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Old 11-13-2008, 02:11 PM   #1
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Insulation behind radiator


I've gutted my 1940s bathroom (no more pink tile!), got the new framing up (bigger tub) and am waiting for the plumber to show up.

The town building department made a note on my plans instructing me to insulate the room's one exterior wall. No problem, I did that, with R13 fiberglass, Kraft-faced.

However, there's a radiator in the wall, one of those old cast-iron jobs. Obviously that's a heat source and presumably a fire hazard when combined with the kraft-faced insulation. Can I still put insulation behind the radiator if I remove the paper facing? What's recommended in this case?

(If it matters: The radiator used to be enclosed in a sheet-metal box, which might have shielded the insulation from the heat, but the box got wrecked when I removed it. I plan to build a new enclosure out of wood, but it'll be backless for easier removal.)

I could call and ask the inspector this question, but I figure I'll get a faster answer from you guys. Thanks!

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Old 11-14-2008, 07:17 AM   #2
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Insulation behind radiator


I takes 450F degrees to ignite paper. I doubt your radiator will get that hot. I would hope you are covering the insulation with some material as required by code. Drywall or other.

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Old 11-14-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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Insulation behind radiator


you said the radiator was resessed in the wall? how are you able to fit insulation behind the rad. usually they but them close to the exterior sheathing when they resess them. and if that is the case I install a piece of ridged foam insulation with a foil face facing into the room against the sheathing. BOB
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:47 AM   #4
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Insulation behind radiator


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Originally Posted by RDS View Post
I could call and ask the inspector this question, but I figure I'll get a faster answer from you guys. Thanks!
you got that right!!!

DM

(i finally met one of my inspectors yesterday, i think i know now why he's always so jovial on the phone, he sure smelled like he'd either had a hell of a long night of drinking, or had a couple 'eye-openers' for breakfast....)
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:58 AM   #5
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Insulation behind radiator


I'm sure you're right about the temperature, Maintenance 6. I'll see what the inspector says I guess.

Here's a photo to help answer buletbob's question, and to address the drywall issue (first time posting a photo; hope it works!):

As you can see (hopefully), the wall is built out double-thick in that section, which explains how the radiator can be both recessed AND have room for insulation behind it. I actually hadn't figured out how I might drywall over the insulation behind the rad, because there's no studs behind it -- not even one in the middle of the span. Nothing but sheathing. Suggestions? I could maybe toenail in some framing to attach drywall to, but it would end up pretty snug against the back of the rad... Maybe the ridged foam/foil is a better solution for that spot -- not as thick? Does it need to be covered with drywall?

It's ultimately up to what the inspector says but I appreciate the tips guys. Muddling my way through this first big remodel...
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:55 AM   #6
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Insulation behind radiator


Foam board would still need to be covered. I'd nail some strips in the edges of the cavity, fit the foam between them and then cover with drywall if you can. Or a piece of sheet metal may be a good choice since it will help to reflect some of the heat out into the living space. Fasten it to the strips along the edges and caulk it to help seal any air leaks. Foam board would probably work well in this case. You want to get as much of the heat from the radiator into the room as you can, rather than out through the wall.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:27 PM   #7
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Insulation behind radiator


Now looking at the pictures. I would treat this differently then what I first suggested. Remove the steam rad. remove the insulation that you installed and install some 2x4 ripped to a good width that will accommodate the insulation plus a sheet of drywall. and still have the rad fit. use the scrap drywall to install on the returned sides and top. tape and spackle , then you can make what ever cover you were thinking of and you will know this recess will be covered and sealed. don't need to install anything down the middle tho it appears its around 24" anyway.

OH how long did the floor take to remove??

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Old 11-15-2008, 09:07 AM   #8
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Insulation behind radiator


Thanks Bob! I think I can do that!

The floor took me and my dad a full day to remove -- just banging on it with a couple of medium-sized sledgehammers. It actually broke up pretty easily (pretty friable stuff under the tile) but there was a LOT of it... Found a matchbook buried in it advertising the 1940 World's Fair.

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