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Old 12-07-2015, 08:56 PM   #1
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Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation


I've got a 1948 Cape Cod with a 2001 extension and want to finish off an attic/crawl space at the front of older part of the house to be a space that my small children can use to play Legos and read in for the next few years, which will then be a storage space after that.

The question I can't seem to find an answer to is how to insulate it? There is no airflow from a soffit to this room (though there is one on the outside of the house) and there is no vent on the center roof line. As far as I can tell, this is a sealed area (though not necessarily very well sealed) and I want to frame it out, add some knee walls, and ultimately add drywall. I'm worried that if I frame, insulate and drywall the area that I'll end up with mold. And if I don't do those things, the area will remain cold/hot depending on the season.

You enter the space from a bedroom that the previous owners said was always the coldest room in the house, through a 3.5 foot (tall) door.

I think I have the plan for the framing, I just want to be more sure of the insulation/vapor barrier/air flow suggestions before I go too much further.

Any advice?

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Old 12-08-2015, 08:38 PM   #2
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framing and insulation


Would you be willing to take and post a few pictures? It would definitely help.....

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Old 12-08-2015, 11:03 PM   #3
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Sure - can't do it tonight without waking people up, but will take some and post on Wednesday. This question has been bugging me and holding up the rest of the project!
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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IMG5672: So the first is an image of the short door from a finished room into the attic space.

IMG5674: This is after going in the door. The back wall is block that I have already put a starting frame up, but not fully stick framed yet. I added the foam board insulation to the block wall and sealed up the gaps. On the bottom left is a flexible air duct that serves the first floor bedroom. Plan to hide this behind a knee wall.

IMG5675: Roofline in the room. There is no space or vent cap on this

IMG5676: This is the bottom right side with the insulation removed. The new foam fill is something I did, but there was really no gap there before, only a tiny gap which wasn't a vent.

IMG5677: This is the rafter next to the previous photo, with the insulation still in.

IMG5678: photo is upside down, don't know why. This is the view off to the left as you come through into the attic. that flexible vent is what feeds the room below, and it goes all the way up to the very top of the house to the bigger attic that has the air handler in it. I plan to put a small door on this so where this photo is taken from will have a wall and access door. Not sure why it's coming to the forum upside down

Does that help?
Attached Thumbnails
Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5672.jpg   Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5674.jpg   Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5675.jpg   Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5676.jpg   Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5677.jpg  

Attic/crawl space insulation framing and insulation-img_5678.jpg  

Last edited by JustOneCube; 12-09-2015 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Added extra photo caption
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:07 PM   #5
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I am no expert on insulation. but from my experience seeing new construction done the best energy efficient design would allow airflow between the insulation and the roof sheathing. Highly recommend getting holes through the soffit and cutting in a ridge vent or gable vent as its required by code. I could be wrong but i think you would put your vapor barrier against the sheetrock.
Which ever way you go about it i would highly recommend using a radiant barrier as well, either foil or spray on. so radiant barrier against the batten board/sheathing then 1 1/2" air space then insulation then moisture barrier and finally drywall.

spray on radiant barrier:http://www.energyefficientsolutions....rier-paint.asp

foil radiant barrier:http://www.radiantguard.com/products...FUiFfgodjt0Cmg

good article on subject:http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...hedral-ceiling



this is what happens if you dont do it right.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:44 AM   #6
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I doubt the room meets minimum code requirements; door egress size, insulation, floor joist size, headroom, wall/ceiling heights, etc. How would a fireman ever find (anyone in) that room... welcome to the forums!

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17,000 dryer fires a year, when did you last clean the inside of the dryer near motor or the exhaust ducting?
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
I doubt the room meets minimum code requirements
I'm not expecting to put a bed or anything else in the space or to call it another room. Short term, the kids can play in there (as they do now) and in a couple of years when the kids are too big, it'll just go back to being storage. Right now, it's got almost 0 insulation and it makes the adjoining room colder. I could just remedy that and leave the attic space as is, but I want to use it if possible. Floor joists are not an issue as they are the same joists and thickness that hold up the rest of the 2nd floor.

Quote:
new construction done the best energy efficient design would allow airflow between the insulation and the roof sheathing
This would be ideal, but I'd pretty much have to replace the entire section of roof as there is no soffit ventilation, and no top vent. The only way to put gable venting in would be through the block wall which is the only one that faces outwards.

I was looking at a cathedralized/unvented attic space which is what I believe I already have, but I only just found these two links today. I already don't have a soffit, ridge or gable vent in the space. Looks like its a little bit controversial though in terms of whether it is good or bad, but its certainly not a fringe building method.

http://buildingscience.com/documents...r-all-climates

http://www.nachi.org/unvented-roof-assemblies.htm
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:37 PM   #8
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" Short term, the kids can play in there (as they do now) and in a couple of years when the kids are too big, it'll just go back to being storage."---------- that 40 year old insulation on the ceiling drops thousands of GLASS fibers with any air movement/impact bump on the floor/lungs. At the very least, get them respirators for minimum safety and wash there clothes separately. Insulate the adjoining room's wall. I'm a stickler for safety; https://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass...rs-review.html

Gary
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:08 PM   #9
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Fair call on the not letting them play in there. I was doing my post this morning before a meeting and meant to say that it's just used as storage now. My wife let them play in there once (before I filled it with stuff) and then I stopped them because of the open insulation.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:01 PM   #10
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So - I just had a contractor come over (the guy who did my original home inspection) and his suggestion went like this:

1. There's not airflow now, except for what comes in from the bedroom and down from the upper attic (no soffits or gable vent) so there isn't any "typical" attic airflow to cut off.

2. To be on the safe side as much as possible under the circumstances, install baffling to the underside of the roof, but rather than the typical use of moving air from a soffit to the gable vent, this would simply allow more airflow behind the insulation. So I would have to leave a small gap in the insulation at the top and bottom to allow the air to circulate. That will cut down the R value of the area from what it could potentially be, but its old insulation which wasn't very well added in the first place, so it'll probably be a wash on the R value overall.

3. To be extra safe, as the attic space is not "Conditioned" space now (except for what flows in under the door from the bedroom), put some 6x6 (or other size) metal grate vents into the knee wall to allow air to circulate from the finished space into the space behind the knee wall and vice versa. I'm less worried about the hot/cold than I am about having a more usable space without exposed insulation.

The above would basically make the temperature throughout the space, both on the finished and unfinished sides of the knee wall the same temperature range as it is now. It would allow air to circulate throughout to avoid any moisture/ice damn issues). The only thing it wouldn't do is insulate the space better than it is today, but it's not very good today and the foam board I put up against the block wall has already gone some way to insulating the space better than it was before without interrupting airflow.

Do you guys think that would avoid the horrific rafter rot in Mingledtrash's post?

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