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ccathy247 01-24-2013 07:28 PM

Opportunity to insulate under staircase
I have had some grant work done and it resulted in the bottom of a staircase being exposed.

So the house was probably built in the 1930's and I am now looking at a double brick wall. I was surprised to feel cold air coming up from the sill. I have been told that much of the heat loss in older homes occurs from the sill plate. Hope that is the proper terminology.

This area will get closed back in [by me...not part of the grant].
I need advise regarding how to insulate. Pink board and the pink caulking or fiberglass stuff with a vapour barrier. Or both?

My front entry is always cold in the winter [talking Ontario, Canada close to US border] and the staircase as well. The staircase is on the right as soon as you enter the home.

Thanks for any advise you may have.


joecaption 01-24-2013 09:49 PM

Post a picture.

SabertoothBunny 01-25-2013 08:41 AM

I would recommend that you go with the blown in foam insulation, especially how cold it gets up where you are at. Not sure if a vapor barrier is necessary with the foam though. It is more expensive but the results are tough to beat. I would get estimates and advice from local contractors who are reputable though.

As far as the draft, I would consier some kind of caulking or sealant on the inside of the house where the draft is coming through. On the ourside I woudl look into the paing on or spray on rubber coatingat the seams where the draft is coming in. The rubber is weather resistant and will fill/seal pretty well.

Check out the website from Mike Holmes, the famous guy on HGTV who does a LOT of work up in Canada. He has a lot of advice and links that may be helpful (to include contractors).

Not sure if this helps but good luck with that work.

jklingel 01-26-2013 12:22 PM

absolutely air seal, and no vb below grade. spray foam or rigid foam on walls, but it must be covered w/ sheetrock (i'm pretty sure, though i've seen reports that closed cell foam is fire retardant enough; ask an inspector in your area). either way, i think an interior wall, w/ roxul if you want more insulation, is in order with either one. or, just the wall and either foam inside studs, but that leaves thermal bridges at each stud. how carried away do you want to get?closed cell will stop vapor enough if a few inches thick.

danpik 01-26-2013 02:12 PM

Most people would be surprised at how many air leaks there are around their foundations. There are two ways to find them.

On a bright sunny day, go into the basement and turn off all lights and block off all windows so it is pitch black. Look around at the sill plate/foundation joint and see if you can see light coming in. Those areas need to be sealed up.

The other way is to do the opposite. Turn on all the lights in the basement and look from the outside at night in th esame places.

The last house I did this on I used up 4 cans of great stuff and two tubes of calking. Homeowner says the basement stays about 15Deg warmer now

jklingel 01-26-2013 03:39 PM

if interested, jury rigging a big fan into a doorway, and sealing around it, may be a good nuff blower door test and leaks will be exaggerated. going around with a punk (not the neighbor kid; used to light firecrackers) will reveal the small ones.

Gary in WA 01-27-2013 02:04 PM

Need more feedback from you, Cathy. Is the wall on the exterior, above grade? Or in a basement?

SPF works well if you will be exposing the stud cavities;


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