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Chances are good that if your house was built before the 1960’s there is little to no insulation. Before you start, check out the EnergyStar website to see what the recommended levels of insulation are for your climate zone.
You have lots of options as far as materials you can use and I won’t go into too much detail about those here.
Before you do anything else this is where you should begin insulating, especially if you live in the hot southern states.
Once you’ve insulated the the underside of your roof it makes sense to beef up the insulation even more by blowing in cellulose insulation on the floor of the attic.
The trick for blown-in insulation (and any insulation for that matter) is to fill as much as you can without compacting it. Tip: Be careful not to block any soffit vents with insulation if they are present in your attic. The best way is to remove a course of siding or a few shingles from your home’s exterior.
Fill the hopper with insulation, turn it on and start filling the lower hole with insulation.
Occasionally you’ll run into blocking between the stud bays which will block off the flow of the insulation. If you have a basement or crawl space the best way to insulate the floors of the living space above is much the same as the attic, by installing batts into the stud bays of floor joists. The one tip I’ll give you is that if you are insulating in a crawlspace make sure you have rodent proofing wire screens installed around any opening to the crawlspace. I read an article on the internet that says that cellulose insulation in old buildings can become damp (because there are no moisture barriers, as you have in new houses). After putting up stud walls in the firstfloor and insulating them, I turned my attention to the second floor. Allison, it possible but much more difficult unless you have a balloon frame house and easy access across the whole attic. Hi- I bought has house that has plaster walls that are in rough shape and the previous owners wallpapered and then painted over the wall paper so I am having everything dry walled. Hey Brian, what you want to do is put one layer of unfaced insulation between the exterior wall and the plumbing and then one layer of faced insulation with the paper on the drywall side of the wall.
Jeffrey, there are foam companies that can potentially pour foam into the voids in the concrete block if your block house wasn’t filled with mortar fire n the voids.
My son just bought a house built in 1935, he pulled up the carpet and the original wood floors are still there. He can try using fiberglass batts under the floors pretty safely unless there are water leaks.
Sam, Bob is correct that this can cause problems depending on conditions of the house and local climate.
Mary Lou, insulation can be blown in through 3-4″ holes cut into the plaster walls and then the holes would be patched. The advice presented is pragmatic and wise, but I personally would not recommend insulating walls of historic houses in most climates at all unless there is some other pressing reason to open the walls. Insulating old houses, especially complicated Queen Anne homes, is tricky, and preservationists and contractors will differ.
Blowing in insulation is not recommended–there may be knob and tube wiring lurking in the walls someplace, and it is not always easy to tell where, and moisture finds a way to get in and can cause mold and rot, especially near the sill. If you can carefully use some window and door foam near the windows, without obstructing the sash weight pocket, that can do a lot to cut down on drafts, along with repairing glazing putty or even full window restoration to reset the glass and putty completely. The Victorians used heavy curtains and blinds to cut down on drafts, especially at night, and heavy curtains in doorways, and only heated the rooms they used. Scott made a comment at some point about HydroGap from Benjamin Obdyke, which I think I will start using, after exchanging some info with the company and getting a sample to touch and feel with my own hands.
Actually i was looking for this kind of information because in harsh winter insulation is only solution.I really like your effort of keeping all the details at one place. Why not put the spray foam on the underside of the roof instead of the attic floor and keep the attic cool as well. I don’t think either option will be detrimental, but when it comes to insulating attics I always prefer to keep the extreme hot or cold out of the house by insulating the attic instead of the attic floor.
After insulating all of the walls and roof deck, we were still left with the top triangle of our ceiling, which is where the most heat escapes from (hot air rises…). Each step of the insulation process got a bit easier, and this one was really just a matter of creating a base for the fiberglass to sit on, and loading the insulation up onto the landing we created. For the pot lights we had scattered throughout our ceiling, we had to cut out a small opening for the foam to fit snugly on top of each light. Once we would get the foam pieces up, we had a good floor for all of the fiberglass to sit on top of. You can see Jay in the photo below, putting some of the R-30 fiberglass up into the cavity above the foam board. One VERY important thing to note when insulating around pot lights, is that you may have to build a structure around the light, in order to prevent the risk of fire. Since we had extra drywall around, and didn’t want to let any scrapes go to waste, we opted to build a box to go around our lights in order to prevent anything that might be prone to catching fire from touching the light boxes.
After we came back through to close the other side up with foam, this is what our ceiling looked like pre-drywall.
Overall, we are SO happy that we were able to get as much insulation as we did in the space.
