Saturday, November 06, 2010

Insulation time!

Our family room, first floor half bathroom and mudroom in the back of the house all sit over a crawlspace. Come fall we can tell these rooms are much cooler than the rest of the house. Come winter we repeatedly say we have to do something to fix the problem. After our first winter in the house we decided to open the only entrance to the crawlspace to allow some heat to get in and we installed insulation boards around the foundation on the outside. I was not interested going into the crawlspace that appeared to have less than 2' of head room and a couple old radiators pipes covered in asbestos wrap hanging in the opening. Well... we had an asbestos abatement company come out to remove the old pipes and I climbed in to take a closer look. It was terrible! You can see my foot in the top photo. I took a majority of the failing fiberglass insulation out by crawling on my stomach and back and kicking it out the lone opening. Again, it was terrible.

We filled up two giant garbage bins with the old insulation.

In order to remedy the issue we had several insulation companies come out. They all had different opinions. They all agreed removing the fiberglass batting that hung in the ceiling of the crawlspace (so the floor of the family room, etc) was a great idea. Some recommended vapor barriers and just foam insulation on the interior walls, others, new fiber glass and a heat supply to warm it up from underneath, and a range of these things. One company told us to cover the ceiling and walls in closed cell foam insulation. It would seal out moisture from the dirt floor, and all cold air. When complete we'd have an R30 in the ceiling and R14 on the walls. After checking Angie's List we decided to hire this company.

This is the inside of the trailer they brought to our house. They ran a hose from the trailer to the crawlspace and covered everything in foam.

This is the view from the crawlspace opening. The installation crew said it was one of the tightest spots they've been in.

We also decided to have this company insulate under the soffit of the stairway landing that cantilevered out over the side door. That was another super cold area in our house we knew needed attention.

Here is a photo from right after we put in the new side door. The problem area is right above the door.

After I removed the aluminum soffit there was a layer of old wood, then nothing. Absolutely nothing but the soffit joists; an empty area for cold air. The last photo (on the far right) is after the foam insulation was installed.

The foam was the most expensive option (compared to cellulose, fiberglass, etc), but it is also the best R value and it is a closed cell foam so it stops moisture. Plus because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we can get a tax credit for 30% of the cost of the materials up to $1,500.

1 comment:

monkeywithchainsaw said...

I have a dream of remodeling our half story upstairs and spray-foaming the walls and ceiling. I'm envious. How much did it improve the spaces you insulated?