I started prepping for Thanksgiving since I’m hosting this year. I bought new block print napkins to go with a runner I’m reusing from two years ago. I prefer to keep my table setting casual during the holidays, my theory is it helps guests relax. I added ombre tapers to the mix but everything else I’ve owned for years, including the chargers, plates, and flatware.
I don’t believe you have to buy new sets of stoneware or dinnerware for holidays or special occasions. Basic white plates work just fine especially if you jazz them up with a colorful, patterned, or botanical dinner napkin. I’ll be using the printed napkins below to set a table for eight for our Thanksgiving feast.
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Architectural ingenuity meets practicality head-on in this intimate home design, brought to life by Line Architects. This extraordinary residence illustrates a thoughtful fusion of garden, home, and an aquatic oasis; a symphony of light, space, and nature. Glass walls construct an open connection with the garden and the sheltered swimming pool, drawing in radiant light and blurring boundaries. Though confined to a small plot, this home creatively redefines limitations through sequential arrangement zones. Luxury minimalism lays a peaceful foundation, building a simple backdrop of stone-clad walls and floors and rich ash wood ceilings. The home tour video and floor plans are included at the end of the gallery.
Set back behind a light-permeable facade, this modern home draws a long linear layout with a tranquil garden along one side. A mature tree covers the garden with a canopy of vibrant greenery and blissful shade.
A wooden veranda edges the property, constructing an inviting platform for outdoor seating. A couple of outdoor beanbags overlook a bed of shrubs and long grasses that ripple in the breeze.
Glass doors break open the entire length of the living room, adjoining the modern interior with the veranda and calming garden vista.
A slatted ash wood ceiling expands outside of the home to form a textured canopy above the narrow veranda. The continuation of this key element serves to further erase the boundary between inside and out.
The dark ceiling treatment and heavy window drapes give the home interior a cool and shady aesthetic. Two modern white sofas face across a sleek black coffee table. Wooden flower vases add a light tone and natural texture to the coffee table centerpiece.
Two black woven chairs allow daylight to pass through from the living room window. A gray living room rug holds the assorted furniture arrangement neatly together.
Black slatted paneling wraps the lower half of the room with a weighty anchor. The dark border melds with the bold black window frames.
The white sofa has a double-sided arrangement. One side of the seating is directed into a conversational grouping, while the other faces out toward the dining area and ultimately the kitchen.
Black scatter cushions heavily punctuate the crisp white sofa upholstery. A slimline floor reading lamp adds focused task lighting over the sofa. See more ideas for floor reading lamps.
Wide-format stone floor tiles weave a cohesive thread through the open living room dining room combo. Coordinating stone slabs make up the light gray walls.
Comfortable upholstered dining chairs facilitate long dinners and after-dinner conversation. Beside the eating area, the black, textured wall treatment dips into a recess to give the illusion of a modern fireplace. Stacked logs complete the cozy visual.
The dining table runs into a central kitchen island to form one streamlined volume.
A modern fruit bowl makes a simple dining table centerpiece.
A single black accent chair disrupts the formal dining spot, making a tonal tie with the black dining table.
The house is surrounded on three sides by neighboring houses. A flat facade of unique metal shutters makes a secretive shroud across a parking garage and the home entryway.
The parking garage is partially divided from the garden by a brief concrete wall. An open walkway adjoins the car parking area with the wooden veranda.
From the street, the extraordinary metal façade has a striking geometric design.
Daylight penetrates the metal grid, pushing through into the glass-walled home design.
A pivoting front door is camouflaged into the black framework.
Glass zoning expands the sense of space in the property.
A stainless steel kitchen countertop coolly reflects the sunlight and the leafy view.
A breakfast bar extends the kitchen island into a casual eating spot.
Full-height kitchen appliance housing units and pantry doors merge with the gray, textured wall decor.
The master bedroom is a vision of restrained luxury and quiet minimalism.
From the bed, the homeowner can look out upon the garden through a wall of edge-to-edge glass.
The glass walls can be drawn back to immerse the master bedroom in the sights, sounds, and fragrant scents of the lush garden.