Here is a side view shot of how each layer of insulation looked before we added our drywall. For all you newer blog readers, you can read about our other insulating adventures here (and here). In the end, we landed up deviating just a bit from the plan above, mostly since the hubby had some big plans about creating a barrier between the drywall and the studs to make the heat transfer a bit less. The final layer of insulation set us back $225 (15 boards of 1″ foam), so our total cost was just over $1,000 and we have the same effective R-value as the spray foam option, which was quoted at $3,400! Since Jay is the engineer in the family and he seemed pretty confident about the path forward, I took a whatever floats yo boat approach to this DIY. The extra foam made the biggest difference on our end walls, where we just had room to add R-13 before. After adding the foam, we noticed a significant increase in temp in the room so that’s a good sign that the insulation is working!
The great part about our second round of foam was that it was not nearly as time intensive or difficult as the first set.
This round was just a matter of adding some extra R-Value, so sealing and making sure each piece fit in like a puzzle, was just not on the radar.
The best part (other than noticing a significant bump in the heat retained in the room) was that we took down the partial side wall, which opened up the room so dang much. Our final step will be to add some fiber glass insulation up into the top triangle above the pots lights. Probably the thing we are MOST excited about with the next stage of the process is that we are hiring this one out. Even though in many ways, we’d be happy to do it, it will be nice to see something get done quickly, vs. As a northern girl, born and raised in the mitten, it really doesn’t make sense that I hate the cold like I do. So when we got all serious about tackling this master retreat, we decided that spray foam was the only answer to our insulation whoas. Doesn’t look like much, but this guy is going to keep our upstairs nice and toasty (and, if you remember, we like things nice and toasty).
After we ripped out all the old insulation (man, it still hurts to say that), we were able to get a better idea of the overall layout of the space, and a feel for how we wanted everything to flow. In the past few weeks, we’ve been learning more about insulation than I ever thought possible ?? After chatting with a few installers, we knew that we would want 3 inches (minimum) in the ceiling and that on the walls, we would be looking at around 2 inches. So with the 3 inches we were pegging for, that would give us an R-Value of just over 20, vs. And the icing on the cake, at least according to the installers, is that our effective R-Value will actually be over 30, since spray foam is also a wind and vapor barrier, which helps you get an even better seal. If it DOES cut our bills in half, we’d actually be looking at an ROI of about 4 years, since our savings would be around $700 annually. For your viewing pleasure, this is what the space looked like before we started ripping everything out.
Since we are on a timeline to get this room completely ready for spray foam before winter sets in, we knew that our late August start date would put us pretty close timing wise.
As we were removing the drywall, trim and ceiling tiles, we tried to be incredibly careful to make sure that each piece was taken off in a way that it, ideally, could be salvaged later on down the line. What can I say, I’m a visual person and I had to scope out the full picture before I could start to feel good about all the demo.
Now in the first night, we were able to rip out the majority of the drywall, so we could see, more or less what the room would look like as we started to open it up and reconfigure it. So after we gutted all the walls of their first coat of armor, we did something that felt counter intuitive and just, well, wrong. But the blown in cellulose that was lining the ceiling walls and peak – that was an entirely different story.
The actual taking down and ripping into the black sheaths that were holding onto the cellulose was totally a two person job, so there aren’t any action shots of the during, but holy mackeral, have I got some afters for you. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Air is a poor conductor of heat, so the tiny pockets of air trapped in insulation minimise the amount of heat which can pass between the inside and outside of your house.
Heat insulation doesn’t only work in winter: while the walls are kept warm during the cold season, in summer the heat insulation works like climate control.
Around 25 percent of heating energy disappears through the roof in an un-insulated house, making insulating your loft one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy in the home.
If you have poorly sealed windows and doors you may be losing 15-20% of heat through the gaps. Double glazing traps air between two panes of glass to create a barrier to heat loss by approximately half. External wall insulation is a straightforward job and it’s an excellent way to save money on your heating bills. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is manufactured from small spherical beads of styrene which are pre-expanded with Pentane.
Thermographic images clearly show that weakness in the construction, such as thermal bridges, which transfer heat to the outside, cause extreme heat losses.
The Baumit EPS Heat Insulating Composite System EPS is a modern, perfected external wall insulation system.
Ready-to-use, universal pre-coating used as absorption balance and adhesive for top plasters. Ready-to-use, organically bonded skim plaster (top plaster) in paste form with different structures and 200 colours “Baumit colours of more emotion”. 4.2 In the corners of windows and doors, diagonal reinforcement (at least 20 x 30 cm) is embedded before the surface reinforcement.
4.3 Additional reinforcement strips are embedded in the internal corners of windows and doors. We alwasy recommend the materials of Baumit to clients asking for a quote for external house insutaion. The interior of a basement wall can be insulated with rigid foam or closed-cell spray foam. In this article, I’ll try to explain everything you always wanted to know about insulating basement walls. If you live in Climate Zone 3 or anywhere colder, it’s cost-effective and wise to install basement wall insulation.
