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Old 02-19-2012, 02:37 PM   #1
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


I posted this a couple years ago when we first moved into the place, finally getting around to it..... just looking for some ideas.

I have a small room under the stairs that we use for storage. It's also the entrance to the crawl space. The wall straight in is concrete and the PO glued white foam on for insulation. The floor is a vapor barrier, about 4-6" sand, then a wood deck on top. The room smells very musty and if we were to store fabric/sleeping bags, etc, they pick up the smell.



This second picture shows where I cut out some drywall. There is no concrete below that wall, they framed down, drywalled and backfilled sand against the drywall, causing some mold.




So, was hoping to use our tax return to try to fix this room but not totally sure what to do... here's what I'm thinking (with questions in different color)..

- remove sand and pour a concrete floor. Form a new base for the wall that is currently missing it.
How much sand to remove, right down to vapor barrier? Do I leave the vapor barrier there? How thick do I need to pour the floor?

- remove foam insulation, replace with 2" polystrene

- remove old drywall, replace any moldy insulation. Replace, tape and paint.


Can anyone add anything I might be missing or don't really need to do?

Thanks for any replies, much appreciated!

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Old 02-19-2012, 03:49 PM   #2
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


You have to get air flow going down there to get rid of the smell & dampness. Closing it up only keeps it stagnant. If you pour a floor, I would make sure to place a thermal break under it, so that any moisture does not come up through the slab.

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Old 02-19-2012, 06:43 PM   #3
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


If the wall you are talking about is non-load bearing, then pour. In BC, I'd put at least 2" of foam under the slab, w/ a GOOD vapor barrier. What are the other walls like? Sealed up? Sheet rocked? Insulated? A little insulation and heat in the room may help w/ the condensation and ensuing mold/musty smell. Absolutely remove any stinky/moldy sheet rock, and air seal, but not vapor barrier, the walls unless code mandates that.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:34 PM   #4
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


The insulation goes on top of the vapor barrier, correct?

The other walls... they are sheetrocked and I believe they're insulated.

I'm not getting any condensation in the room, the moisture was wicking up from the ground. It's basically an extension of the sealed crawl space which is sort of conditioned (has latent heat from ductwork running through but no actual heating vents or return air vents). The crawlspace doesn't seem to smell anywhere near as musty as the storage room.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:45 PM   #5
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


If you have pets, the space under the stairs is a great place to put cat litter and food bowls. A small entrance is created in the wall for the pets, yet you can access the area from the closet door. Attached are photos from what I did in my own house.
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics-exteriorcatcloset-1280x960-.jpg   Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics-insidecathouse-1280x960-.jpg  
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


Quote:
Originally Posted by KelBelleIN View Post
If you have pets, the space under the stairs is a great place to put cat litter and food bowls. A small entrance is created in the wall for the pets, yet you can access the area from the closet door. Attached are photos from what I did in my own house.
Wow, thanks for posting those pictures - I was thinking of doing something very similar to this in my bathroom closet, but I was having a hard time picturing how it would look - and therefore having a hard time convincing my wife it wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb.

That looks great!
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:12 AM   #7
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


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The insulation goes on top of the vapor barrier, correct?
There was a debate about that on greenbuildingadvisor.com a while ago. In your case, I don't see as it matters. The debate discussed issues like getting rain on it, or protecting the foam from radon, etc. I think most folks do foam, vb, concrete.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:23 AM   #8
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


Kel: nice work, but where is the Dachshund?
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


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Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
If the wall you are talking about is non-load bearing, then pour. In BC, I'd put at least 2" of foam under the slab, w/ a GOOD vapor barrier. What are the other walls like? Sealed up? Sheet rocked? Insulated? A little insulation and heat in the room may help w/ the condensation and ensuing mold/musty smell. Absolutely remove any stinky/moldy sheet rock, and air seal, but not vapor barrier, the walls unless code mandates that.
Finally got a chance to start cleaning the room out and taking down some drywall. The picture below is between the storage room and the living area. As you can see, it's insulated and has vapor barrier.



As the room sits, there's no ventilation which is probably causing a lot of the problem with smell in there. Would I benefit in sealing the room from the crawlspace with vapor barrier/insulation (build a wall down from the beam on left side of picture, etc), run a duct line into the room for heat and cut a vent into the door to open it back up to the living area to keep things circulating inside?
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:43 PM   #10
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


What are you going to do with the water meter?
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


Was going to put a couple of hatches in. One to access the water meter and main shut off and another to be able to get into the crawlspace.

Thinking on that now, I guess I'll have to have the hatches weatherstripped if it'll work to just vapor barrier the wall that seperates the crawl space from the storage room?
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


hi everyone,
I am planning on insulating my cold room which is in the basement. It is located outside the house , under the outside brick stairs leading to the front door.This room is in concrete.Any advice on how to properly insulate it and what type of material should be used.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:10 PM   #13
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


Poured the floor yesterday and pulled down the old drywall and foam on the concrete.

The picture below is the wall that used to have the white foam on it. It's an outside wall.

The sill plate overhangs the concrete by about 1.5". Could I:
- glue 1.5" rigid foam to the concrete, tape joints, acoustic sealant all around
- extend vapor barrier from 2x6 wall above down and taped to rigid foam
- insulated 2x4 wall directly in front of it (with no vapor barrier)
- drywall



The other side of this pictured wall below is the garage (un-heated)
Edge of sill plate is flush with the concrete wall. Wall is 2x4. Could I:
- glue 1.5" rigid to the concrete, tape joints, acoustic sealant all around
- strap the 2x4 walls with 2x2's
- replace the 2x4 insulation with 2x6 insulation
- vapor barrier on warm side of wood wall, down and taped to rigid foam
- insulated 2x4 wall directly in front of it (with no vapor barrier)
- drywall

Sound right?
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


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Old 06-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #15
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Cold room under stairs (dirt floor) questions with pics


You should totally spread some nolvadex on the concrete, lol.

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