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Old 03-21-2017, 07:42 AM   #1
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Insulate or not to insulate


I have an unfinished basement and I have a quandary, how do I insulate the floors and not create a problem with moister? Then again should I even worry about it and leave the floors alone as they have been this way for 88 years. I know the picture is not the best, but it gives the general idea of what I have.

Before I am told to search, I did, but can't find a suitable answer to my question.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:49 AM   #2
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


Are you talking about the basement ceiling (i.e. main level floor) or the basement floor?
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:56 AM   #3
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


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Originally Posted by Windows on Wash View Post
Are you talking about the basement ceiling (i.e. main level floor) or the basement floor?
Basement ceiling.
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


Ah ha I was getting ready to reply about the concrete floor.
Basement ceiling are usually insulated when the basement is unheated. In your case it looks to be indirectly heated so your insulation should go around the top portion of the foundation plus all of the rim cavities. Air sealing and insulating those rim areas is one of the easier and better improvements to make and the result is a warmer basement without adding more heat. There is also a big plus in that the floors stay warmer.

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Old 03-21-2017, 10:18 AM   #5
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


+1

At this point, air seal and insulate the rim joists as well as the basement walls.

https://buildingscience.com/document...m-at-rim-joist
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:43 AM   #6
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


Thanks guys.

Let me say this, I have solid brick walls on the outside, no studs. Don't know what they call that type of construction.

So you suggest insulate around where the floor meets the walls and call it good?
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


The wood perimeter, I call it the rim joist, plus the exposed area of the foundation plus a foot or two below grade are your high loss areas. Any exposed foundation has about the same r-value as single pane of glass. I'll be generous and say a double pane window as I don't have a rating for bricks. But just as windows can be improved with almost any additional covering so can the exposed area. As little as 1" of rigid foam insulation makes a big difference. A picture of what you are dealing with may help our advice.

In the rim area a 2" layer of rigid foam and then your choice of batt insulation works well. There are additional thoughts on that but I'll wait for pictures. 88 years ago they did things a bit differently.

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Old 03-22-2017, 04:15 PM   #8
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


With your solid load-bearing walls, you probably don't have a wood rim joist, all joists just stick out of the wall- SOP, correct? If so, adding 1/2" XPS (unfaced) would meet your climate conditions against condensation (but not Code), and further adding some R-13 would meet minimum Energy Code requirements in Zone 4; http://energycode.pnl.gov/EnergyCode...h%20Carolina-- check local AHJ...

If not insulating the CMU wall above/below grade at this time, just do between the joists, since your frost-line is only 4" below grade. http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Manufactur...ions/15-25.pdf I don't see it as a usable living space without the code required headroom, measure below the ducting...plus framing/drywall. Is your goal warmer floors above?

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Last edited by Gary in WA; 03-22-2017 at 04:18 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 03-26-2017, 05:56 PM   #9
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


I've been thinking about your situation a little more... I would leave the bricks between joists un-insulated if you have the bricks sealed on the exterior; the warm basement air is now drying any moisture from exterior that the bricks are allowing through due to capillary wicking or solar drive; https://buildingscience.com/document...voir-claddings

For those readers unfamiliar with brick walls/floor joists, they are let-in to the brick at construction, with ends beveled in case of fire- they won't disrupt the wall/roof if just the floor caves in, fig. #5- but sleepyg has CMUs on inside which was cheaper/quicker than full double/triple brick alone (as pictured?);https://buildingscience.com/document...ience-insights
No wood rims as they would be embedded in the bricks from both sides and rot out for sure, Framing 101.

Any other questions, sleepyg?

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Old 03-27-2017, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: Insulate or not to insulate


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Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
Any other questions, sleepyg?

Gary
Thanks Gary,
No more questions, now just get the BOSS to go along with it!

The area that the joist intersect the walls are still good wood, even the wood wedges that help level the ends are good.

The house has good bones.

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