The 2012 International Residential Code requires basement insulation in Climate Zones 3 and higher. Exterior insulation protects the dampproofing or waterproofing layer from damage during backfilling. Insulating on the exterior allows a builder to install an uninterrupted layer of rigid foam from the foundation footing to the rafters.
Exterior insulation provides more interior space in your basement than interior insulation.
It’s easier to insulate and air-seal the rim joist area with exterior insulation than with interior insulation. Exterior insulation leaves the interior of the concrete wall exposed (assuming the basement is unfinished) so that the concrete can be inspected at any time for cracks. The insulation work integrates more smoothly with the construction schedule, since it happens after the building is dried in rather than when the excavation contractor is eager to backfill the foundation.
It’s easier to provide an uninterrupted connection between the below-slab insulation and the wall insulation when the insulation is on the interior.
If you insulate on the interior, you avoid the hassle of figuring out how to protect the above-grade portion of the exterior basement insulation. If you plan to install brick veneer on your above-grade walls, interior basement insulation makes more sense than exterior insulation. After the basement wall has been protected with a dampproofing or a waterproofing system, insulation is installed from the top of the footing to somewhere near the top of the rim joist.
Below-grade insulation does not need to be attached to the concrete; it is held in place by the backfill.
Above-grade insulation may or may not need to be attached to the concrete — fastening methods include foam-compatible adhesive, TapCons with washers, and specialty fasteners like Hilti IDP fasteners or Rodenhouse Plasti-Grip PMF fasteners — depending on the height of the exposed foam and the method used to protect it. Some builders cantilever their 2x6 perimeter walls so that the basement insulation isn't proud of the siding. The above-grade portions of all types of exterior insulation must be protected from physical abuse and sunlight. The best way to insulate a basement wall on the interior is with foam insulation that is adhered or attached directly to the concrete. Rigid foam can be adhered to concrete with foam-compatible adhesive or can be attached with special fasteners like Hilti IDP fasteners or Rodenhouse Plasti-Grip PMF fasteners. Building codes require most types of foam insulation to be protected by a layer of gypsum drywall.
One brand of rigid foam, Dow Thermax polyisocyanurate, meets code requirements for a thermal barrier and can therefore be left exposed in a crawl space (and in some jurisdictions, in a basement) without the need for a layer of gypsum drywall.
If you plan to insulate your basement walls with spray foam, the best approach is to frame your 2x4 walls before the foam is sprayed, leaving a gap of 1 to 2 inches between the back of the studs and the concrete wall. If you live in an area where termites are a problem, your local building code may require that you leave a 3-inch-high "inspection strip" of bare concrete near the top of your basement wall. The risk of moisture problems is reduced if the concrete is first covered with a continuous layer of rigid foam or closed-cell spray foam. For more information on this topic, see Joe Lstiburek Discusses Basement Insulation and Vapor Retarders.
Paul Ellringer, an energy and mold consultant in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has a collection of slides showing moldy basement insulation. If you build a new basement with insulated concrete forms (ICFs) or the ThermoMass system, your wall already includes insulation, so you don’t need to add any more.
If you decide to use either ICFs or the ThermoMass system, pay close attention to the wall’s R-value.
If you want to insulate an existing basement, you’ll probably be working from the interior. Diagnosing and fixing water-entry problems in existing basements is a big topic in its own right, and is beyond the scope of this article.

If your basement has poured concrete or concrete-block walls, you can proceed with the same methods used for new construction — as long as you’re sure that the walls don’t have a water-entry problem. Remember: if you live in Climate Zone 3 or anywhere colder, installing basement wall insulation is almost always cost-effective.
That means that insulated basements stay dryer and smell better than uninsulated basements.
Unless my aging eyes deceive me, Martin, I think your text is referencing the CZ map GBA uses at the top of the Q&A section while the map you link to is kind of cart before horse. Martin- Lots of great information about how to insulate basements, but you may want to reconsider the savings claims.
I've seen a few studies of basement wall insulation and the measured savings are much smaller than the numbers you cite. In both of these studies, the payback periods were fairly long even when excluding the costs for finishing the wall. A basement wall insulation retrofit can provide lots of benefits -- including more comfortable and finished space, but the payback based on energy savings alone may not be that fast. I welcome other GBA readers to share any links to relevant studies or monitoring data from their own homes or projects. I've designed and built homes with and without basement insulation in my builder days, and there are no comparisons on the comfort side, even though the ROI may not be there. Joe Lstiburek agrees with you -- he says, “Insulating the slab and basement walls controls mustiness and mold in the summertime. I have no experience, but I would worry about vapor that does get to a concrete wall with foam over it (interior insulation).
