Posted by: lcowie | November 16, 2010

Balloon Framed Homes

If you are conducting an energy audit on a home built before 1860, you can be almost guaranteed that the home will have air leaks and insulation gaps!

Homes built before 1860 were built using balloon framing, which basically means that one piece of wood stands all the way from the ground to the attic. Modern homes are built using platform framing, which breaks up the long boards of wood. With platform framing, there is a first-floor wall stud separated by a subfloor wood post. On top of the subfloor, there is a second-floor wall stud.

Balloon framing allows interstitial airflow along the length of the home because of the use of one long wooden board. Balloon framing is a fire hazard, as you can imagine, because there is no blocking between levels, as you would see with platform framing.

What you will want to consider doing is to blow cellulose insulation into the balloon framing. You can’t tear down the house and rebuild! So keep this in mind when you are working with an older home. It was built back in the days when homeowners simply wanted a roof over their heads. Now we pay more attention to energy conservation and efficiency.

Have you worked on a home with balloon framing? Tell me your story!

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