A common materials palette effortlessly connects the bedroom with the outdoor environment.
A rattan planter draws some of the garden inside of the house, bringing a wild touch to the minimalist bedroom decor scheme.
White sheets cleanly cover a pure white bedstead. A small black floor lamp completes the simple ensemble.
The warm ash wood ceiling contrasts with cool stone surfaces.
Light play transforms the inner and outer spaces as the day progresses.
The house is situated centrally between the garden and a narrow swimming pool design.
Here, above the swimming pool, the ash wood roof canopy completes its run.
A roof lantern pours natural light into the pool and ventilates the space. A convenient shower area is tucked into the corner of the pool area, giving swimmers a place to rinse off before re-entering the house.
On the floor plan, we can observe how the linear house composition unfolds: Banks of storage are situated around the home entryway, which flows directly into the common living areas. The private master bedroom is set all the way in the back. Glass walls keep the living areas in visual contact with the garden and the swimming pool from front to back.
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I always knew we were expecting overnight guests the moment my mom broke out her steam mop. Floors had to be sparkling, tile grout and all, prior to a friend’s arrival. As a kid, I used to think it was a bit much—wasn’t vacuuming enough?—but after recently trying out viral cleaning brand Tineco’s latest launch, I once again have been humbled by the fact that parents truly know best.
For context, Tineco’s popularity recently skyrocketed on TikTok (390 million views!) and across the Internet for bundling multiple cleaning essentials into one streamlined wet-dry gadget. We’ve already been impressed by the S5 Extreme after it successfully handled everything from crushed potato chips to rogue squirts of ketchup in one go (it also didn’t balk at the debris caused by our associate editor’s three-dog household) by mopping and vacuuming at once.
What sets the S7 Steam apart from the rest of Tineco’s lineup is two updated modes that promise to sanitize—sans cleaning solution—and suck simultaneously. With my mom’s cleaning habits embedded in the back of my brain, that added functionality piqued my curiosity enough to see if it was an upgrade worth making.
The Impressive Power of Steam
The unit ships as just two separate parts in one box, and all that’s required to put it together is simply clicking the handle into the body. After assembly, the whole thing lives on a separate charging base (which doubles as storage for extra dry filters and brush rollers); it needs to fully power up before the first use. Then to get started, all I had to do was press the main power button. This immediately catapults the machine into its auto mode. Depending on how dirty your floor is, it’ll apply the right amount of water and suction power needed to scrub things down and/or gobble up crumbs. And while Tineco describes it as lightweight, it does weigh in over 10 pounds. Something to note, even though the device feels like it propels itself when on.
Things got really interesting when I pressed the steam button. Located above the main power button (the icon sort of looks like a cloud), this switch toggles between base and boost mode, with the selection reflected on the digital screen. In a singsong voice, the machine alerts it’ll need a minute to heat up, specifically to 284 degrees. Initially skeptical, I was shocked to eventually see billows of vapor emitting around the brush roller. I took to the spots in my apartment where I knew stubborn bits of dried gunk were hiding. And in a few passes, the grease and grime were gone. In the boost mood, it took even less to get old spots beneath the kitchen island to disappear. A pleasant surprise: The floor dried streak-free in no time. Old memories of being banished from recently steamed rooms until they dried flooded back to me. But I was able to return my runner to its place in front of the sink without having to worry about moisture getting trapped beneath it almost immediately.
Things to Keep in Mind
This machine definitely had me channeling my mom, who once she starts steaming can’t seem to stop (the smart iLoop display, which turns from red to blue as messes are detected and taken care of, was motivation enough). Consequently, my excited hand offered immediate insight into the unit’s capabilities. I, admittedly, was a bit overzealous my first time around and the S7 Steam quickly warned me to put it back on the charging dock before it died, much like my Dyson will do when it’s been overworked beyond its limit. The boost mode will drain the battery in a matter of minutes, and Tineco advises saving that for heavily polluted areas—rightly so.
