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Old 12-06-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Hey everybody, I'm a mostly self taught handyman that has been working for the last year on my landlord's 1855 octagon house. For the most part it's been a great learning experience. I've built a bathroom, installed hardwood flooring, painting and put my electrical apprenticeship knowledge to good use, but now I'm really stumped on what to do, hopefully someone can help me out.

I'm updating an apartment from paneling to drywall and while I'm at it my landlord would like me to insulate the exterior walls. The problem is, the exterior wall of the entire house has been constructed of concrete and stone, like stones the size of my fist. I know there's some wood in there, but it's all covered in concrete.

What are my options for insulating and sheetrocking the wall? Keep in mind, she would like it to be no more then about an inch thick since the trim around the windows is really ornate.

Thanks everyone!

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Old 12-06-2010, 09:29 PM   #2
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Two options I see:

1) fur out the wall with 2x2's or 2x4's (or steel studs) to create a flat planar wall surface to which you can attach sheetrock. Between the studs you can use foam board insulation of an appropriate thickness.

2) fur out the wall and have an insulator spray it with icynene foam insulation (or similar). That would be more efficient but more expensive.

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Old 12-06-2010, 10:27 PM   #3
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Yeah that's unfortunately not going to work since the entire thickness cant be anymore then 1 to 1 1/2 inches. The best Idea I have for the scenario is to glue the insulation board to the wall and then tapcon the sheetrock through the foam to the concrete. That just seems extremely time consuming and kind of silly. Any other ideas or should I just tell her that it can't be done?

Last edited by TristanD; 12-06-2010 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:01 AM   #4
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


What about using thermal plasterboards put up using dot and dab.
http://www.just-insulation.com/gyprocthermaline.html
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:33 AM   #5
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Tapcon-attached drywall will be a lesson in frustration and honestly won't work (let alone look professionally done) in my opinion. The insulating value of 1-1/2" is so minimal I don't think the benefit will outweigh the cost and effort. I'd abandon the idea personally.

You might have her look into some of the fabric covered insulating wall panels that many people are using to finish basements. I believe Owens Corning makes a system, as do many other companies. They're pretty easy to install without having to fuss with sheetrock.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:44 PM   #6
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Tristan,

Instead of using drywall, look up dragonboard - cementitious wall board that won't grow mold. It can be installed with 3" of foam or styrofoam insulation on the back, and it installs on runners on the floor and ceiling joist -- no studs. That way you can mount it without having to worry if the walls are straight at all, and it comes insulated.

If dragonboard doesn't work for you, there are many other products that work as well and do the same thing-- that's just the one that comes to mind.

Last edited by ConcreteTreat; 12-07-2010 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Removed my tagline, as it looks like that's not allowed in this forum.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:58 AM   #7
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


CTreat: Can you use this stuff in bathrooms, etc, where "green" sheet rock is recommended? Is it a lot more water/mold resistant? thanks. j
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:59 AM   #8
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I once called the company up and spoke on the phone with them for a half hour. They claim it is 100% waterproof and mold proof. You could give them a call and ask for yourself, though.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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thanks. i'll do some researching. j
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:00 PM   #10
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Remove the trim from around the windows, add firring strips of 2x4's to the walls, insulate, drywall and then replace the trim on the windows and yes you will have to add a 3 1/2" casing to make up for the new wall thickness.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackofall1 View Post
Remove the trim from around the windows, add firring strips of 2x4's to the walls, insulate, drywall and then replace the trim on the windows and yes you will have to add a 3 1/2" casing to make up for the new wall thickness.
You have NO idea how many basements I've seen destroyed by that kind of practice. Drywall + Basement = Mold and Damage. 'Nuff said.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
thanks. i'll do some researching. j

Here's a good starting point:

http://www.dragonboard.com/
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ConcreteTreat View Post
You have NO idea how many basements I've seen destroyed by that kind of practice. Drywall + Basement = Mold and Damage. 'Nuff said.
I guess that depends, of course, on the water scenario of the basement. I am not the only person in town to have a treated-wood/sheet rock basement. Been here for 30 yrs, and as far as I know, not a hitch. We have very dry soil, and my dirt slopes steeply away from the house. If the basement were inclined to be humid, or wet walls, then leave it vapor open, maybe wood paneling over rigid foam and a dehumidifier? I'd not sheet rock in that situation.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #14
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Tapcon-attached drywall will be a lesson in frustration and honestly won't work (let alone look professionally done) in my opinion. The insulating value of 1-1/2" is so minimal I don't think the benefit will outweigh the cost and effort. I'd abandon the idea personally.
I agree 100% with this, not to mention that the thermal mass of the walls will probably offer more comfort than the minimal insulation.

BTW, nice to see you post again KC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcreteTreat View Post
You have NO idea how many basements I've seen destroyed by that kind of practice. Drywall + Basement = Mold and Damage. 'Nuff said.
Who said anything about a basement? Although it's not stated clearly by the OP, I believe the walls in question are above grade.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:04 PM   #15
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Need to insulate a concrete wall!!


Jomama-- that's an embarrassingly good point. When I first read this, I envisioned the rock walls, and the extent of the renovations, and I guess I assumed it was a below-grade structure that was being upgraded, where rock walls are more common. That's definitely not necessarily true. It might be because I was just coming out of a forum question where I was talking about wet basements-- maybe it was on my mind? My bad. :-/

Jlk -- That may be true, and it may even be true more often than not, but it's not something I would bet my reputation on. At the very least, I would install a plastic vapor barrier on the walls beforehand, even if it was my house. But hey, if it works? :-)


Last edited by ConcreteTreat; 12-08-2010 at 06:09 PM.
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