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Home Insulation Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,200 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,226 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …

For this week’s Cleaning Up/Home Insulation Expert Level Merit Badge, I went over to my friend, Midge’s, for a little help in her DIY insulation project. Midge is a dear pal, a real bosom friend (to borrow from Anne with an E). She’s my Diana Barry, if you will. But lately, she’d been a little cranky and we thought it was due to her house being haunted. I mean, that will make a gal a bit crabby, can I get an amen?

We assumed her house was haunted due to the fact that she couldn’t keep her bedside candle lit, and doors kept slamming shut. I mean, what else could be the culprit other than the supernatural?

photo by Olybrius via Wikimedia Commons

Oh yeah. Drafty windows and poor insulation. Ahem. I knew that. I had after all, insulated my own drafty house only a couple years before. So, hey, if I can help a girlfriend out and earn an expert level badge all at once, I’m all in.

First, we narrowed down the usual suspects when it came to our haunting windows. It’s good to know, my peeps, that windows installed before the 1980s are rarely insulated properly. And if you get cold feet, like Yours Truly, nearly year ‘round, you might find it is wise to replace your windows, or at least insulate them. You know, instead of owning 11 pairs of fuzzy slippers. *casual whistling … nothing to see here, move along*

Anyway, once we discovered which windows were the worst of the worst (we’re talking a portal to Narnia in terms of sheer winter-ness), we got to work. We needed:

  • Caulk
  • Nail gun
  • Pry bar
  • Utility knife
  • Spray insulation (Made specifically for windows and doors. Don’t use a regular expanding foam; it may warp.)

First, feeling rather like the female versions of Ty Pennington and Bob Vila, we used our utility knives to score along the caulking around the window trim. I mean, you can go all Hulk on it, and just pry it off without scoring first, but Midge doesn’t recommend that (she can be a spoilsport that way).

Then, using your pry bar, begin prying up the window trim, a little tiny bit at a time. If you’re like me, you will have lost the pry bar and will need to use a butter knife. Don’t be like me.

There should be tiny nails in the corners that you will need to pry up as well. If there aren’t any, your contractor/builder was shoddy, to say the least. Carefully remove the nails, using your butter knife. I mean, your pry bar or hammer.

There should be about an inch or so of sheetrock visible once you remove the trim. Remove that, being careful in case there are any wires in there (no one needs a DIY home perm, right?).

This is where you will use your handy-dandy spray insulation. Once the foam is dry, you can use your butter knife (I mean, your utility knife) to trim any bubbles off, so it lies nice and flat against the wall.

Treat yourself to some new nails (removing the old ones carefully; this is good time to recall how up-to-date your last tetanus shot was) when you put the trim back up.

photo by Wolfgang Sauber via Wikimedia Commons

Voila! You’ll have an Expert Level Merit Badge, toasty warm feet, and banished ghosts! Not bad for an afternoon of work, don’t you agree?

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