The charging dock itself needs roughly a 12-by-12-foot block of space and can plug into an outlet about 6 feet away. For larger homes with utility closets, I imagine this isn’t as much of an issue compared to apartment dwellers where, in a city like New York, multiple closets are a rarity. Still, the sleek white and black exterior isn’t an eyesore if it has to take up permanent residence in your living quarters.
And while it will be a welcome addition to my monthly deep-cleaning routine (and, okay, before guests arrive), it definitely seems like a no-brainer for large households where spills are a regular occurrence. It’ll come in handy if you share a space with furry friends and/or kids, especially little ones who haven’t yet mastered keeping food on their plates. The S7 Steam will also suck up kitchen messes aplenty: everything from coffee and water to sauce splatter, even entire bowls of soggy cereal (embarrassingly, I was forced to suck up the latter one morning). The LED lights also helped illuminate dust I hadn’t even noticed.
A Little Bit of Upkeep
I’d be remiss to not mention another magical mode: self-cleaning. Once your chores are complete, activate it by pressing a separate button (this one in the shape of a water droplet on the actual handle). By the time I dropped it off and sent a few emails from my desk, Tineco’s new machine had already flushed out its inner system with fresh water and rinsed its brush roller. On my end, there’s a small amount of work still to be done afterward. I then dumped the murky water, cleared the dry filter of clumps of dust and dirt, and allowed everything to air-dry before taking it for another spin—except for the brush roller, that is; the S7 Steam dries that on its own.
The Final Word
For households where wet messes aren’t a rare occurrence, whether by way of kids, pets, or geographic location, having the S7 Steam around will absolutely come in handy on a daily basis; it’s most impressive tackling food, mud, and more sloppy straits. Bonus: It’s also more affordably priced at $650 compared to the $799 S7 Pro. But fair warning, you might get hooked on steaming. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I now understand.)
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The Norumbega Inn in Camden, Maine, wouldn’t look out of place in a kids’ storybook. Its exterior alone, complete with a magical turret, is like something out of a fairy tale. So when it changed ownership in 2022, the consensus among loyal guests was: “Don’t change the space; we love it as is!” recalls designer Lisa Galano, whose practice, Studiocake, was hired to refresh the interior.
The building, which was constructed in 1887 as a private residence, still retained many original details, such as coffered ceilings, wainscoting, and wood paneling, but the decor itself was unremarkable. “Our priority was to conserve the sincerity of the existing architecture and finishes while introducing contemporary moments,” explains Galano. Camden is a year-round destination with a first-rate artisan coffee and dining scene, so the aim of the modernization was to balance the integrity of the hotel’s New England style while appealing to a broader demographic.
Galano’s vision for each of the 11 guest rooms was “to feel like the primary guest room of your own residence” and to elevate the lounge spaces with vintage furniture finds and custom upholstery. Here, she explains exactly how she pulled it off.
Play to the Building’s Strengths
Whether it’s in a downtown loft or a country kitchen, exposed brick lends a highly textural, rustic mood to a space. So why did Galano choose to cover it up in the newly created game room? “It was very inconsistent,” she explains of this particular wall’s quality. It also sucked up the natural light: “It gave you this feeling of being [in a] cellar.” Her compromise was to panel over it but to a height “that still allows you to see the sweet little arches that were previously covered over in former owner iterations,” she notes. By painting the new surface in white gloss, the light bounces around, lifting the space.
Go Arts and Crafts-y
In high-traffic areas such as hotels, flooring needs to be incredibly hard-wearing. Expertly made vintage rugs—some of which have stood the test of time for decades—was Galano’s solution for the staircases. She worked with Sacco to find kilim, Oushak, and Anatolian rugs, and cut them up and sewed them back together on-site. The result is a unique and sustainable alternative to buying a new runner. “We did not hold back on what vibe we were sourcing from. We really wanted it to feel like a patchwork of both different countries and patterns,” she says.
