April 20, 2015 by Sarah

We have insulation!!!!!

closed-cell spray foam

Sweet, sweet, insulation.

bedroom insulation

For our second floor renovations, we are using funding programs through the Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC). They work with Xcel Energy to offer low-interest loans for energy improvement projects for homeowners.  We applied for the program last fall which involved a bunch of paperwork and getting the NEC at least 2 bids (from Xcel approved contractors) for the insulation project at our home.  Sounds easy–however, far from it.

Don’t get me wrong, the NEC has been a dream to work with, but a string of unfortunate events has left us exhausted and glad it is over. Which brings me to:

The Great Insulation Saga of 2015

(Please note: all times/dates are approximate and likely incorrect but nonetheless tell the complete story that exemplifies my complete disdain for the following events)  

  • Nov-Dec GC searches for bids (everyone is too busy)
  • Jan-Feb GC continues to search for bid  (again, everyone is too busy)
  • March GC gets a few bids (hallelujah)
    • The lowest of the bids, from a company called Penguin Insulation, is picked and approved by us and NEC.

Let’s fast forward a minute…

Day before work is scheduled to be done:

  • 9am: Penguin asks for additional paperwork to be signed.
  • 10am: Paperwork is signed and faxed to penguin.
  • 1pm: Penguin calls/emails saying they sent me the wrong paperwork and need it faxed back by 2pm or we will have to reschedule.
  • 1:30pm Correct paperwork is signed and sent back to Penguin.
  • 2:30pm  The NEC calls to inform us that Penguin Insulation is no longer one of their “preferred contractors” and that they had just let their Xcel Energy certification lapse.  This means that we would not be eligible for the funding or attached Xcel Energy rebates (in total thousands). They recommend we cancel with them immediately before any work commenced.
  • 2:31pm  I am extremely pissed off.
  • 2:32pm  I call Penguin to figure out that is going on. I am met with excuses blaming Xcel for the issue. Finally, I am told that they do, in fact, no longer hold the certification needed.  Project is cancelled.
  • 2:33pm Yelling, screaming, pouting, fist shaking, foot stomping, and general tantruming commences for several minutes. A-holes.
  • 2:40 pm Cancelled contract is signed and faxed to Penguin. A-holes.
  • 2:41 pm  I call NEC to tell them we have in fact canceled with Penguin.
  • 2:42 pm NEC emails me new list of contractors that are certified with Xcel as of Jan 1st.

The next day:

  • I call every single contractor on the list.

Over the next 2 week:

  • A bunch of contractor come out to give estimates. Several are weeded out because they don’t work with spray foam and several more were out because they tried to sell me on crap I didn’t want vs. just giving me an estimate for what I asked for.
  • We ended up going with a contractor called Expert Insulation from down near the Rochester area.

Why we picked Expert Insulation:

  • They offered to come early in the morning (against rush hour traffic) to give me an estimate, while almost all the others wouldn’t accommodate my schedule.
  • They got the estimate back to me in a timely fashion. (Same day) Which is near unheard of actually.
  • They weren’t the lowest estimate we got, but the price was more than fair.
  • They always got back to me quickly to answer any questions I had through phone or email.

Finally things were moving in the right direction.

They had the work done in 2 days. They spent a day applying closed-cell spray foam, and another day hanging mesh and blowing in the cellulose. They did a great job of covering all the windows and flooring to protect it from spray. I was surprised at how well they cleaned everything up too.

recessed dryer vent bathroom insulation bedroom insulation insulation insulation hallway insulation bedroom vaulted ceiling insulation laundry area

A pretty big difference compared to the before pics!

office framing bathroom framing hallway framing bedroom framing bedroom framing lvls

We ran into one small snag when one of our original windows was somehow broken. 🙁  Sad day.  Accidents happen, but it is still kind of a pain. Expert has offered to pay for salvaged glass and to have it cut so I guess it is no big deal.

Overall, I am very pleased with Expert Insulation’s work and I would use them again if I needed to.

vaulted ceiling insulation

For right now I am enjoying our progress. Which means bring these huge salvaged corner cabinets into the master bedroom. I cannot remember if I have even discussed these beauties in the past, but I am now. I scored these amazing craftsman built-ins for only $75/pair from a neighborhood Facebook page. Steal-of-a-deal.

salvaged oak corner built-ins

I am so glad I was able to save them. They have been in the front porch for several months.  We have all the trim pieces as well so once we are done with them they will look like they have always been there. The original knobs are gone, but nothing a new set of period-appropriate knobs can’t fix.  Also, please note that we also carried 2 pieces of drywall upstairs. Woooooot.

Adrian and I ordered the drywall this past weekend. About 130 sheets worth. That is a lot of rock, a lot. Although it will take a lot of work and time to hang, it is nice to be back to projects we don’t have to rely solely on other people for. $0 in labor cost.  That will be nice. 🙂


8 thoughts on “Insulation

  1. Lory says:

    I like 2:31 pm and love the built-ins!

  2. Stacey at Dohiy says:

    Ditto on liking 2:31 pm (now that the issue is resolved)!

    Hey, you have floors. You mentioned about patching floors. Do you know what kind of floor you have that you want to patch? Reason I ask is that we just decided we can’t reasonably use ours, which means we have 250 or so sq. feet of thin strip birch flooring that Clayton declared “nice” (so it must be true). Is that anything you would want? It’s only, you know, NAILED DOWN at the moment.

    Congrats on the insulation and the awesome cabinetry!

    • Sarah says:

      🙂 I am pretty sure the floor is maple, but not totally sure. It does look kinda similar to ours in your pics. IDK maybe ask Clayton? Most of the bedrooms are intact and we have enough saved to patch the bedrooms, but the entire linoleum covered hallway will need hardwood. I think it is about 125 sq ft or so. My original plan was to get salvaged maple and feather it in at all the doorways. I don’t think the birch would match, but I suppose I could do thresholds at the bedroom doorways and just run birch in the hall. Let me talk it over with the husband…

      • Stacey at Dohiy says:

        I thought ours was maple originally, Clayton said NO. I’ll ask him next time I see him. There’s no rush ‘cuz we haven’t even started pulling it, no worries/obligation!

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Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

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