that have it and don’t have it. Our PM was telling people it wouldn’t make a difference, but whatever!!

  3. Stacey
    May 22, 2013

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. S and P
    May 22, 2013

    That’s awesome!!! Thanks for posting this…
    When I asked about extra insulation our PM said that they will insulate to the highest std but I’m not sure he was talking about between the rooms. If they don’t do it, we might just do what you guys did!!! This is very helpful!! Thanks again!!

    And I remember that our PM said that same thing in our per-construction meeting, that we may find some minor things but we should give him some time to fix them! 😉

    • newbietobuilding!
      May 22, 2013

      Thanks! The other insulation through the rest of the house is great–it’s tight as can be. They insulated all the outside walls (save for the exterior garage wall, which we did ourselves over the weekend) and sealed around all the outlets and windows. You could immediately tell a difference when you walked into the house, even though it’s not drywalled and the doors and windows were all still open. Ryan Homes says we should notice a significant difference in our power bills from our current house, and I believe them after seeing this.

      • S and P
        May 22, 2013

        Difference in power bills…..all the more reason to do it 🙂

  5. Eric and Karrie
    May 22, 2013

    Thanks for this great tip. I like the idea of getting it from a local lumber supply and of course saving money.

  6. L. Michelle
    May 23, 2013

    I didn’t even know RH allows you to install your own insulation in interior walls! What a great idea!

    • newbietobuilding!
      May 23, 2013

      Well, officially it was the insulation fairy who magically appeared and put in the stuff. But I think it’s pretty common for RH to turn a blind eye to that kind of stuff.

  7. Melissa R
    May 23, 2013

    Nice tip. Your house is rocking and rolling super fast. Glad the insulation problem was fixed so you could add more.

  8. Ella May
    May 31, 2013

    Thanks for posting about Saf-B.. We didn’t even know this stuff existed. I was not going to go the roxul route because it is expensive and I want to do lots, I was going to do the standard fiberglass insulation from homedepot, but this seem sto be a better option. Do you know if has any R rating? Did you buy the 15.25 or 16 wide rolls, or was it 23 or 24? Finally, what was the thickness of this stuff if you remember. Thanks again and glad this stuff worked out for you. Ok ok, one last question, did you put it in the 1t floor ceiling under the 2nd floor floor?

    • newbietobuilding!
      May 31, 2013

      This does have a R-rating. I think it’s something like 3.7 per inch, so apparently there is some thermal insulating value to it. It certainly should, given how dense it is when you install it. We bought the 16″ width, but in hindsight, I would have bought one or two packages of the 24″ width, so we could have insulated some walls that weren’t load-bearing and had wider studs. In all my research, if you want to make a room truly sound-proof, you would have to insulate the floor and/or ceiling. Since we weren’t insulating a media room, but bedrooms and a bonus room, we only did the walls. Given when we put it in, I’m not sure how I would have put in the ceilings…perhaps in conjunction with metal tension rods we used in the garage insulation? I’m not sure how it would have stayed up otherwise. It’s not heavy, but dense, and it might have fallen right out. Oh, it’s 3″ thick, BTW. I’d Google it to see about putting on exterior walls. I’m not sure if it needs a moisture barrier. All the info about wool says it doesn’t fungi, but you might need a different product. We went with plain old fiberglass on the exterior garage wall.

      • Ella May
        June 1, 2013

        Very helpful feedback. Thank you very much. I looked up the stuff on Google and found it, now I have to figure out where they sell it locally.. good luck to all!

  9. Mahlon Boehs
    June 13, 2013

    Or use spray foam insulation because it soundproofs and seals better than anything else out there.