In short, you could install either interior or exterior insulation on your basement wall, but exterior insulation will probably be easier to detail in your situation.
When a basement wall is covered with rigid foam or closed-cell spray foam, the interior air is no longer contacting the basement wall.
I won't be able to respond to questions posted on this page for a while, because I'll be on vacation for the next two weeks. Since some moisture and air can get between foam insulation boards and create condensation, wouldn't spray foam be better?
I certainly understand that one would not want anything encapsulated that has bad reactions with moisture. Concrete in contact with the ground will always have a moisture content from absorption of ground moisture. Preventing moisture from entering the exterior of the concrete would be adequate to stop this inward diffusing vapor, however, this is not the only source of moisture in the concrete.
So, in the summertime, you have moisture migrating through the basement walls from exterior ground moisture, and you have moisture periodically charging into the interior of the basement walls from the absorption of condensing ambient vapor from the interior. Sealing interior surface of the concrete with an impermeable layer might solve the entire problem.
Insulation on either the exterior or the interior might keep the wall interior temperature from falling below the summertime ambient temperature, and thus prevent condensation of highly humid interior air on the interior side of the basement walls. I really do not know what microbial problems this basement dampness can cause, but I am convinced that it causes some. Now three years later based on what i see (disturbing) in my new fluke infra red thermal camera, i am doing the east half inside. It will be interesting to see the difference in the west and east sides after the floor is in. Additions are better places for added space verses basements which always are a compromise. I have a basement that was previously insulated with rigid foam against the poured concrete wall but it also has a layer of poly under the drywall (my home is in Minnesota and where poly vapor barrier used to be a code requirement.) There is no evidence of mold or damp; should I be concerned?
I purchased a 60 year old home last summer and quickly upgraded the insulation on the basement interior with XPS foam and a 2x4 wall. Outside, I hope to dig out around the foundation, installing a new footing drain and damp-proof the exterior concrete walls.
What should I recommend to my clients who refuse to use anything but FG Batts in their above grade and below grade walls? However, the foam sheets have joints between the sheets, and between the sheets and fir strips. I can certainly see a role for polyethylene sheeting both inside and outside of a basement wall. Here in Maine we have done both interior and exterior insulation many times and have had good results. Hairline cracks and other minor foundation defects commonly develop with time in many of these block foundations and the pests get through them.
To the website admins: I forgot my password and couldn't reset it using the reset password button. Basement space is relatively expensive, but the cost is offset because you fundamentally need a foundation. However, for average construction where cost restraint is king, the basement is often left as being merely adequate space for utilities, storage, workshops, etc.
I can see his point, especially when considering a high performance, superinsulated house where one is spending extra money to achieve a higher performance in several ways. I see no reason why the basement space could not be of the same quality as the aboveground space, and for high performance houses, I would work toward that objective for the basement. However, the exact route to achieving this level of basement space perfection is something that deserves a great deal of study, particularly in the soil and drainage engineering of the surrounding ground. Before the energy crisis of the 1970’s energy was abundant and cheap in America and it was cheaper to heat your old house than it was to insulate it.
You can read all about the differences, performance, and pricing in my earlier post All About Insulation. If you have an unfinished and unconditioned attic like many old houses my first recommendation would be to add batt insulation on the underside of the roof.
The first about a quarter of the way up the wall and the second just below where your ceiling is. Stick a coat hanger in the hole and poke around to see if you are in the right place and adjust accordingly. Once the hole is filled enough the machine will start to whine indicating that that portion of the wall is full. If you have critters able to access your crawl space they can make a mess of your newly installed insulation over the years. You don’t need to go throughout expense and mess of tearing down all your walls just to insulate. I help old house lovers understand & restore their homes so they can enjoy the history and character that surrounds them more everyday! The claims are that the moisture goes through the walls and gets the cellulose wet, causes rot and makes the paint peel. Blowing insulation into the walls of an old house is not something to be done without thinking. We got a couple estimates for whole home insulation and the contractors suggested using spray foam in our basement crawl space. Spray foam can be tricky if not applied correctly, but it is also the best way to get the most insulation for your money.
If there is no insulation in the walls can I drill holes on the inside walls of the exterior walls and do blown in insulation since everything will be covered with drywall anyway? My house was built in the 1950s and has a cynder block walls with maybe 2″ space with plaster walls. Other than that your other options are to pull the plaster down and insulate with maybe a rigid foam board before putting the plaster walls back up, but that’s a real mess and expense. This method is NOT something that everyone should use, but likely one of many possibilities to increase the energy efficiency.