In its new guise, the Norumbega boasts a dozen patterned wall coverings from the likes of Cole & Son, Zak & Fox, Wallshoppe, and Holland & Sherry, with no two repeated across any space. But the one that garners the most feedback is an ombré checkerboard by Backdrop in the Sandringham Room. Galano calls it a “maximalist moment with a minimalist palette,” noting how the colors echo the view of the lush landscape outside. Designed to look like a hand-tiled surface, it’s the bedroom’s context that is so disarming. “Checkerboard is usually shown in tile on the floor, and so to use it in this in-between scale on the walls felt really fun,” explains Galano.
Find a Common Thread
Galano wanted each bedroom to possess its own unique character, while simultaneously creating a reassuringly cohesive experience across the inn. So she picked the same finishes for every bathroom, settling on shiplap to cozy up the walls, plumbing fixtures and accessories from Ferguson, and vanities from RH. She also chose the same bed linens throughout. With the sleeping and bathing experience universal in terms of look and comfort, it allowed her team to play with different wallpapers, light fixtures, carpets, throw pillows, and art within each space. It’s a subtle move that has won over the clientele. “The feedback we received is people saying: ‘We didn’t think you could make it better, but you really celebrated it—you brought the Norumbega to the modern day,’” says a beaming Galano.
The average cost of home insulation is between $1,500 and $6,500for a 1,500-square-foot home. The average fee per square foot is around $1.50 and $5.00.
Home insulation creates a thermal envelope that helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature. Insulation helps reduce energy consumption, lower heating and cooling costs, enhance moisture control and increase the overall durability and lifespan of the building.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Insulation Installation
The size and complexity of the house, chosen materials, and any additional features all affect the final cost of insulating your home.
Type of Insulation
All types of insulation are effective in preventing heat loss. However, their methods of application may be more suitable for specific situations.
Reflective Foil ($0.35 and $0.75 per square foot): Radiant barrier insulation utilizes highly reflective foils and rigid foam boards to effectively reflect heat away from living spaces.
Blanket Batts and Rolls ($0.65 and $2.00 per square foot): This type of insulation is designed to fit the standard width between wall studs, rafters and joists and is commonly made of fiberglass cotton, mineral, wool and plastic.
Blown-In Loose Fill ($1.65 and $3.80 per square foot): In this type, a machine is used to blow the insulation material (usually recycled cellulose material like newspapers or cardboard) into a liminal space between the outside and the area to be insulated.
Rigid Foam Boards ($2.40 and $3.75 per square foot): When installed on the interior side of walls, rigid foam insulation boards create a continuous layer of insulation that helps prevent heat loss or gain through the building envelope.
Spray Foam ($3.15 and $7.50 per square foot): When applied to the wall cavities, wet spray foam dries and seals all gaps, providing excellent insulation with high thermal resistance.
Size of the Area to Cover
The total cost of your insulation project depends on factors such as the area size you wish to cover. On average, prices per square foot range between $1.50 and $5.00. Here’s a list of average costs based on the square footage of the area you want to insulate:
100 square-foot area: $40 – $200
500 square-foot area: $200 – $1,000
1,000 square-foot area: $400 – $2,000
2,000 square-foot area: $800 – $4,000
Complexity of Installation
Areas that are usually insulated in a house are the basement, garage, roof, attic and walls. The more complex these areas are, the more the project will cost. For example, if the installer needs to get the material in hard-to-reach areas or needs to remove old insulation, the project will be pricier.
Other Factors That May Affect the Cost of Insulation Installation
Several other factors can influence the total cost of insulation, such as the insulation brand and site preparation requirements.
Here’s a list of the most popular insulating brands:
Owens Corning: Known for its fiberglass insulation, with an average price between $0.25 and $0.50 per square foot.
Rockwool: It specializes in stone wool insulation products. Their prices range between $0.50 and $1.00 per square foot.
CertainTeed: Offers a range of insulation products, including fiberglass, spray foam, and blown-in insulation. The price range for CertainTeed fiberglass insulation is typically in the range of $0.30 to $0.60 per square foot.
Additional upgrades may be necessary for your insulation installation and can influence the overall cost. Some of these include:
Air sealing measures (caulking, weatherstripping or sealing gaps and cracks)
Home insulation labor has an average price of $0.25 and $2.50 per square foot. The total labor costs will depend on the type of material, installation method, equipment used and the complexity of the area to be insulated.