  10. excited2Bbuilding
    March 23, 2014

    Hi! So glad I found your blog! We are neighbors to you guys (i can tell by the pics)! 🙂 Such a small world! Would love to meet your family! We are also building an Avalon plan and are just up the road from you all (with a porch). We’re about to have our pre-drywall walk-through this week and so glad I found your blog. So informative! I think your idea of adding insulation in certain bedrooms will definitely help us. So, standard RH only insulates the exterior walls of the home? Did they have any issues with you adding insulation in (after hours)? Our basement, and bedrooms will def. need some more added if so. Did you do any research on the spray foam, just wondering how they compare (insulation value, price, etc)? Sorry so many questions, just happy to find a new neighbor on here in our community with the same floor plan! 🙂

    • newbietobuilding!
      March 24, 2014

      One, welcome to the ‘hood! We know precisely which house is yours, as we were thrilled to see another Avalon. (And I am a little jealous of your dormers. I really wanted them, but after going back and forth for a while, we opted to not get them.) What color will your siding be? Think your brick is like ours, too!

      Two, Ryan Homes only insulates the exterior walls of the house. We didn’t have any trouble getting in after hours to add the insulation ourselves. We insulated the exterior garage walls, the second floor bonus room, the walls around our bedroom and the downstairs guest room. I really think it’s made a difference with soundproofing. Our oldest boy can play Xbox in the bonus room into the wee hours and we only hear muffled conversation, not any gaming sounds. I didn’t research spray insulation because I didn’t think Ryan would be down with another contractor coming in to do work, and I knew we couldn’t do it ourselves.

      I will tell you, after this frigid winter, we couldn’t be happier with how warm and tight the house is. No drafts, no cold air coming in through the outlets, no leaky windows or doors. Tight and warm. We did set the thermostat higher than we did in our old house, but this house is twice as big, so it needed to be set a degree higher. No biggie. Our gas bill is more or less what it was before, which is saying something now that we have a gas cooktop and, as I said, we are heating twice as much house.

      Would love to “chat” more! If you’d like to, send me your email address in a post. I think I have to approve most posts. I won’t post it, but will send you my email address as well.

  11. excited2Bbuilding
    March 23, 2014

    Sorry one more quick question….since we’ll probably be doing our insulation work this weekend. Do you find that the rooms that you added insulation to are properly heated and cooled (like the rest of your house)? Since we only have 1 zone we read on-line that it might not be such a great idea to insulate certain rooms for HVAC concerns….although it’s great for sound, maybe not so great for heating/cooling. Just trying to see what your families experience is on this since you’re going on almost a year living in your new house. Happy with it? Thanks a million!!!!

    • newbietobuilding!
      March 24, 2014

      I do think the insulation makes a difference in temperature. If the room is warm, it stays warm, and if it’s cold, it stays cold. Having said that, the upstairs bonus room (which you aren’t getting, looks like) gets really warm in the summer. You and I have the same sun exposure, and the evening sun really comes in that upstairs foyer window. If we close the doors to the bonus room and use the ceiling fan, it stays comfortable. I am thinking about investing in blinds with a remote control for that window (to keep the summer sun out) or some sort of film on the window. If you are considering insulating for warmth, I don’t think you will find you need extra. As I said, the house was crazy warm this winter. If noise is a concern, I find it does make a difference. (We insulated the wall between the guest bathroom and bedroom and I think it is really noticeable there.) My advice for heat/cold? Cover those western-facing windows with some good blinds! We are still in the process of doing so, and I think that will make the very most difference.

      We LOVE the Avalon. The only complaint I have about the floor plan is the utter lack of a linen closet. The “closet” in the upstairs hall bathroom is a joke, and only suitable for bars of soap and toilet paper. We are adding a whole shelving unit to the bonus room closet to turn that into a massive linen closet. Other than that, all the things I loved about the house initially, I still do: the pantry, the master bedroom (BLISS!), the fact that you can’t see into the main living area from the front door, the morning room, the kitchen… oh, the kitchen….

      Also, we haven’t really had any major complaints or problems with Ryan. Little things here and there, sure, but they’ve all been promptly addressed and fixed. Our sidewalk, oddly, is crumbling out front. They can’t work out if it was poured at the wrong time or if something was wrong with the concrete itself, but they are cheerfully replacing it this week (or next). We do have some drainage issues on the side of the house, but we are going to try to address that ourselves with landscaping. We back onto wetlands, so we knew that was a possibility. (Hence, why we didn’t get a basement–didn’t want to risk a soggy one.)

      Again, welcome and congratulations!

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2013 by in May 2013 and tagged , , , .
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