Instead, go into the attic, and check to see if the top of the walls are open into the attic airspace. You are taking a conservative, time-tested approach that will insure airflow to the siding and will all moisture to escape from the wall cavity. Adding thickness creates other problems with complex moldings, and changing the relationship of the window and door casings to the siding–they should always protrude. Balloon framing and complex roof profiles make this more difficult, but sealing the top plate and cracks and vents with foam and caulk (perhaps using the fireproof stuff for extra security) and using loose fill on the attic floor, will help.
A preservation architect told us that without major construction the attic ceiling height is too low for a legal room.
Summer temps were about 130 before spray foam and are now they’re only about 10 degrees warmer than it is outside.
Since our rafters are only a few inches deep, we really thought we’d never be able to get anywhere close to code unless we used spray foam. Since we had extra foam around from our wall insulation process, we used that as the bottom section for the fiberglass to rest on. Since we had enough room to accommodate it, we purchased R-30 fiberglass to sit on top of the R-5 foam – with the walls, that brings our R-value up to at least R-52 and up to R-54 in some sections. Nothing fancy, but you can see that it definitely provides a barrier that prevents anything flammable from touching a light that could potentially get too hot, and cause a fire.
Our last house also had a finished attic, but the amount of insulation was in no way sufficient and we were freezing our badonkadonks off morning noon and night.
I’ve been moderately persuaded by seeing a recognizable difference in temperature at the bottom of our steps where the attic meets up with the rest of the house, too. Although that’s technically code, we noticed that there seemed to be more airflow vs.
Since our original round of foam was put in to keep air flow out, we had to cut each piece to fit in the ceiling rafter exactly. To date, I think removing this wall helped us really envision the space and see how open and large this room is going to feel. Since most of your heat escapes through your roof, we are trying to make sure the ceiling is as insulated as possible. We’re in the process of getting quotes right now, but it looks like we will have someone coming it to install all (or most) of the drywall. Being the frugalista little cheapo I am, I also hate running our heater any higher than 64 in the winter. For some reference, our last house had a finished attic that was poorly insulated and it SUCKED. Since spray foam more or less seals your electrical work inside of the wall, we wanted to make sure we had a clear idea of what our needs would be, so we wouldn’t have to go back and dig through the freshly minted spray foam, compromising our air tight seal.
In complete honesty, our main concern with this home improvement really wasn’t the ROI, it was the comfort we are hoping it will bring to the space. We are in no way depending on that though, and really look at this more as an investment in our happiness factor vs. Our logic was, anything that people would be willing to take away for free, would be less stuff that we had to throw away, minimizing our hauling cost for disposal and obviously creating less waste as well. The room already had some insulation, fiber glass in the knee walls and some blown in cellulose in the ceiling.
In preparation for the great insulation infiltration, we decided it would be best to sport some masks to keep ourselves from sucking down any particles our lungs wouldn’t be super fond of.
For reference, we had to use a snow shovel to scoop it all up, and we were probably at it for 2 hours. Not only does it make your home warmer in winter, it also helps keep it cooler in summer.
The outside walls are well insulated, do not get too hot, and the rooms stay comfortably cool. Without loft insulation you could be losing as much as 15% of your heat through your roof, so this type of insulation is a simple and effective way to reduce your heating bills. This is expressed not only in the saving on heating costs, but also by a more pleasant room and living climate.
Facade plates made from hard polystyrol foam act as a heat insulating layer, and are provided with a vapour permeable base plaster (reinforcement layer), consisting of a filler and fibreglass mesh.
Before the plugs are inserted and after the adhesive has hardened (after 1 day), the panel joints are sanded down until they are level and smooth. After the Adhesive-Filler is cured (7 days after application), Baumit UniversalPrimer is applied evenly across the surface with a roller. Baumit GranoporPlaster is applied using a rust-free steel trowel and rubbed in using a plastic float. Baumit is a reputable German company producing building materials of high quality and long durability.
We are general builders covering all aspects of construction including Property Renovation, Repairs and Property finishes in Bulgaria.
Since these questions pop up frequently, it’s time to pull together as much information as possible on this topic. This advice applies to those who live in most of New Mexico and most of Alabama, as well as all of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and South Carolina, and anywhere colder than these states. In recent years, however, I’ve decided that interior basement insulation makes a lot of sense.
While this approach isn’t required — you don’t have to insulate above-grade walls with exterior foam if you don’t want to — many builders like it.
If you install the wall insulation on the exterior, the footing will usually interrupt insulation continuity. The best backfill material is a fast-draining granular material like gravel or crushed stone with a thin cap of soil or clay. If the basement insulation ends up proud of the siding, you'll have to protect the top of the basement insulation with metal flashing.
