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jtmann 11-20-2009 11:31 AM

Insulating basement ceiling - your recommendations?
 
Insulating basement ceiling - your recommendations?

Hello:

I am looking for recommendations from the forum regarding insulating an unheated basement. I live in eastern Canada - cold winters! I recently bought a small (approx. 1400 square feet) 2-story home (three years old home) that I will live in for a few years while I build my custom home. I would like to make my first floor floors (laminate and vinyl) warmer and increase the overall warmth/efficiency of the first floor (living room, kitchen, hallway). I am considering the following:

-- Insulating the basement ceiling with fibreglass insulation batts. The ceiling is open.

-- NOT insulating the basement walls - currently no insulation on the basement walls (i.e., no sheet Styrofoam)

Remember the basement is currently unheated and I will not heat it - it is storage space only

I only want to do one insulation technique in the basement due to budget (i.e., insulate the floors with batt OR insulate the walls with sheet styro)

My questions for you are:

Q1. Is my rationale right that batt in the ceiling will make the first-floor floors warmer/improve heat above MORE THAN doing the basement walls with styro sheets? My rationale is that batt in the ceilings is directly insulating the first floor floors whereas styro sheets ion the walls is indirect

Q2. IF I do the basement ceilings should I use R12 or R20? I read on a government website that they reco R12 but I think they assumed that the basement walls were already done with styro sheets

Q3. If I do batt the ceilings in basement, I know it will make my basement colder than it is right now but I don't care - it is only a storage space. But if I use R12 or R20 ceiling batts without the walls having styro, should I worry about the basement becoming so cold that my water pipes freeze? Or am I overworrying?

Thanks - great forum!

Bob Mariani 11-20-2009 03:29 PM

I would not even bother with the ceiling. A basement stays about 60 degrees. What you do need to do is insulate with spray foam the rim joist and the area along that joist between every bay. 10% of the homes heat escapes here.

SULTINI 11-20-2009 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Mariani (Post 355845)
I would not even bother with the ceiling. A basement stays about 60 degrees. What you do need to do is insulate with spray foam the rim joist and the area along that joist between every bay. 10% of the homes heat escapes here.

Do Both not that much more and it's worth it.

Scuba_Dave 11-20-2009 04:35 PM

Are there water pipes in the basement ?
My basement used to dip down to 45, maybe lower due to poor windows & lack of insulation at the rim joist
Are the basement walls below grade, or above grade?
Big difference

Myself I'd insulate the walls
Especially if you will be selling the property in 3 years

beenthere 11-20-2009 06:46 PM

If your basement is below grade. Insulate the joist spaces. If more then a 1/3 of it is above grade, insulate the walls. And as stated earlier, seal those rim joist.

meboatermike 11-20-2009 08:10 PM

Insulating walls
 
Most places would want you to cover any foam type insulation used on the walls with sheetrock as a precaution against deadly smoke that it will give if ignited.

jtmann 11-23-2009 06:38 AM

One small addition to my origianl post:

Boy I am confused. I have been researching various owner builder topics for past few years and this topic of where/how to insulate a basement has the most varied opinions I have seen of any topic!

Btw an article in the July issue of The Journal of Light Construction that talked about unvented crawlspaces and different insulation methods: foam board on the crawlspace walls versus fiberglass batts between the floor joists. A testing company tested multiple homes in two different climates: Baton Rouge, La., and Flagstaff, Ariz. The study was looking at the energy use and humidity levels. Here was the conclusion: “To save energy, closed crawlspaces in warm climates should have insulation installed on the walls; in cold climate, the insulation should be placed in the floor system, even when ductwork is located in the crawlspace.”

Many conflicting sources it seems! Thoughts from the forum appreciated!



Quote:

Originally Posted by jtmann (Post 355746)
Insulating basement ceiling - your recommendations?

Hello:

I am looking for recommendations from the forum regarding insulating an unheated basement. I live in eastern Canada - cold winters! I recently bought a small (approx. 1400 square feet) 2-story home (three years old home) that I will live in for a few years while I build my custom home. I would like to make my first floor floors (laminate and vinyl) warmer and increase the overall warmth/efficiency of the first floor (living room, kitchen, hallway). I am considering the following:

-- Insulating the basement ceiling with fibreglass insulation batts. The ceiling is open.

-- NOT insulating the basement walls - currently no insulation on the basement walls (i.e., no sheet Styrofoam)

Remember the basement is currently unheated and I will not heat it - it is storage space only

I only want to do one insulation technique in the basement due to budget (i.e., insulate the floors with batt OR insulate the walls with sheet styro)

My questions for you are:

Q1. Is my rationale right that batt in the ceiling will make the first-floor floors warmer/improve heat above MORE THAN doing the basement walls with styro sheets? My rationale is that batt in the ceilings is directly insulating the first floor floors whereas styro sheets ion the walls is indirect

Q2. IF I do the basement ceilings should I use R12 or R20? I read on a government website that they reco R12 but I think they assumed that the basement walls were already done with styro sheets

Q3. If I do batt the ceilings in basement, I know it will make my basement colder than it is right now but I don't care - it is only a storage space. But if I use R12 or R20 ceiling batts without the walls having styro, should I worry about the basement becoming so cold that my water pipes freeze? Or am I overworrying?

Thanks - great forum!


Scuba_Dave 11-23-2009 07:06 AM

My last house I closed off the crawl space in the winter & insulating the exterior walls
The Temp went from down to negative number to staying around 45-55
My floor joists were already insulated & I did not take that out
Plastic on the ground to keep moisture out

jtmann 11-24-2009 04:44 PM

bump bump

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave (Post 356805)
My last house I closed off the crawl space in the winter & insulating the exterior walls
The Temp went from down to negative number to staying around 45-55
My floor joists were already insulated & I did not take that out
Plastic on the ground to keep moisture out



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