There are reasons for the rules

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I’ve been looking at people’s homes during the repair process for the past 30 years, and observe that people we rely on to be experts don’t always get it right. Fifty percent (no exaggeration) of the insulation I see is not installed correctly. It’s hard to believe that somebody your contractor just hired this morning didn’t know how to put in insulation, but that’s what I’m seeing. One homeowner asked me to look at his insulation, and his contractor asked if I could come at 4:30 in the afternoon. I suggested 8:30 in the morning. Why? Well, I arrived first, stood in the middle of a large, vaulted room and saw more than 50 places where daylight was shining in and there were gaps in the insulation.

Why is this a big deal? Because the vapor barrier has to be continuous, completely overlapping, to avoid condensation and mold from forming. If the vapor barrier isn’t sealed, then just leave a window open all winter, since it’s the same thing. But would you mind also paying my utility bill if you have the money to burn? Frost forms on the inside of the wall, and you’ll wonder why you feel cold. So get a no-cost permit, inspection, and be warm and safe. Good luck!

© 2013 Monte Leeper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to, with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, architect.

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