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toeey1 02-10-2010 10:25 AM

Cold bathroom
 
Just moved in to a 24 year old home a few months back and have discovered that our master bathroom is extremely cold all the time. The way I figure it, the bathroom as 3 things going against it. 1) it has a vaulted ceiling so heat probably escapes thru thin insulation up there 2) It has a skylight that lets additional heat out and 3) the bathroom was built over an unheated garage(whether the builder opted to spend a few extra dollars to insulate the floor properly, i cant tell)

Anyway, I have had a few insulation companies over to see if they could help with ice damming and water leaking into garage attic and I asked them if they could help with cold bathroom. They all said there wasnt much they could do because adding insulation to a vaulted ceiling would only block airflow from soffit to ridge vent and cause add. problems. They could only recommended a roofer to halp with ice dams and leaking.

Anyway, does anyone on here have any ideas on how to help warm up this bathroom, short of a space heater or putting in a lower ceiling and insulating that. Thank you

Grumpy 02-10-2010 12:23 PM

Nothing's worse than a cold bathroom. Brrrrr

If the "insulation guys" didn't know this answer, my opinion of them is kind of low. I'm pleased they understood that they should not block the air flow, that's a problem I have seen many times caused by insulation guys. However I would think every professional insulation contractor would know what a rafter baffle is. It's a simple cardboard, plastic, or polystyrene rigid baffle that gets placed between the rafters before the rafters are insulated. Doing this creates an open area ont he bottom of the sheathing for air to flow thus not voiding the shingle warranty or causing ice damming or other related ventilation/roofing problems.

Personally I'd drop the ceiling and install the rafter baffles and spray in a nice expanding polyurethane foam insulation. A good spray foam will have the highest r value of about R 7 per inch. This is much better than a batt insulation and will be a tremendous help. I'd also have the ceiling in the garage below dropped and do the same in the floor joists. I'm no spray foam expert and I am sure there is a point to which you no longer gain R value, but I'd spray in as much as you can fit and afford.

Another thing to look out for is your attic fan. I am assuming and hiping that you have one. However if this fan is vented to the wrong kind of roof vent, cold air can be blown inside your bathroom. Make sure you have a dedicated baffled bathroom vent on the roof. It has a damper/flap that opens and closes as you turn on the fan. I commonly see roofers who don't care or don't know any better using a mushroom style breather vent which has no flap, so cold air can blow easily inside.

I'd also consider the replacement of the skylight with something high effeciency. Velux makes very good thermal skylights with lamination. They used to call them Comfort Plus, now they just call them laminated, for some reason. I think Comfort Plus sounded better. Keep in mind they also sell simply tempered which don't have the lamination, nor near the insulation value of the laminated comfort plus skylights. Plus I do not know how high the skylight curb is nor if it's insulated. I am assuming there is no tunnel from the ceiling to the roof since you say your ceiling is vaulted, therefore the "tunnel" is probably only 8-12" from ceiling to skylight. However if the tunnel is more than 1', you wold want to ensure the side walls of the tunnel are also insulated.

How about your air duct for the heating system? How well is air flowing to that vent in your bathroom? I am assuming you have forced hot air for heating. Next time your heater comes on go check the vent and see if you can feel any air flow. If not, maybe the room's just not getting enough heat in the first place. You may have a disconnect or kink in the ventilation duct, or an improperly sized furnace.

There may be more to it than just that. The architecture of your home may be allowing a draft inside the walls or floor joists, it's really hard to say exactly without seeing.

What kinds of ice damning problems are you having? This may be a result of improper insulation or ventilation. Please feel free to check out this page on my website which explains ice damning and how it relates to ventilation and insulation. http://reliableamerican.us/articles/...ice-daming.htm

toeey1 02-10-2010 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grumpy (Post 397584)
Nothing's worse than a cold bathroom. Brrrrr

If the "insulation guys" didn't know this answer, my opinion of them is kind of low. I'm pleased they understood that they should not block the air flow, that's a problem I have seen many times caused by insulation guys. However I would think every professional insulation contractor would know what a rafter baffle is. It's a simple cardboard, plastic, or polystyrene rigid baffle that gets placed between the rafters before the rafters are insulated. Doing this creates an open area ont he bottom of the sheathing for air to flow thus not voiding the shingle warranty or causing ice damming or other related ventilation/roofing problems.

Personally I'd drop the ceiling and install the rafter baffles and spray in a nice expanding polyurethane foam insulation. A good spray foam will have the highest r value of about R 7 per inch. This is much better than a batt insulation and will be a tremendous help. I'd also have the ceiling in the garage below dropped and do the same in the floor joists. I'm no spray foam expert and I am sure there is a point to which you no longer gain R value, but I'd spray in as much as you can fit and afford.