Labor costs usually include site prep, where workers cover all valuables, windows, doors, and important surfaces, ensure the electrical wiring and repair any previously damaged structures that could get in the way of the installation.
Cost to DIY
With the right tools, proper insulation, and enough time, homeowners can opt for a DIY insulation installation, significantly reducing labor costs. Expect to pay between $150 to $700 if you do it yourself.
The cost of hiring a professional can be two to three times more, on top of the cost of the materials. However, since insulation is a delicate task, hiring a professional can assure you that the job was done correctly. Additionally, most contractors will offer warranties on their workmanship and product, so if anything happens, you can contact them to fix it.
How To Save Money on Insulation Installation
Besides DIY insulation, here are other tips to save money on insulation installation:
Consider the insulation’s R-value: While higher R-values generally provide better insulation, it’s important to consider the cost-effectiveness of achieving extremely high R-values. Determine the appropriate R-value required for your climate and budget, and focus on achieving that level without unnecessary over-insulation.
Optimize insulation thickness: Calculate the insulation thickness required to meet the desired R-value and avoid overspending on thicker insulation than necessary.
Properly seal air leaks: By minimizing air leakage, you can optimize the effectiveness of insulation and potentially reduce the overall cost.
Research and compare insulation materials and brands: Research options such as fiberglass, cellulose, spray foam, and rigid foam boards to determine the best cost-effectiveness and insulation performance for your specific needs.
Insulating your house is an environmentally friendly project for homeowners. By familiarizing themselves with crucial factors like necessary R-values, climate considerations, and specific details about their house, homeowners can enjoy a wide range of benefits, including reduced noise levels, better control over moisture and temperature, and improved performance of their HVAC system.
Picking the right paint color for your home’s exterior is a big decision. Unlike your interior walls, it’s more difficult and expensive to repaint your home’s siding.
An exterior paint job should last five to ten years, depending on your climate. Resisting trends and opting for a classic color will ensure that you don’t get sick of your home before it’s time to repaint.
Top 10 Classic Exterior Paint Colors
We’ve rounded up the top ten paint colors that never go out of style and specific hues from some of the most popular paint brands.
Bright white can make a home feel fresh, helping it to stand out. You can use this color on almost all architectural styles, from traditional brick homes to more modern styles. Bright white home exteriors pair with all accent colors, although black is one of the top shutter and trim choices.
The biggest con to painting a home bright white is that it will show dirt and mildew more easily than darker colors. Be prepared to wash your home’s exterior 2-3 times per year to keep your paint job looking fresh.
Paint Colors to Consider: Sherwin-Williams Pure White SW 7005, Behr Ultra Pure White 1850, and Benjamin Moore Pure White OC-64
2. Creamy White
Creams and off-whites lend a warmer, more antique look than a stark, bright white. You can accent a creamy white home exterior with black trim or opt for taupe, greige, and other warm trim colors. Cream also coordinates well with warm wood accents.
Cream has yellow undertones and comes in varying levels of lightness and darkness. Paint sample swatches on your house to find the perfect shade before committing.
Slate Gray is a combination of charcoal gray and blue. Even though it’s cooler toned, it’s still neutral and works well with bright white siding and trim. Slate gray can give your home a moodier ambiance or make it look more modern, depending on your home’s architectural style.
You’ll find slate gray shades with varying levels of blue undertones. If you want your home to lean more toward gray, go for less blue.
Paint Colors to Consider: Benjamin Moore Midnight Oil 1631, Sherwin Williams Wall Street 7665, and Behr Midnight in NY N440-7
4. Light Gray
Light gray is losing popularity for interior finishes but remains a classic exterior paint color. A light gray can make your home look soft without showing as much dirt as true white. You can complement it with darker gray or white accents.
If you have a smaller home, painting it light gray will make it appear larger.
Soft blue is versatile, working on most homes depending on the undertone. It coordinates well with brick, stone accents, and natural wood or white trim. Light, muted blues can give your home a calming feel, while mid-toned to darker shades add drama.
