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Old 07-24-2016, 06:48 PM   #1
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Air Sealing at Second Floor Instead of Attic


I have a home that was built in 1916. The attic is a full walk up with tongue and groove flooring. The attic was insulated with blow-in in cellulose by the previous owner, however no air sealing was performed.

I am replacing the majority of the baseboards throughout the house so rather than opening up the attic floor in a ton of different spots, would it be okay to stuff the walls with bags filled with fiberglass batts? Wherever I am removing the floor boards I could easily do this so I would save quite a bit of time by doing this. Is there any issue with this that anyone could see?
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:56 AM   #2
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Re: Air Sealing at Second Floor Instead of Attic


If it has T & G flooring in the attic how did they install the insulation?
How thick is the insulation?
1916 suggest it may be balloon framed walls, have the walls ever been opened up, fire blocking added and the walls insulated?
That last paragraph is confusing to me, not sure how you plan on "stuffing insulation" in a wall behind a baseboard.
How all this gets done and how much insulation you need depends on your location.
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm...sulation_table
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: Air Sealing at Second Floor Instead of Attic


Joe raises some good questions.

While, in theory, it should work...the reality is that it is much easier sounding than it actually is. How do you address wiring, plumbing, and other gaps in the wall system that allow for air to get into the attic.

If you aren't using the T&G flooring for storage, best bet is to pull up the boards and air seal, fire block, and insulate properly.

I can't comment as to whether the floor boards serve any purpose in the home, just commenting on how easily realized your plan might be.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re: Air Sealing at Second Floor Instead of Attic


Sorry, I should have been more clear on how it is insulated; Portions of the floor were removed (Perpendicular to the underlying floor joist) and the cellulose was blown into the joist spaces. They seem to have done a fairly decent job with it, any spot I have pulled up has had cellulose tightly packed. Insulation is 6" thick so only R19. I plan an additional run of R19 unfaced fiberglass batts over the floor at some point and build a platform for storage.

joecaption: I have checked the exterior walls where I have removed some baseboard and it is not balloon framed, which also surprised me. The exterior walls that I have opened up are not insulated. The baseboards are tall (8") and there is about a 6" gap where the lath and plaster stops and the floor behind the baseboard. This gap is large enough that I can stuff plastic bags filled with insulation into the space just above the baseboard between stud spaces.

Windows on Wash: I would cut parts of the attic flooring to access around the chimney, stair, and plumbing vents, no getting around those issues. My thinking is that by air sealing at the second floor just a few feet below any penetrations that may exist at the top plate that air flow through those penetrations would be eliminated.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: Air Sealing at Second Floor Instead of Attic


------------------------Welcome to the forums!------------------

Your best defense is caulking the bottom plate to air seal the baseboard to the nailing strip. Caulk the strip to the subfloor sheathing also. The gap is from the plaster installer using that wood filler at the bottom behind the baseboard which serves as both a nailer and screed board for the wet plaster, then they installed the baseboard/trim/doors, months later after the walls/ceiling dried out from the wet mix.

Cellulose is air permeable, but dense-packed as you describe is close to a good air barrier. Fiberglass in a poly bag is a good idea (not 100% effective), though if there is a crawlspace/basement, that would be an easier place to air seal below the walls (plumbing/wiring holes). With the cellulose stopping air through the attic floor, and air seal the floor below at the wood plate (diagonal sheathing joints below the wall), along with any holes, caulk the baseboard at re-install to the furring strip at the floor.
Leave an air space (to insulation) below the raised deck for storage, running new joists on spacers so you don't put added weight on existing joists (don't run them perpendicular, contrary to what what some people suggest).

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Last edited by Gary in WA; 07-25-2016 at 11:36 PM.
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