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Old 10-28-2014, 10:55 AM   #1
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Basement Insulation/Cold Room Questions


I bought an REO property, and am in the process of a “complete” remodel. It’s located 30 miles north of Minneapolis. Built in 1965, it’s a 1 ˝ story Colonial w/full walkout basement - classic build – 2 x 4 frame construction, with 8 x 12 x 16 common block foundation.

On the north side (front) of the home, there is a “poured concrete porch” & directly under this, a “cold room” (interior size - 3’ W x 37’ L x 92” H). On the inside, all 4 walls are concrete block; floor and ceiling are poured concrete. There is a 2" (?drainage) gap between the bottom of the floor & the outer wall. The main water line comes in thru here, and the water softner & whole house filter are currently in this area. (Originally, the oil fuel tank was also located in this area.) Access is through a full-size door from the laundry room.

Initially, there were some moisture issues, mostly due to improper drainage and needing to re-grade the front yard. There is still some “dampness”, but it seems typical.

On the interior side, 12’ is in the laundry room wall (painted concrete block – no insulation either side), 5’ is part of a bedroom wall (sheetrock), that I am not planning to remove, and the other 20’ will be a bathroom/dressing area (open to the studs for remodel – no insulation either side.)

There is an HVAC duct running into this area, but I have closed it off to a very small opening just enuff to prevent the temp from going below freezing any time in the winter.

I have read an extensive number of posts here regarding building science and basement insulation but I would appreciate any comments and suggestions to be sure I have the steps straight.

What is the best recommendation for comfort & ROI?
What is the correct type of foam board insulation and installation method for the interior of the cold room at what R Value?
On the 20’ bathroom wall, what method & materials will work best to give up as few inches as possible?

Right now, I have access to the following – are any of these a good choice?
$10 / sheet: reclaimed R10 4'x8'x1-1/2" rigid yellow insulation
$10 / sheet: reclaimed R12 4'x8'x3" rigid expanded polystyrene insulation (white beadboard).
$20 / sheet: reclaimed R20 4'x8'x3" rigid yellow insulation

Thanks for any help!
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:53 PM   #2
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Minnesota is certainly at the top of the US climate spectrum in harshness.

All of those options will work fine in terms of the foam.

I am guessing you are going to frame out the bathroom wall or just furring strips over the foam and drywall? Do you need to run utilities/power in that wall?

How warm do you want to the keep the cold room?

Best thing to do is get the foam direct to the foundation wall (ideally devoid of a stud wall) and then move your framed wall to the inside edge of that. The frame walls helps pinch the foam and keep it tight to the house and insulated.
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Old 10-30-2014, 08:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windows on Wash View Post
Minnesota is certainly at the top of the US climate spectrum in harshness.

All of those options will work fine in terms of the foam.

I am guessing you are going to frame out the bathroom wall or just furring strips over the foam and drywall? Do you need to run utilities/power in that wall?

How warm do you want to the keep the cold room?


Best thing to do is get the foam direct to the foundation wall (ideally devoid of a stud wall) and then move your framed wall to the inside edge of that. The frame walls helps pinch the foam and keep it tight to the house and insulated.
Thank you!

I also found this in another post
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...,d.cGU&cad=rja

and read it thoroughly.

I don't need to run power or water lines on that wall, and it already has furring strips attached 16" O/C, so I will use the 1 1/2" R10 and foam, then either the R12 or R20 on the interior wall of the cold room.

I need to keep the cold room above freezing for the water lines in there, but will possibly wrap those with heat tape to be sure.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:13 PM   #4
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Keep in mind that when you go below ground you can toss out many/common simplistic or idealistic R-value concepts.

Your soil temp at about 4' below grade is probably about 54F on a long term basis and is afffected by the thermal inertia of "Mother Earth" and not the daily or monthly minor variations. Even near the surface, the interior effects and not always meaningful. Because of this, the R-value of insulation is quite meaningless on a short term basis (short-term time lab basis with no mass effects). Insulation on the interior may be meaningless unless you want to use it to protect the entire mass of the "cold storage" from a hot August day on the south and west sides, while the interior will maintain a decent temperature IF you have a good door/seal between the basement and the cold storage.

If you have wine in the cellar, the hair-splitting could be necessary. Cold storage was done for many decades before the "pink panter" and "r-values" were invented.

For some strange reason, the "harshness" of the weather is not a big factor once you are below ground (aka Mother Nature's realm).

Do not get over aroused by the mythical "frost line" since that is for MAJOR structural damage with frost susceptible soil in about 100 years for the coldest site with no snow cover.

As far as a suggestion, put a thermostat in the "cold room" to see what the temperatures are for a year or so to determine how much insulation you must add to the lightweight walls to keep the cold room where you want it during a year ot so. - The concrete exterior wall will not vary much; the block walls will vary a little more and you may want to insulate the lightweight walls to prevent warming of the "cold room", but the slab and soil (Mother Nature) will stabilze everything. If you have individual concerns about water pipes and tanks, a little heat tape where actually needed will help since they are probably being supplied through the same 54F (or more) under and around your basement.

I had a 1600 sf semi earth-bermed home (masonry with a wood truss roof) about 120 miles north of you that never got below freezing when the furnace was accidentally switched off for a January through February period. No damage and 50F when I walked in after the mistake.

Dick
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