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Old 01-23-2008, 07:33 PM   #1
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


First time poster i'm about out of ideas.

Did some searches but didn't catch anything to catch my eye.

My floors in my house are absolutely cold!

Besides my feet I have a digital thermometer to verify the temperature difference.

At about 3 feet above floor it's 72 deg F and at the floor it's 63 deg F!

This is true for most of the house. Some details about my house.

It' was built in 1907 if I remember correctly.
It has wood siding, don't know what kind?
Block foundation / block basement. 1/3 basement.

I blew in insulation about a year after I got the house. Also put in a brand new furnace with new ductwork. Couple years later I put in all new windows throughout.

I probably have about 2 feet of insulation above ceilings.

Block foundation sits up approximately 2 feet above ground completely around the house. Outside I tried to fill in every crack I could find stuffing with insulation and either mortaring or caulking. Then I filled in cracks in the inside of the foundation followed by covering it with sheets of 1/2 foam insulation floor to dirt. Covered dirt with visquine ? the plastic sheeting whatever you call it. I tore out old wood junk windows out of basement part and replaces with vinyl sliding windows with insulated glass.

I stuffed insulation between sill plate & raters, & bottom of floors.

Still cold.

I just spent alot of money and insulated the floors too which did help but only slightly. I stll get about a 10 deg difference! I tried putting vapor barrier up first and then down which didn't make a difference.

Oh yea put in a new insulated steel door in back and new nice expensive front screen/glass door. Installed a new door sweep & weatherstripping on doors.

I'm tired of my feet feeling like ice cycles ! Crawlspace is in the 40's which is also open to the basement. I've even put one of those oil filled heaters in basement just so I can do my laundry comfortably.

Just last fall I even put carpet in my bedroom to see if it would make a difference. it is about only 5 deg difference now but still not very comfortable.

I've felt for drafts everywhere and stuffed and caulked everyone I found but still don't help.

I'm in need of any suggestions.

Also my vapor barrier has a lot of water beads under it so I don't know if that could be part of the problem.

You know moisture holds heat and cold. I don't know really what to do to prevent it especially now it's winter and 20 deg F.

Only + to this house is it's Extremely easy to cool in the summer :D

Thanks for reading.

Chad

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Old 01-23-2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


The insulation under your floor should be kraft-paper-side-up.

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Old 01-23-2008, 09:19 PM   #3
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


The 1/2 foam insulation is only R 3.3 and you should have used the 2 inch R 10 at least. Did you either foam and or tape all the seams? Was the poly on the dirt 6 mil and was it lapped up the sides of the crawl and overlapped 12 inches and also all seams taped? Beads of moisture under it means its working at least but i would keep tabs on the humidity level there. Build an insulated door to sep the crawl from the basement and insulate the crawl correctly. In the basement--is this a heated basement? If so the batts you put in there in the ceiling are a waste. Did you caulk and foam all seams all around the rim joist area before adding batts?
It sounds like you have done alot of work but just not effectively. Batt insulation wont stop cold air at all so dont use it to cover any gaps. Instead foam them or use appropriate foamboard and then foam.
In your attic did you do any air sealing of large attic bypasses and penetrations before you added more insulation? Did you check your gable walls to see if they have top plates? If not then cold attic air can drop down (and hot air can escape out the attic) the wall and go under your 2nd floor. In many houses this wall is essentially open all the way down to the basement so the whole house acts as a chimney leaking hot air and letting the cold circulate in your house.
Did you insulate the rim joist area between the 1st and 2nd floor? Do you have any kneewalls on your 2nd floor? Do you have wall insulation? There are many things that can be done to correct your probs but if you feel overwhelmed I would get an energy audit done. A good auditor would leave you with a step by step list of effective things you should do and things you should undo.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:29 PM   #4
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by ludude1975 View Post

My floors in my house are absolutely cold!

At about 3 feet above floor it's 72 deg F and at the floor it's 63 deg F!

Chad
Heat rises. Between the temp of the floor and the ceiling there may be a 20 degree difference.
If you have wood floors then they will feel colder then carpeted floors.


Do you walk around with bare feet?

Do you have forced hot air or hot water boiler?

To solve this you would need to install hydronic radiant floor heat.

The floor will be heated to around 70-78 degrees and rise up into the room. Your current system sends the heat to the ceiling and when the air cools it "falls" down lower.

