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Old 03-28-2014, 01:13 PM   #1
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Cold floors on second story


Hi -
We used to have a 1.5 story bungalow (first floor plus dormered second floor). A few years back, we tore off the dormers and added a full second story. Now, the floors in the new space are pretty darn cold in the winter. When the new space was added, the new joists were placed on top of the existing floors and exterior walls. Imagine if you cut a hole in the new floor and looked through - you would see the old hardwood floors.
I assume that the floors are cold because they are now over what is, essentially, an unheated space.

Would pulling up the subfloor and insulating the joist cavities help this situation? I've read varying opinions on this, but it seems like that would be the solution. Assuming I do insulate, should a vapor barrier be used? If so, would it go between the cold space and the insulation, or between the insulation and the plywood subfloor?
Thanks for any advise/opinions/information.

Mark
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #2
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The perimeter was probably not insulated at the floor joists. Since you have 2 sets of joists you would need to get in each layer. You would remove a 12" strip of drywall around perimeter or the subfloor in second floor which ever you feel more comfortable with . The cut the flooring out in middle to add insulation to other part. I dont think its worth insulating the whole floor unless you want sound insulation. You can also insulate from the outside of house too . Remove siding and sheating to insulate
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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If I understand this correctly, when the new joists were added the floor was doubled creating another air space which is another insulator. iow, the heat from the first level ceiling that was warming the original floor previously has been cut off by the air space which makes the new floor colder. Adding insulation will only worsen the situation even more by preventing the ceiling heat from the lower level warming the upper floor. In floor radiant heating is a good floor warmer.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #4
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@JustinK - If I remove siding/sheathing, won't I simply be looking at a rim joist? Do I need to insulate behind the rim joist?

@Fairview - Your understanding is correct, re: air spaces. Not arguing with your evaluation, nor do I WANT to rip up the subfloor, but I'm just trying to better understand... I understand that insulating the floor would prevent whatever heat manages to radiate up from the first floor from getting to the second floor. But, wouldn't the insulation also prevent the heat in the room from being lost into the colder airspace?

What seems to be an easy subject (insulation), always seems so counter-intuitive to me...

Thanks for all of your help,

Mark

P.S. I'm not planning on doing this myself, but when I bring in contractors, I want to have some information so that I'm not misled and make things worse...

Last edited by mchappell; 03-28-2014 at 02:58 PM.
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