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Old 02-28-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Have an old home built in 1900 It was one of those homes that the family added on a room for every child born. Originally only a summer home for the family.

One of the 1st floor bedrooms is on a stone foundation. The access is through a very small opening 10" x 18" There is about 20" of clearance from the ground which is all stone ruble and the floor joists. I'm torn on what to do but the floor is freezing and you can feel the air coming up through the floor.

I'm certainly not going to fit my butt in there, and I can just imagine the feeling of laying on jagged pieces of rock trying to insulate, but I do have teens

What approach should I take. Even thought about cutting out the floor Not really sure where to begin. I'll get pictures posted soon.

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Old 02-28-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Start by having them start raking out those stones.
Your going to need to lay down a 6 mil. or thicker vapor barrier.
Insulate the rim joist first by cutting 2" thick blue foam and sealing the gaps with expanding foam.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...sulation_table

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Old 02-28-2014, 01:00 PM   #3
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


by doing that joe you insulate the out side cold from coming through the stone work and in to the crawl space??
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:04 PM   #4
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...n-crawlspaces/ May need a covering, check with local AHJ.

http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...al-performance

How to insulate rim joists simply

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Old 03-06-2014, 09:02 AM   #5
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


here is a pic of what I have They put 1" thick to the floors which in my opinion does squat!! They have a heavy plastic sheet over the rock in the crawl space.
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*-crawl-space.jpg  
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:03 AM   #6
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


The double sided foil faced insulation is good at 2" thick. In the coldest parts of New England one needs 2" to stop the dew point from passing through into a heated space. Without sealing your foundation rim joist right down to,( in your case the existing dirt/rock/vapor barrier) the cold in the rock and at rim joist level will migrate into your living space above.
Is there any ducting or anything supplying any heat to the living space in the area in question?
The seams of the insulation need to be sealed with foil tape or spray foam, and the cement wall/rim joist needs the same treatment, or closed cell spray foam from the floor above to the foundation rock below.
Once you get it properly sealed if it's still cold, then consider a mini-split ductless heat pump, which can provide heat to -15* and AC in summer. Fujitsu makes several currently and we have two in our house. Small unit inside the room and compressor/condenser outside.

Last edited by Chewbacka; 03-06-2014 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Thank you!! So are you suggesting that only the rim timber to the rock needs to be insulated or the insulation needs to be along the face of the rock as well?? There are pipes for the steam heat that run in this area however we heat with wood so the steam is hardly used.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:21 AM   #8
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


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Originally Posted by johnpma View Post
Thank you!! So are you suggesting that only the rim timber to the rock needs to be insulated or the insulation needs to be along the face of the rock as well?? There are pipes for the steam heat that run in this area however we heat with wood so the steam is hardly used.
Basically anything that acts as a heat sink, absorbs cold and transfers it to surrounding house structure or air in the conditioned, (heated/cooled) space will benefit from being isolated by an insulation barrier. As to the ledge rocks I suppose one could cut foamboard to box in the area as best as possible to sort of cap off the cold ground/rock from transferring cold up to the room area. That would have to be a site specific call. It might not be worth the effort for the end result if you get the rest of the concrete insulated and air sealed. Sealing flow of cold air is key. This is why foam works better than fiberglass to seal out cold air. Think of fiberglass as a Brillo pad- not much air being stopped in one of those!
I can't tell from your one pic, but it looks like water is running down the concrete wall(s)? It might be easier to insulate down from digging down outside and using the Tuff-R or similar foil faced 2" foamboard, BUT unless you have a solid concrete foundation down to where the ledge appears to be outside digging can open up cans of worms, not just one can, many cans!
You can buy the spray foam packages that contain the two BBQ grill sized cans to do some spray foam work yourself, but doing it IN the crawlspace would require a professional with a full respirator.
Since you heat with wood and the steam does not get to the room a mini-split, like I mentioned might be worth the investment if the room gets a lot of winter or summer use. The insulation work is a one time cost, so the better job done saves more over a longer time, but if done poorly still costs in wasted heat and frozen bones.
Is there insulation in the walls currently? If so how much?
Can you push any heat from the wood stove to the area by small doorway arch computer type/size fan?
Access how much you use the room now and how much more you'd use it if it were warmer, for reasonable cost, or could be warmed/cooled as needed by a mini-split or other source of heat.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:42 AM   #9
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


this particular area ins a small half bath, and my bed room Kids are up stairs where all the heat is The walls are true 2X4 wall and yes they have R13 and are sheet rocked.

On the outside they poured an 8" thick apron around the parimeter of the room with a slope to move water away from the home. great idea but done wrong in my opinion as it is not flashed to the home. So yes water can make it's way as can cold air between the apron outside and the timber (in the above pic) which sits on top of the stone foundation.

Thank you for the detailed explanations your knowledge is very helpful
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:01 PM   #10
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Glad to help. I see now your band beam is not concrete, that it looks like PT?
FWIW, I would find a way to excavate down far enough outside to see if you can stop the infiltration of water. Especially since you are now insulating the crawl space, any moisture and especially water will have no place to go. Before you put down the vapor barrier on the ground the water could be absorbed into the earth. Now it will just try to evaporate and cause mold and mildew in the crawl space which is not desirable.
If you look up past episodes of Holmes on Homes, a Canadian TV production available in the US on Dish Network and possibly other places, or go to their website and look up episodes dealing with leaking foundations/basements, etc. you will find shows that show a flexible membrane being installed onto the exterior foundation wall over a foundation coating that looks like but isn't tar. These flexible plastic coverings usually are used to direct any water to the footing drainage tile,(perforated pipe) and then carry the water away to a drain/sewer system, storm water runoff drain, etc.
In your case, if you could get the flexible barrier to where your band beam attaches to your house structure then you could keep all water, or most from getting into the house foundation footprint.
Can you shoot and post some pics of that area outside/
AND, I thought maybe you could steal some heat from your kid's room above by cutting in a duct and running it into your room below. It could even be where you install a register above and below the floor in an open joist bay and then attach a reasonably sized duct to drop down to your bath/room and push the hot air from their room down through the duct to your space via small wood stove/ computer type fan.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:12 AM   #11
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Yeah, thought about that however this was an added room (satellite room) and there is nothing above. looked again last night and I see that there are air gaps up to 1" between the main beams and stone foundation. The beam is not PT so I'm sure there is some rot there. In the spring I will begin the task of opening up the walls from the outside to get a better look at whats really happening. joecaption offered some great help on ways to repair those rotten areas. never easy when you have a 100 year old home they did things a little different back then I'm going to make an attempt at crawling my butt in there when it warms and getting a good look at whats really going on.

Because the walls are 2x4 I also thought about adding a layer of 1" foam to the interior walls and installing fur strips and re-sheetrocking, and adding extension jams to the windows to increase the R factor on the walls too.....

Will it ever end
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #12
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Freezing cold floors *HELP*


Why not just tear out the existing sheet rock, and do a spray foam 1st layer then some rockwool, then re rock. Or drill holes outside and blow in cellulose, then fill holes with plugs, paint or stain, done?
Those holes are definitely contributing to heat loss and will attract squirrels, ratz, and or other pests.
It's never done!

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