(temperature stratification)
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:04 PM   #5
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Let's see ... I didn't tape the foam seams. Didn't know they made tape for it. Should I just use duct tape?

Didn't tape the poly either but is overlapped probably couple feet. I only have one joint in it as I got the widest I could find. It's folded up next to crawl space wall but not going up it. Don't really know how i'd fasten it to the old blocks anyhow? any suggestions? I haven't built a door yet to separate the two spaces though I filled everything else.

The only heat in the basement is what the duct work warms and the little oil filled radiator heater by the washer & dryer so I don't freeze doing the laundry.

No batts above basement, All insulation is Paper fased up currently except one little 8x9 room where I put it down to see if it would make a difference.

Don't have any gable walls house is all hip roof. But this house was built kinda weird, Standard foundation, floor, then they built walls like 12 feet up and put a board around them at 10 foot for the ceiling. I went up in the attic and stuffed down as much insulation as I could To help prevent that chimney effect. As for rim joist area between the 1st and 2nd floor I don't think this house has your typical rim joist. It just had a 2x6 nailed to the 2x4's which isn't like what A normal modern house is like. But walls and ceiling don't really feel cold. Now in the basement rim joist I stuffed those corners quite well.

I totally gutted the upstairs which there isn't much of anyhow and built new kneewalls New ceiling, and insulated everything. It stays quite decent with out much heat except for some trim work not on the windows yet and little more drywall mudding needs finished in some closets.

Guess I forgot to mention all floors are Oak, hardwood except for the kitchen bath and the one bedroom I carpeted.

I never go barefoot except for summer always got socks and sometimes slippers or shoes on. I have forced air furnace too.

One of the main problems in my living room which I complain the most is it T's off the house and has 3 exterior walls. Followed by the master bedroom which has to large exterior walls.

Kitchen, dining room, bath, and kids bedroom not near as bad as living room.



Radiant floor heat would be nice but don't fit my budget.
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Wow where to begin. I just re-read your original posting and forgot you upgraded the furnace and windows. Hate to say it but window upgrades should usually be done last since they have a looong ROI despite all the sales pitches unless they are all broken or something. I hope you needed a furnace upgrade as well but it cant hurt and all that stuff is done so its moot at this point. I upgraded my super old furnace too last year thinking it would solve all problems but only helped some. But what you need to do right now is fix some things that you have already done with the insulation and possibly do some more.
No taping or closing of seams on the foamboards is like walking outside in winter with a big jacket--but not zipping it up. You will be ok on a mild day but on a cold one you get cold really fast. I hope you didnt use the white expanded styrene foamboard but the pink or blue kind. You need at least 2 inches of pink or blue extruded polystyrene (XPS) R10. That 1/2 inch stuff isnt going to cut it. Next tape ALL seams with housewrap (tyvek) tape or foil tape--not duct tape which will fail. Your poly (hopefully 6 mil) laying on the floor folded isnt right either; it should be installed like i wrote above secured up the sides of the crawl and taped to the foamboard that will be secured to the walls. Think of the crawl as a box that you are lining with an airtight barrier. Thats what you want here.
If you have ducts in the basement see about getting a couple of vents cut in down there to get some heat. Is your furnace in the basement?
About fiberglass insulation: the paper (vapor barrier) only goes against the heated space so change it where needed.
The way you described the walls is what I meant about gable walls. They are open in the attic space with no top plate. What you did by "stuffing" insulation there is worthless. FG should never be "stuffed" cause compression of it lowers its R value but maybe its just a way of saying it. Also fiberglass doesnt stop air at all! It doesnt even slow it down but just filters it. Any place you want to stop air movement think of using foamboards with caulk and or sprayfoam.
At any rate what you need here is to take some cut pieces of 2 inch XPS foamboard and make a top plate. Size the pieces so they can fit inside the top of each stud space effectively capping it off. Then use a can of great stuff sprayfoam to seal all around there good. What you are doing here is stopping the flow of air currents from circulating. The hot air from the house rises up here and cold air from the attic drops down here bypassing any insulation you have and gets a free ride. It sounds like your floors are openly connected to the walls here so also air that should be warming your floors escapes thru them to the wall and then out the attic, Then the cold air comes.
Your basement rim joist should be insulated like you said but you need to go and make sure you caulked or foamed every gap all around there. Just using fiberglass again wont cut it.
For the 2nd floor and your new kneewalls, did you put R19 in them and did you cover the back of the insulation with sealed housewrap or foamboard? If not the cold air behind the wall is lowering the R value of the insulation. You need an air barrier here. Did you place blocking under the bottom plate of the kneewalls where they rest on the 1st floor ceiling joists? Block them off so that warm air supposed to be warming the 2nd floor floors cant escape under the kneewall here and fly out. Also again cold air can enter from the side attic and get under the 2nd floor. If you just put fiberglass here again its not enough. Cut blocks of 2 inch foamboard and place them under the kneewalls in each joist space and either use foam or caulk to secure and seal them.
For the living room and master bedroom since they have so many exterior walls they need more attention. Are they over the basement too or on a slab? Any slanted ceilings here at all? Think about adding wall insulation here if theres none. Blowing in some densly packed cellulose here is pretty easy for just a few walls and it would really cut off air circulating in the walls in addition to insulate well.
The last thing I would say is to goto the library and get some books on insulating an existing home. "Insulate and weatherize" by taunton books is a great place to start and explains concepts you need when doing all this work on a home. That way you can work effectively and not spend money and time on things that dont work.
Of course it would be easier to just buy some radiant floor heat but it costs alot like you said and then you have to pay to use it. Its really just a band aid to all the problems you have. You can solve it with properly putting insulation and air barriers where needed especially now that you have a new furnace to boot. I know this cause I solved a long problem myself with a room over a garage (3 exterior walls huge kneewall plus floor over cold attached garage) with either no insulation in it or placed all wrongly. To make a long story short I blew in cellulose 3.5 lbs/cu ft in the room and garage ceiling to cut off the air getting in like 80 bags and now the room heats better than the rest of the 2nd floor. I was so happy I am now doing the rest of my house.
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Old 01-26-2008, 07:50 AM   #7
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Furnace was replaced when I first got the house because old one was too dangerous to try. It had previously flooded basement and was filled with water and it was all rusted. It was a old OLD furnace which used to be coal and converted to gas. Was a big monster and quite a big mess with all that old black dust everywhere. So I cut it up with a sawzaw and It was re-installed in same location within the basement.