Another thing to look out for is your attic fan. I am assuming and hiping that you have one. However if this fan is vented to the wrong kind of roof vent, cold air can be blown inside your bathroom. Make sure you have a dedicated baffled bathroom vent on the roof. It has a damper/flap that opens and closes as you turn on the fan. I commonly see roofers who don't care or don't know any better using a mushroom style breather vent which has no flap, so cold air can blow easily inside.

I'd also consider the replacement of the skylight with something high effeciency. Velux makes very good thermal skylights with lamination. They used to call them Comfort Plus, now they just call them laminated, for some reason. I think Comfort Plus sounded better. Keep in mind they also sell simply tempered which don't have the lamination, nor near the insulation value of the laminated comfort plus skylights. Plus I do not know how high the skylight curb is nor if it's insulated. I am assuming there is no tunnel from the ceiling to the roof since you say your ceiling is vaulted, therefore the "tunnel" is probably only 8-12" from ceiling to skylight. However if the tunnel is more than 1', you wold want to ensure the side walls of the tunnel are also insulated.

How about your air duct for the heating system? How well is air flowing to that vent in your bathroom? I am assuming you have forced hot air for heating. Next time your heater comes on go check the vent and see if you can feel any air flow. If not, maybe the room's just not getting enough heat in the first place. You may have a disconnect or kink in the ventilation duct, or an improperly sized furnace.

There may be more to it than just that. The architecture of your home may be allowing a draft inside the walls or floor joists, it's really hard to say exactly without seeing.

What kinds of ice damning problems are you having? This may be a result of improper insulation or ventilation. Please feel free to check out this page on my website which explains ice damning and how it relates to ventilation and insulation. http://reliableamerican.us/articles/...ice-daming.htm

Thanks grumpy...for not seeing a picture you have a pretty good idea of what Im dealing with.

The skylight curb appears to be about 3 inches and fortunately Im not getting any leaking around the skylight(surprising since Im getting leaking everywhere else from the ice damming) The tunnel you speak of is probably about 8-12 inches wide. If i dropped the ceiling, im sure I would have to frame all the way around the skylight and insulate it. Not really sure how to go about all of that.

My guess is the ice damming is occuring from bad insulation and ventilation around the bathroom. Plus the heat Im losing from the skylight which is also contributing. Whoever installed these gutters were also incompetent...instead of putting any downspouts from roof to roof, they just cut the end of the gutters off so water runs off onto the next roof. I plan on replacing those whenever its not icy. I know thats causing some problems.

The only thing I didnt really understand was when you said to drop the garage ceiling. How do you think that will help my issues? Also, the vent fan I believe is just sent to a soffit vent(which I dont think is the proper way to do it. I havent been able to feel for a cold draft because its about 10 feet up the wall

daveb1 02-10-2010 06:37 PM

I think what Grumpy meant by dropping the garage ceiling is to remove the garage ceiling drywall ( or whatever was used) and insulate between the garage ceiling and the bathroom floor.If you feel capable you could remove a light fixture in the garage ceiling and see if there is insulation in this space.

Grumpy 02-10-2010 07:22 PM

They make baffled soffit vents, though I am not a fan because the run of the flex hose is usually many many feet. I am confused if it is a vaulted ceiling, why they wouldn't just run it to the roof, it'd be a short 8" extension from fan to vent.

Yes Dave was correct in what I meant. Not to mention insulation but if you used a spray foam you'd have an air barrier and wouldn't pass car off gasses into the 2nd floor. Fiberglass batt doesn't provide for an air barrier but some spray foam does.

toeey1 02-10-2010 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grumpy (Post 397845)
They make baffled soffit vents, though I am not a fan because the run of the flex hose is usually many many feet. I am confused if it is a vaulted ceiling, why they wouldn't just run it to the roof, it'd be a short 8" extension from fan to vent.

Yes Dave was correct in what I meant. Not to mention insulation but if you used a spray foam you'd have an air barrier and wouldn't pass car off gasses into the 2nd floor. Fiberglass batt doesn't provide for an air barrier but some spray foam does.

How well do those spray foams work as a vapor barrier? It being a bathroom, alot of moisture will want to escape thru the ceilings(if I were to lower it) even with a bath vent fan.

I wonder how much it would cost a company to come out and spray foam in. I dont think its an easy DIY job. Not even sure you could rent the equipment to do so as its pretty messy and the guys doing it are wearing all kinds of respirators and other gear


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