Any of the following insulation materials are acceptable for this purpose: closed-cell spray polyurethane foam, XPS, EPS, or polyisocyanurate. Many builders put up a 2x4 wall on the interior of the foam insulation; the studs provide a convenient wiring chase and make drywall installation simple. If your basement doesn’t need wiring, studs, and drywall, then Thermax is probably the brand of insulation to use. If that is done, some builders then install a 2x4 wall on the interior side of the foam insulation and fill the stud bays with fiberglass batts. The idea that a damp concrete wall should be able to dry towards the interior — in other words, that any insulation on the interior of a basement wall should be vapor-permeable — is mistaken. In most cases, these basement walls were insulated with fiberglass batts, and included two layers of polyethylene — one on each side of the studs. The main disadvantage of these systems is their high cost compared to conventional poured concrete walls.
Before installing a layer of foam insulation on an existing wall, the first step is to verify that the basement wall doesn’t have a water-entry problem.
Suffice it to say that if your basement walls get wet every spring or every time you get a heavy rain, the walls should not be insulated until the water-entry problem is solved. The only type of insulation that makes sense for stone-and-mortar walls is closed-cell spray polyurethane foam.
For more information on insulating a sealed crawl space, see Building an Unvented Crawl Space. Performing this work will lower your energy bills, and will also provide an important side benefit: insulated walls are less susceptible to condensation and mold.
Also, how much sheetrock and carpet mold will cost to fix when rigid foam is not installed? There are many pitfalls -- for example, the synthetic stone has to extend below grade to look right, and that sets certain limits on permissible details. Remember, the exterior side of most basement walls and basement slabs are constantly damp -- and builders haven't been worrying about what that means for the last 100 years.

We can do the calculations so we know how small the number is -- "Won't that wall now be even colder than when naked" -- yes, that's the whole idea of insulation -- "with no good way to dry?" -- well, most concrete walls can dry a little bit at the top, especially if the above-grade portion of the exterior is exposed to some air.
Yes, concrete likes being damp, and, no, I don't worry about wet concrete all over the country in bridges, etc; that stuff is not in my house.
Also understand that spray is the only suitable solution on uneven surfaces like stone and mortar as air would circulate in gap behind foam boards. I'm now planning to excavate the exterior of the home to address some drainage issues and run my downspouts into a common footing drain. I'm wondering while I have these trenches dug, is it still valuable to also wrap the exterior of the foundation in foam board too? White makes a convincing case that new houses should be built without basements, and use a concrete pier foundation instead. Perhaps -- although I don't think that properly taped or caulked rigid foam boards will allow air to get in contact with the concrete. Insulating an existing basement floor will rarely be high on the list of cost-effective retrofit options. You can't install carpeting directly over a basement slab, even if you include a carpet pad, because of the risk of summertime condensation on the cold concrete.
AJ Builder is right: you don't want to combine pipes that convey water from your roof gutters with your footing drain.
It's almost impossible to install wallboard in such a way as to ensure that it is a perfect air barrier, especially if the wall includes electrical outlets and switches.
You tell them, "I won't do any work that I can't stand behind, so I'm not going to install fiberglass batts to insulate your basement wall.
So when you are about getting your attic insulated, then there are steps which should be followed.
People fall in love with the character rich architecture of these homes, but they don’t want the crazy heating and cooling bills that come along with that character. Today, things have changed and to save yourself lots of money it’s a good idea to learn how to insulate an old house without destroying it. For the purpose of this post I’m going to be speaking about blown in cellulose and batts since they are the easiest to retrofit into an old house, but just know that you do have other options. You can rent an insulation hopper from most big box stores to blow in your own insulation with little difficulty.
If you have access to an inspection camera with a light to see into holes that’s the easiest way to determine where they are.
That is one of the 5 worst mistakes of historic home owners, but with the information in this post I know you’ll be smart enough to avoid it. When not working, writing or teaching about old houses I spend most of my time fixing up my own 1929 bungalow with my wife Delores and sons Charley and Jude. It really depends on the setup you have and your particular circumstances on whether it may work for you. When in doubt don’t insulate like this, but if the conditions are right I want folks to know that it can work. I’d look around for an insulation contractor in your area that can do this kind of work. Insulating the sill and adding insulation between floor joists by the exterior wall (a tricky job, but if you are redoing siding anyway, do it then) will keep cold air from coming up from the basement and circulating around the entire house, including underneath every floor.
Also make sure the routed drip edge under the sill is not full of paint and horizontal surfaces all slope 2-10 degrees to shed water. The least expensive way to do this is to rip up the existing tongue and groove wood attic floor, spray in the foam, and replace the floor with plywood.