Windows didn't really need all of them replaced but most all storm windows were broken and the windows themselves wore out. It's quite bad when the wind blows and your blinds & curtains move! I was working good at the time so I replaced all I could afford. When I remodeled a room later I just went ahead and replaced the windows so at least they would all match. Everything is over a crawlspace with exception of kitchen & dining room which are over the basement.

I did use the blue stuff at the time along with spray foam.

I think i'll take some of the tips and rework the crawlspace to start. Whatever I have left over in foam i'll use upstairs.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:32 AM   #8
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Hello,
when we had our new furnace installed, the installers recommended ceiling fans in the house.
set on reverse in the winter (to help draw air up)
and normal in the summer (to blow cold air down)
we're still having some cold floor issues ourself.
think ares are our windows and doors mostly.
just blew in insulated the house.
hope maybe that helps.
mike
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:28 PM   #9
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Move back to Florida.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:53 PM   #10
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Why so my house will blow away in a hurricane?

On another note sealing the plastic has helped some but I still got more to go.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:24 PM   #11
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Good to hear.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:19 AM   #12
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


get you some ceiling fans to circulate the air, heat rises and cold stays low with fans you will keep the air flowing keeping a good mix going. just like in the summer time you air condition will stay low near the floor again ceiling fans help this also.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:53 AM   #13
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Hehe put some shoes on?

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Old 02-13-2008, 04:44 PM   #14
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


Got ceiling fan's in bedrooms.

Got shoes "er work boots" too just don't feel like wearing them after having them on for 12 hrs a day.


The temperature has rose about 3-4 degrees sealing cracks with foam and tapping joints in plastic and foam.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:08 PM   #15
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Cold floors & i'm outta ideas :(


any cathedral ceilings in there if not are they all 8'?i read wher eyou said the ductwork keeps the basement warm is that a register or just the metal on the duct being warm?are all your discharge supply ducts insulated and is the return to the unit insulated being in a cold basement/crawl space?how is your stat set,and your utility heating bill .....do they seem normal?i'am thinking your loosing temperature off the furnace if your not insulated even if it is checked out OK,that return to the furnace????..make sure the filter access has a cap so your not sucking in crawl space air.do yourself a favor get yourself a laser thermometer with a laser pointer to shoot all your cold spots.ever take a temp of the air in the heating cycle off the register.the real test is when the wind is blowing and its 20F outside overnight.

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