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Insulation tips for homes in temperate climates

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Q: My home was built in 1960 and it's not insulated. It is in Alameda, Calif., near San Francisco. It's one story, has stucco on three sides and has an unusual wood front. Is there any insulating material available that can be applied to the exterior of a house and is not too expensive? What is the best type of insulation for the attic? A: We're not aware of any stand-alone insulation product for application to the exterior of a home. If you were planning to re-side your house with vinyl or aluminum siding, it is installed with a layer of insulation between the new and old siding. But new siding is expensive and, we think, not very good looking. If the goal is simply to insulate the house, we don't recommend it. Short of re-siding, exterior walls can be insulated by boring holes at the top and bottom of each stud bay and blowing insulation into the cavity. The finished result will look OK on the stucco (after it's patched), but the front of your house will have visible woo...