You’ll likely get an insurance discount as well since certain foams act as a secondary water barrier.
He also wouldn’t recommend using foam insulation on an old house for a variety of reasons, though he acknowledged that many people love it. We were pleasantly surprised though to see that with a bit of ingenuity and a lot of time and patience, we were able to get the desired level of insulation for our zone.
We don’t even have the heat pumping up there yet, and I can already tell that the insulation we added is going to make a huge difference.
The good, we are o-fficially on our last round of insulation and after this is up, we’re onto DRYWALL.
Here is how it looked before, completely closed off as a narrow and hard to navigate closet. We are hoping to get R-30 up above the ceiling (in addition to the R-23 we already have lining the walls) , which should keep everything nice and toasty.
So, in addition to scouting out potential installers, we had to do lots of research on our end to make sure everything was planned out and ready to go. We’ll actually gain about a foot of air above us, giving us just under 8 foot tall ceilings. After living in a house with pretty shoddy insulation, it’s kind of been bumped to the top of our list for all our homes, now, and in the future. But when we had the crew come through and do an energy audit on the house last winter, the attic was all purple.
Just put our gloves on (since fiber glass can make you very itchy) and got carefully removing all the insulation.
This is a little bit like a flask which keeps drinks hot or cold by providing an insulating layer between the drink and the outside air. The expanded beads stick together under heat and pressure inside a mould and the finished product consists of approximately 98% fresh air. To this is added a weather-resistant, vapour-permeable top plaster made from a skim based on artificial resin.
The high quality adhesives and plasters when installed properly guarantee for the long life of the facade of your house with colour that would not become fade in three year of application. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs.
The top of the flashing needs to include a vertical leg that extends upward and is lapped by the housewrap; the flashing should be sloped, and the bottom of the flashing needs to terminate in a drip leg that extends beyond the insulation and the insulation protection materials. For more information on Rodenhouse Plasti-Grip PMF fasteners, see New Green Building Products — June 2013.) To prevent interior air from reaching the cold concrete, make sure to seal the perimeter of each piece of rigid foam with adhesive, caulk, a high-quality European tape, or canned spray foam. When this type of insulation is installed in contact with concrete, the moisture in the interior air condenses against the cold concrete surface, leading to mold and rot. You don’t want poly between the concrete and the insulation; nor do you want poly between gypsum drywall and the insulation. It seems to me that the ThermoMass sandwich makes much more sense than the ICF sandwich: since foam is more fragile than concrete, it makes more sense to protect the fragile layer with concrete than to put the fragile material on the outside of the sandwich.
You drive by concrete bridge abutments every day, and I doubt that you stay up at night worrying about the damp concrete.
There is no magical hidden condensation going on under the foam, because the interior air isn't there. I did every detail right--except insulate under the footing--and I'm not losing sleep over that detail. You brush by this briefly, but what's the concern with a 2x4 stud wall installed 1" off the concrete filled tightly with ComfortBatt? I know this exterior work should have been done before interior insulation but we were short on time for energy rebates and it needed to be done during the winter. Moreover, many builders are leery of spray foam because of the possibility of lingering odors.
Rigid foam boards are an effective air barrier and vapor retarder, so there is no need to use polyethylene if you have rigid foam. But if you are aiming for the Passivhaus standard or willing to spend the big bucks required for a deep-energy retrofit, then it may make sense to insulate your existing basement slab.
The concern is that the insulation is incapable of preventing moist interior air from contacting the cold concrete.
If you do, you will be introducing more water to soil near your footings, and that's definitely not what you want.
So if you want more R-value in your basement walls, you should definitely go ahead and insulate the exterior of your foundation when it is exposed for the repair work to your footing drains. Moreover, why do you think that the air between the wall studs and the air between your fiberglass batts will be dry? The fact is, you don't want to use polyethylene or fiberglass batts to insulate your basement wall, because we have ample experience in the field about how these materials perform. You’ll need to drill two holes in each of these stud bays, one on the top and one on the bottom course of siding. It may require removing a few additional courses of siding to access these areas, but you’ll have to determine that as you go. The house is only 17 feet wide, Would it be better to strip the wall right down to the brick?
The other blogger says the insulation material will attract moisture and will create mold and attract termites. Plug the holes there to stop the air movement using foam, insulation board, or insulation plugs stuffed in a plastic bag. Rock wool is a possibility for this because it is easy to install and is naturally mold and fire resistant. The contractor said it would cost $2K more to save the existing wood floor and reinstall it after spraying in the foam. We were thinking that if we left the attic unfinished and used spray foam or cellulose on the roof decking, we’d be wasting oil to heat all that unused space above our living space.
So I would rather insulate against 95 degrees by insulating the underside of the decking tun try to insulate against 130 degrees on the attic floor.
