Kuppersmith Home Renovation Project 5: Insulation and Drywall

Next up in our extensive renovation of the 1926 Kuppersmith Project house comes insulating the walls and attic, hanging and finishing the drywall, completing work on the porches, and painting the outside of the house.

The episode focuses on:

  • Installing ductwork and HVAC units for the heating/cooling system.
  • Spraying foam insulation in the walls and attic.
  • Hanging and finishing the drywall.
  • Painting the exterior trim and staining the cypress shakes siding.
  • Installing composite railings on the back porch.

Central Heating and Cooling System

One big change to the house is installing a central heating and cooling HVAC system, which the home never had before.

Much of the ductwork, along with one of the heating/cooling units, is located in the attic of the house.

Man sprays foam insulation into the Kuppersmith House attic in Mobile, Alabama

Foam Insulation

To make the Kuppersmith house more energy-efficient, Icynene expanding foam insulation is sprayed between the rafters in the attic and in all the outside wall cavities. Made from caster bean oil, the foam expands to 100 times its size when sprayed.

Insulating between the rafters eliminates the need for attic ventilation and will keep the air in the attic within 10 degrees of the interior of the house during winter and summer.

It also increases the energy efficiency of the HVAC system in the attic, since the conditioned air in the ductwork won’t be exposed to extreme temperatures.

“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, seen beside newly installed drywall at the Kuppersmith House in Mobile, Alabama

Drywall Installation

Once the foam insulation has been installed and trimmed flush with the walls and ceiling, we hang the UltraLight Sheetrock made by USG Corporation.

Before drywall finishing begins, we check the plans to make sure all holes in the drywall have been cut for the numerous plugs, switches, recessed light fixtures, and other wires. This way, we can make sure nothing has been accidentally covered over.

Next, we tape seams in the drywall and finish them with several coats of joint compound and sand them smooth.

Man paints an attic vent with a brush at the Kuppersmith House in Mobile, Alabama

Exterior Painting and Staining

The painting and staining on the outside of the house by CertaPro Painters starts with applying caulking to all the nail holes, joints and cracks.

The trim is then primed using High Hide Cover-Stain oil-based primer from Zinsser, which is great for sealing both the composite and wood materials we used on the house. Two coats of finish paint are then applied, and the cypress shakes sprayed with stain.

Two men install railing on the back porch at the Kuppersmith house in Mobile, Alabama

Front and Back Porches

The ceiling on the back porch is covered with V-groove cypress to blend with the cypress shake siding on the house.

As Frank Vallot of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association explains, cypress lumber is not only beautiful, but the heartwood contains a natural oil that makes cypress resistant to rot and decay.

Cypress wood can be painted, stained, or left unfinished to weather to a silver-gray.

In addition to the Fiberon composite decking used on the porch floor, Fiberon Horizon Plus composite railings are installed on the porch.

The railings are positioned near the outside of the columns to allow room for the retractable Phantom Screens to raise and lower behind them.

A two-part epoxy wood repair system from Abatron is used to repair the deteriorated wood on the front porch columns.

After coating the rotten wood with liquid epoxy to harden it, an epoxy putty is used to fill any voids in the columns.

Two men install kitchen cabinets at the Kuppersmith house in Mobile, Alabama

Cabinet Design

Next, designer Joe Boehm of Better Homes & Gardens magazine works with Merillat cabinets on the design, layout, and finish of the many cabinets for the house.

In addition, he helps with other aspects of the interior design elements.

With the drywall hung, the new kitchen cabinets can be delivered and installation begins.

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