One of the most traditional exterior paint colors is sky blue, which can add color to your home without being overwhelming. You can also opt for blue-gray if you want your home’s siding to lean more neutral.
Paint Colors to Consider: Sherwin-Williams Dew Drop SW 9641, Behr Absolute Zero N940-1, Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue HC-144
Taupe strikes a balance between mid to dark-toned grays and browns. It’s more cool-toned than warm beige and is versatile, working well with light and dark trim. As an exterior house color, Taupe never goes out of style. It offers more warmth than plain white without being bold or trendy.
Taupe pairs well with earthy color schemes like stone siding and brick accents. It also looks clean and fresh with bright white trim pieces.
Paint Colors to Consider: Sherwin-Williams Tony Taupe SW7038, Behr Perfect Taupe PPU18-13, and Benjamin Moore Pashmina AF-100
7. Earthy Green
From light to dark and everything in between, earthy green suits many architectural styles. Dark green has trended for the past few years, but a mid-toned to light green works for a more classic look. These shades of green especially suit craftsman bungalows, mountain homes, and rustic homes in the woods.
You can complement an earthy green home with black or white trims and shutters. A darker shade of green with the same undertones also works well as an accent.
Paint Colors to Consider: Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog SW9130, Benjamin Moore Lewiville Green 494, and Behr Muted Sage N350-5
Greige is the product of combining a warm-toned beige with a cool-toned gray. The result is a neutral color that works with warm or cool color schemes. Greige is the perfect meet in the middle if you can’t decide on gray or tan for your house color. It’s less warm than taupe and comes in varying intensities.
Dark greige pairs well with white trim pieces for a crisp look. You can accent a light greige with white, black, cream, brown, or a warm charcoal gray.
Paint colors to consider: Sherwin-Williams Perfect Greige SW 6073, Behr Greige PPU24-11, and Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172
9. Soft Yellow
A 2018 Zillow study found that buyers pay an average of $3,418 more for yellow homes than other colors, but you must be careful what shade you choose. Bright yellows can come off as too bold and tend to fade faster than other exterior paint colors. A softer yellow is a safer choice and works well with country homes, small cottages, and traditional-style architecture.
You can use white trim and wood accents with a soft yellow exterior. Save bolder colors, like red, for the front door.
Paint colors to consider: Benjamin Moore Cornsilk 198, Sherwin-Williams Pale Yellow SW 7691, and Behr Firefly P310-3
10. Rustic Red
Red is a striking exterior house color that works well on old-country style homes, craftsman, and rustic-style architecture. Warmer-toned reds work best as classic exterior colors and pair well with white or dark trim, depending on the shade.
If you like the idea of red but aren’t ready to paint your whole house, consider it for an accent color.
Paint colors to consider: Sherwin-Williams Roycroft Copper Red SW-2839, Benjamin Moore Caliente AF-290, and Behr Firecracker AF-290.
Wet insulation is never a good thing. Moisture trapped in insulation can reduce the R-value, damage framing, and provide a home for mold and pests. Most insulation can be dried out and reused. Some resist water. Preventing moisture penetration is important for health, comfort, and cost savings.
How Insulation Gets Wet
Insulation gets wet in many ways. Some are obvious–like storms. Some are less obvious–like condensation.
Building Envelope Leaks
Leaking roofs will eventually soak attic insulation. Cracked stucco and missing siding allow water through walls. Improperly sealed window frames, door frames, and wall penetrations let water into wall cavities. Concrete and concrete blocks leak–if not sealed properly. Some types of insulation absorb and hold the moisture.
Gaps and cracks also allow air infiltration into stud and rafter cavities–from outside and inside. The moist air is trapped in the wall where warm meets cold and condenses.
High humidity in the home can cause moisture buildup on or in insulation–especially in houses without vapor barriers. Walls are not immune. Warm wet air rises and can find its way into attics.
Condensation collects on cold plumbing pipes and HVAC ducts. The moisture can then drip onto or soak into the surrounding insulation.