No seriously, we keep the house at 64 throughout winter and it makes me want to punch people because I’m so cold.
Since fall is officially upon us, we decided that there was no better time than the present to gut this baby, since we’re going all out and popping in some spray foam. I got a little stir crazy with the first piece and just let er’ rip one afternoon when I got home from work.
That’s why I advise builders that fiberglass batts, mineral wool insulation, and cellulose should never be installed against a basement wall.
Nobody is running out with a hairdryer to keep the concrete bridge abutments dry every time it rains. The basement on average is 15% more humid than the upstairs and never goes above 55% unless you open the windows. Here's a link to an article that discusses insulating basement slabs as part of a deep-energy retrofit: The High Cost of Deep-Energy Retrofits. The result will be condensation that runs down the concrete wall and pools near the bottom plate of your wall. Conductor pipes that convey water from your roof gutters should be solid PVC pipe, not perforated pipe, and should slope to daylight or to a drywall far from your foundation. There is no way you can install poly against a concrete wall in a way that will prevent moisture from entering your basement. It is non-itch which makes this type different from the conventional one which makes it more comfortable in the process.Blanket insulation, well, this is the conventional type of insulation and the most widely used by homeowners. If we insulated under the attic floor instead, we’d keep the first floor warm and sometime later use denim insulation between the attic rafters to make the attic more pleasant for occasional use, but not for a full bedroom. As long as you seal up any air infiltration on the attic floor you won’t be paying to heat or cool that space. When we both got legit, real people jobs, we actually decided to bump up the heat from 62 to 64 in the winter. I found this chart helpful for determining different R-values of insulation materials, for reference. More on that next week ?? In our last house, our Master was also in a converted attic space and the insulation factor was null. It means old man winter is just hanging out in your house and making your energy bills go all cray cray. Mostly because I felt completely and totally trapped, and it was hot, and I have god awful allergies. A 5 cm wide strip of adhesive is applied around the edge of the panel, and three dabs, about the size of a side plate, a placed in the middle.
XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation.), expanded polystyrene (EPS), closed-cell spray polyurethane foam, or mineral wool. There isn't any way to be sure the air in the wall is dry unless you install a miniature dehumidifier between each pair of studs. We have also have a new electrical line we are adding from the circuit box in our basement to the attic to add new outlets to a couple of rooms and it follows the same path along the north wall.
Then caulk walls, addressing air infiltration by diligently sealing as many cracks as possible in the siding, wall outlets, etc. So, we keep going round and round weighing all the options and can’t seem to decide how to proceed.
The bottom line, fiber glass just wasn’t going to cut it if we wanted a nice and toasty retreat. So there isn't a stack effect or a pressure differential or wind operating to move any air. The fact that there won't be much air movement is a good point; not much air, not much water. If carpet and pad are installed directly over the concrete, what advice do you have for the pad? ICF foundations are foam on two sides, they have information on their sites as to how to protect the foam. Make sure you wear protective clothes when installing this blanket insulation.Laying the blanket insulation, you will need to make sure that the place where you will install the insulation is clean from dirt, debris and etc.
Sometimes they aren’t evenly spaced which means more work trimming your batts to size.
The siding should have been nailed through the sheathing and into the studs so use the location of the original nails as a guide. In retrospect, it might have been more prudent to use moisture and mold-resistant sheetrock on the walls--though I was smart enough to use metal studs. First day of summer the thing was scorching, first day of winter you were looking for your long undies. Get holes cut in the barrier in order to get any electrical hardware accommodated.Building up layers, if you need to get the depth increased you can get the second layer installed so that your home will be more “durable” against the super cold weather. We are using a basic roll, not blowing since it’s exposed to the studs (it was drywall, not plaster). Needless to say, we wanted this space to be done right so that we can have lower energy bills (score) and be more comfortable (double score). You must make sure that you do each step with your full attention so that the result will be satisfying.Get the pipes insulated, if you ask me about the best choice for your home installation project then the answer might be custom-made pipes insulation which means you will save more money too since the effectiveness which is brought here.
I am thinking since its the north wall and it gets the extreme cold (Illinois) weather I should sandwich the new plumbing and electrical. That said, were I to insulate a concrete wall on the inside, I'd make sure the humidity was low inside, just in case.
My question, sorry for the lengthy post, is: The paper backing on the insulation, should it stay on or be removed on the layer that would be directly against the outer wall? You'll never make the environment outside your thermal envelope completely dry unless you move to Arizona. What I mean is, the paper faces the heated area but needs to be covered per code, per installation instructions… If I have one layer of insulation on the outside wall, then the water pipes and electrical wire, then insulation.

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