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walt1122 12-02-2011 06:14 PM

cold wind blows between floors
Hi all, So here is my story. Had a modular house build in 2000 and it is made up of 7 boxes that are placed on our lot over a superior wall foundation (two story w/basement). I've know for a while that there is alot of air infiltration so I have done the usual things like adding more insulation in the roof, caulking and those foam outlet and light switch covers etc, Recently, I had a water leak in the first floor ceiling. I had to remove a section of sheetrock to trace the problem and when I stuck my head up there I felt this "wind" blowing past me. I couldn't believe how much cold is up there. The water leak! was from frozen pipes between the floors! So now I have to figure out what to do. I fixed the pipes and insulated the heck out of the bay they are in but the cold still travels from one side of the house to the other. I know when they put the second story on they did put some fiberglass insulation batts on the perimiter but it doesn't seem to be slowing up the wind.

I'm afraid I have to try and put blown in insulation from the second story floor? or from the outside walls behind the vinyl siding. Big job either way and figured I would get some opinions first.



titanoman 12-02-2011 06:55 PM

I know it doesn't help now, but it sounds like there's either no house wrap or the seams weren't taped.

walt1122 12-02-2011 07:57 PM

Thanks titanoman, yeah, poorly applied and not taped here on site. It came with the siding already applied over most of the house so I can't be sure what went on at the factory but when we did visit the site before ordering the house we were impressed with the facility and how they did build the house. When it got here they were supposed to secure the belly bands (plywood sections) around the first and second floor and use the housewrap and tape it tight. Builder's were to stupid to know how to do it right ad we did fire them a few months later when we couldn't take their crappy work any longer. For instance, the box sections came with a 6 mil plastic wrap on all the open sides. Instead of leaving them in place as a vapor barrier they spent a couple hours and had a horrible time ripping them off and dropping all the staples all over the site. Can't tell you how many flat tires were cause by this stupid act.



joecaption 12-02-2011 08:27 PM

Not to stick up for the peole working on the home , but the modulers I've worked on with that plastic wrap had to have it removed because it does not breath like house wrap does.
It would have made a double vaper barrier and caused moisture to form in the walls.
On the first floor remove some of the outlet covers and feel to see if there's a breeze. Lots of moduler have a piece of gray PVC running from the basement up to the bottom of the outlet boxes that org. had blank covers on them. There were for simplify running cable and phone wires.
If you think there's tape or house wrap missing it's simple enough to remove some of the siding where the sections meet and see.
I'd also check out where the foundation plates meet the foundation, I've seen spaces so big there that I could see cars going by.
It's ashame this happen to people all the time. Most moduler companys make a good house but tend to send the lowest bidder to come finish them and screw the whole thing up and people end up talking bad about moduler homes.
I've seen then not make electrical connections under the house, even though the wire was hanging with a red ribbon on it to make it easy to find, Attach the gutters with sheetrock tape, bust off the nailing fin on a window on the top side and try to hide it with a tube of caulking, install the siding to tight and to long and have to come back and redo the whole house even though I stood there and told them about it while they were doing it.

Gary in WA 12-02-2011 09:08 PM

"I know when they put the second story on they did put some fiberglass insulation batts on the perimiter but it doesn't seem to be slowing up the wind." ---- F.g. insulation is very air permeable, does nothing to stop wind. If you will have access to the rims from the outside, air-seal them with canned foam and rigid foam board if in a heating climate;

That is, only if you have no exterior foam. There is R-1.25 per inch of solid wood, times your rim perimeter times depth....


walt1122 12-03-2011 06:01 PM

Thanks all,

joecaption the plastic I was talking about was on the interior wall where the two boxes are bolted together. If they left the plastic there it would have slowed up the flow of air through the walls. Most times I have a trombone effect and warmed air rises through the walls into the area between floors. Plus a problem developed when wind blows against the side of the house where the boxes meet. It appears they didn't put any corner "flashing" to keep the wind out. Wind came in and would fill the whole space with cold air. I did open up the first bay and add insulation there to slow down the entry of outside air but haven't been able to fix the entire wall yet. I have tried to close up the leaks between the boxes from the basement but the marriage wall still is colder than other interior walls leaving me to believe it still leaks air and cold is getting in. On the second floor I had the same problem but I used foam to close up gaps from above in the attic and added more insulation over it all. Plus, don't forget about the flat tires from the giant staples that held the plastic on were an added problem.

Yes, wind blows through outlets. I have put in the foam cover plates but wind still blows through the outlets and switched themselves. I have put child proof covers on the outlets and that helps but I can't find anything to help the switches. I would hate to have to break open the area behind the outlet boxes just to insulate them.

I foamed the foundation plates and added rigid foam.

I agree, there is a disconnect between the modular builders and the guys doing the work on site. Haven Homes from PA built a good house but my builder screwed it all up. The electrician they hired just took any two connectors and put them together without worrying about load even though the connectors were numbered. So number 7 male plug was connected to the number 12 female plug and the 12 male was connected to the number 11 female and so on.

Basement concrete floors undulate 3 inches up and down and up and down with-in the 20 odd feet of space.

Footprints in the concrete on the front porch.

Caved-in basement walls not once, not twice, but three times because they kept back filling before they properly supported walls (superior walls) or poured floors.

No glue on PVC pipes, vent pipes that weren't connected or stopped in attic not thru roof.

Unbelievable!!! Best part!!! we learned later when we tried to sue, the builders were on a "no build list" here in New Jersey because they did such crappy work but that information was not disseminated to the local inspection offices but only know at the building administration in Trenton the State capitol.

GBR in WA thanks yes improperly applied insulation does little to keep out the wind but it does help slow down the wind if it is done properly. In my case it would have been better if the did nothing. I could add blown in easier.

Easy is a relative term, when I was 20 I would't have thought twice about ripping off the siding and fixing things. But at 60 and still fixing up so many other screw-up that they left behind or got paid for and never did, so I have to, I have to pace myself.

but thanks for the responses.


joecaption 12-03-2011 06:50 PM

A simple fix for the outlet leaks in to go in the bacement and shoot spray foam into the PVC tubes.
I'm 58 and still climbing lader, doing roofs and all the rought stuff because I'm do dumm to know better I guess.

walt1122 12-03-2011 07:22 PM

Not so simple, not in PVC. Wires run just like conventional methods, stapled to studs with outlet box nailed to studs.

Guess I'm too dumb also, currently recovering from a broken ankle (big hunk of metal and 10+ pins to hold it all together while it heals). It happened couple months ago from a fall while I was staining the underside of our two story deck down in Tennessee. So getting up on a two story ladder is not as easy as it sounds. At least not right now. But I hear ya'. Did I mention they put the flashing for the front porch in front of the tyvec without any caulking so when it snowed last year the snow on the roof melted and went behind the siding hit the tyvec ran down till it hit the flashing went down behind the flashing and on to the sheetrock for the first floor ceiling? (what a mess that made). To fix problem I had to remove the siding cut the tyvec couple feet up the side wall, added a rubberized membrane and ran it down the outside sheathing down to the flashing then put the tyvec back over it all with lots of tape. Then removed first two rows of roofing to get the membrane down on the porch roof side too. Couple tubes of roof tar and the shingles back on and that took care of that issue. Done a few roofs in my day. So I know roofs too.



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