Plumbing leaks inside walls are rare–but not unheard of. Water can soak into insulation for a long time before the leak becomes apparent. Leaking pipes outside of walls increase humidity in the house.
Lack of Ventilation
Attics and unencapsulated crawl spaces should be well ventilated to remove moisture. Accumulated attic moisture can condense on the underside of the roof deck and drip onto the insulation. Crawl space moisture evaporates into insulation installed on the underside of the floor. Wet insulation in both locations is difficult to dry out.
Weather is uncontrollable–driving rainstorms, heavy snow, flooding. Insulation is often soaked by weather events and often requires removal and replacement.
Problems Caused By Wet Insulation
Even types of insulation that resist water absorption can turn into a problem when wet. Insulation that absorbs water will have more problems.
Cost. Reduced insulation value. Higher energy costs. Expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Air Quality. Mold spores and bacteria can cause lung problems, eye irritation, and more.
Chemicals. Moisture increases the possibility of formaldehyde and chemical off-gassing.
Odors. Musty stale smell from mold. Wet fiberglass and wool have distinctive unpleasant smells.
The insulating component of most insulations is air. Moisture absorbed into the product’s air spaces displaces the air and lowers the R-value because water conducts more heat than air does.
Rotted Framing Members
Adjacent framing members eventually absorb moisture trapped in the insulation. Over time the wet wood will begin to rot. The structural integrity of the building can be compromised.
Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew need moisture to grow. They can take root in wet insulation. Even rigid foam boards that do not absorb moisture can host mold colonies on the wet surface. Mold can cause health problems and is difficult to remove. The insulation may need to be replaced.
Termites and other insects are attracted to wet areas. They will nest in wet insulation. Termites attack wood framing and sheathing. They can destroy a structure in 5 years. Infestations are difficult and expensive to eradicate.
Different Types of Insulation and Water
Water and/or moisture affect different types of insulation in different ways. Some soak it up like a sponge. Some are impervious.
Wet fiberglass insulation can lose up to 40% of its insulating value. The batts can be removed and dried if they have not been wet for too long. It may be dried with fans. Soaked fiberglass has an R-value of zero. It clumps and sticks to the framing. Disposal is the only option.
Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper–making it very absorbent. Wet cellulose clumps and loses its insulation value quickly. It can be removed, dried out, and re-used–a long process. It is usually better to remove the wet product, fix the leak, and install new cellulose.
Closed-cell spray foam is moisture resistant once it cures. Water will bead on the surface but will not be absorbed. Mold may grow on the wet surface but will not penetrate the foam. The moisture may still be a problem if it runs off the foam and collects on the wood framing.
Rigid Foam Boards
Like spray foam, rigid foam board insulation is water resistant. Moisture can accumulate on the surface but does not penetrate the product. The moisture can run onto wood and cause rot.
Denim insulation is 75% recycled cotton. It absorbs as much moisture as possible and will slump in the wall cavity from the weight. Wet cotton insulation (denim) must be replaced. It cannot be dried out and reused but it can be recycled.
Mineral wool insulation does not absorb water. It is manufactured from rock and iron slag. Water shed from the batts can accumulate on adjacent framing members. Which may promote rot and mold growth.
How to Detect Wet Insulation
If insulation is wet for long enough the first indication may be the musty stale smell of mold. Mold spores enter the house through any opening and grow in wet locations. It will even grow on drywall that gets wet from condensation in wall cavities.
Black spots or peeling paint on walls and ceilings is another sign of water problems in the insulation. Cold spots on walls can be caused by wet insulation.
Use an infrared thermometer to check for cold spots on walls or ceilings without removing drywall. Significant temperature differences may indicate wet insulation. The cold spots could also be caused by a lack of insulation or gaps and cracks in the exterior finish or sheathing.
Wet insulation enclosed in wall cavities will not dry out. The drywall must be removed to allow air to reach the wet spots. Fans and a dehumidifier speed up the process. Removing the affected insulation can speed up drying time and allow an inspection for the leak and any further damage. Badly compromised insulation will have to be replaced.