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Old 02-13-2011, 09:00 AM   #1
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Quick question for you all I live in Northern NJ and have a unfinished basement that we have our boiler, hwh, laundry, and storage in. The beams are exposed and it's about 6ft high so I will never be able to finish it. My question is there is no insulation in the ceiling. Can I insulate without covering it with drywall? It would be really hard to drywall it because whoever did the plumbing before me ran all the piping under the beams in the opposite direction and in some spots actually notched the beams to make it fit. I'm just wondering if I can do this? I'm thinking it might be a fire hazard if I don't cover it especially over the boiler and hwh. I know they make a fire proof insulation (I can't remember what it's called) maybe I could use that? I was thinking of using the encapsulated kind so the insulation isn't exposed and were breathing it in when were down there. Any ideas or opinions would be great.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-13-2011, 10:04 AM   #2
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Is this basement heated/cooled with the rest of the house?

Building Science link - this will help you out. This is a great website to gain insight with building homes and upgrades.

Another link


http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...wner_resources


Last edited by MBatson; 02-13-2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:19 AM   #3
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


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Quick question for you all I live in Northern NJ and have a unfinished basement that we have our boiler, hwh, laundry, and storage in. The beams are exposed and it's about 6ft high so I will never be able to finish it. My question is there is no insulation in the ceiling. Can I insulate without covering it with drywall? It would be really hard to drywall it because whoever did the plumbing before me ran all the piping under the beams in the opposite direction and in some spots actually notched the beams to make it fit. I'm just wondering if I can do this? I'm thinking it might be a fire hazard if I don't cover it especially over the boiler and hwh. I know they make a fire proof insulation (I can't remember what it's called) maybe I could use that? I was thinking of using the encapsulated kind so the insulation isn't exposed and were breathing it in when were down there. Any ideas or opinions would be great.

Thanks in advance.
Fiberglass insulation won't burn. The vapor barrier would be up against the subfloor, not down facing the basement.
The areas over the boiler and hotwater heater should be covered by a non combustable material. Firecode(5/8) sheetrock and cement board that was taped would work.
It should extend at least 3 feet in all directions past the units.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


The basement is not heated. So I would just need to sheetrock over the furnace extending out 3ft from the edge of it? Any ideas on getting it sprayfoamed? Would this need to be covered with sheet rock as well?


Thanks for the quick replies.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


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The basement is not heated. So I would just need to sheetrock over the furnace extending out 3ft from the edge of it? Any ideas on getting it sprayfoamed? Would this need to be covered with sheet rock as well?


Thanks for the quick replies.
If you spray foam the ceiling, the entire ceiling would need to be sheetrocked. The spray foam will burn.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


what are you hoping to gain by this? are you trying to keep the heat generated by the HWH and boiler in the basement? i guess i don't understand the reasoning...
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


I'm looking to keep my first floor living area warmer. Am I thinking of this backwards?
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #8
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


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I'm looking to keep my first floor living area warmer. Am I thinking of this backwards?
What is the temperature of the basement now? If it's cooler then upstairs, insulation might make sense. It depends on how much cooler. You would need to figure out how much the insulation will cost and if there's a payback timeframe that makes sense. If it's warmer, let the heat rise and warm the floor.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:54 PM   #9
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


It's definitely colder in the basement. One problem which happens now is I recently remodeled my kitchen and replaced the linoleum tile with ceramic tile and the floor is always cold. Plus I put in corian countertops and they are cool to the touch in the winter. I would say the basement is probably in the 40-50 degree range maybe even colder on really cold days. Not so cold that pipes would burst, but much colder than my first floor living area.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:06 PM   #10
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Have you thought about insulating the basement walls and heating the basement instead of isolating it?

The ceramic in the kitchen would fell cold in the winter, unless you put some radiant heating under it.

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Old 02-13-2011, 06:11 PM   #11
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


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It's definitely colder in the basement. One problem which happens now is I recently remodeled my kitchen and replaced the linoleum tile with ceramic tile and the floor is always cold. Plus I put in corian countertops and they are cool to the touch in the winter. I would say the basement is probably in the 40-50 degree range maybe even colder on really cold days. Not so cold that pipes would burst, but much colder than my first floor living area.
The counters will not be effected with any isulation product you put in. It will always be cool. Their temps will be dependent on the ambiant air temperatures.
At the temps you mention, insulation will reduce the cold temps from reaching the floor, but will not warm them up. Only way to do that would be radiant floor heating.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:18 PM   #12
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Insulating and heating the basement would make sense only if the basement will be used for living space.

There is much more surface area (including the floor) through which heat will be lost compared with just insulating the basement ceiling.

You can put insulating blankets on the water heater and furnace.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:49 PM   #13
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Good thread pjm.
I want to add that living in the hot/humid Southeast, I have began the practice of keeping my unfinished crawlspace completely closed when temps are below 55 and above 80. Seems to help keep the heating/cooling costs down some.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:31 PM   #14
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


Thanks for all the posts helped clear up a bunch of questions I had. As far as the radiant heat would that just heat the floor or would it also heat the air above where I put it? I had to take out a 6ft section of baseboard hw heat when I redid the kitchen and we're really feeling it in the winter. My two options were radiant heat in the basement under the kitchen or maybe to toe kick heaters. My other question is about the toe kick heaters I think I would have to go electric because the kitchen is already finished any thoughts? (I know I should have thought of it before I finished, but I didn't think it would affect the temp in the room that much).

Thanks again for the really helpful advice.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:56 PM   #15
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Should I insulate the ceiling of my unfinished basement?


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Insulating and heating the basement would make sense only if the basement will be used for living space.

There is much more surface area (including the floor)??? through which heat will be lost compared with just insulating the basement ceiling.

You can put insulating blankets on the water heater and furnace.
The OP was complaining of cold floors, insulating the floors will not provide those nice comfortable floors like heating the basement, the heat lossed through the floor from basement isn't lost now is it, it radiants to through the floor to the living space above it.

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