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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Default Insulation Advice

    We recently purchased a house with open dirt floor crawl space in the original part of house built around 1910. A newer addition has fiberglass installed between the floor joists. The house is heated by propane and hot water base board heat. The floors of the first floor that are not insulated are almost as cold as the outdoor temperature. What would be the best way to insulate? The heating pipes are also exposed in the crawl space. Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    NH
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    136

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Hi, What is the foundation under the old house made with? Insolating the floor would be warmer but the pipes may be in the way. Thanks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    First, there should absolutely be a vapor barrier on that bare earth! Also, is this crawl space vent to the exterior, or is it a close off space?

    One alternative, if this is a closed crawl space area, is to divert heat down there after insulating the exterior walls. If this is done, the floors above will be "foot warm" and your comfort will dramatically increase.

    Another alternative, If cost is not of the essence, is to sprayed foam. It will give the best insulation, while making the floor absolutely air tight against air infiltration. A closed cell foam is also an absolute vapor barrier.

    A further alternative would be fiberglass insulation similar to the newer section of the home.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2014
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    8

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MtMan54 View Post
    Hi, What is the foundation under the old house made with? Insolating the floor would be warmer but the pipes may be in the way. Thanks
    It is an open foundation with a dirt crawl space.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    8

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ordjen View Post
    First, there should absolutely be a vapor barrier on that bare earth! Also, is this crawl space vent to the exterior, or is it a close off space?

    One alternative, if this is a closed crawl space area, is to divert heat down there after insulating the exterior walls. If this is done, the floors above will be "foot warm" and your comfort will dramatically increase.

    Another alternative, If cost is not of the essence, is to sprayed foam. It will give the best insulation, while making the floor absolutely air tight against air infiltration. A closed cell foam is also an absolute vapor barrier.

    A further alternative would be fiberglass insulation similar to the newer section of the home.
    It is open to the exterior and we have been getting quotes for sprayed foam. We have had different quotes on closing in the perimeter with plywood or concrete board and doing foam on it or doing foam between the floor joists, or doing both with a vapor barrier on the bare earth. It's so confusing-I am used to having a basement and this is all new to me. Fiberglass insulation seems to be a problem in this area as it is very damp. The location is the Eastern shore of Maryland with colder winters, and this year has been colder than normal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NH
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    136

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by marengo View Post
    It is an open foundation with a dirt crawl space.
    Hi, Most all mobile homes just sit on blocks but they use a skirting around the bottom to enclose them also the floors are insolated. Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    1,766

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Marengo,

    Given that your house is wide open underneath, my first choice would be to completely foam the underside, including that the joists be protected with foam. It has better insulation, will not fall loose, is a total air infiltration barrier and also an insect / varmint barrier. My guess is that you would experience a dramatic increase in comfort and a reduction in your fuel bills.

    If you factor in the costs of not closing in the perimeter of the house, I think foam becomes very competitive. Of course, you might want to enclose it for aesthetic reasons, but merely for aesthtics would be a lot less expensive than trying to make it air tight. I am assumining there is no full perimeter foundation, but that your house sits of piers or columns.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MtMan54 View Post
    Hi, What is the foundation under the old house made with? Insolating the floor would be warmer but the pipes may be in the way. Thanks
    It is a dirt crawl space with no skirting around the perimeter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ordjen View Post
    Marengo,

    Given that your house is wide open underneath, my first choice would be to completely foam the underside, including that the joists be protected with foam. It has better insulation, will not fall loose, is a total air infiltration barrier and also an insect / varmint barrier. My guess is that you would experience a dramatic increase in comfort and a reduction in your fuel bills.

    If you factor in the costs of not closing in the perimeter of the house, I think foam becomes very competitive. Of course, you might want to enclose it for aesthetic reasons, but merely for aesthtics would be a lot less expensive than trying to make it air tight. I am assumining there is no full perimeter foundation, but that your house sits of piers or columns.
    We have had quotes that vary on your suggestions. Some recommended concrete board along with foam around the perimeter as there are hot water baseboard heating pipes in the exposed cold area. This would create what they called a conditioned crawl space and it also included the vapor barrier. I asked the contractor if foam should be done between the floor joists and he said it may not be necessary. The old (cold) part of the house sits on piers with open lattice for aesthetics which would be used in front of the concrete board.

    Other contractors suggested just foaming the joists. Hence, my confusion! Previous home had a basement, so this is all new territory in home ownership. And we looked at the house in the fall before this colder than normal winter set in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Insulation Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MtMan54 View Post
    Hi, Most all mobile homes just sit on blocks but they use a skirting around the bottom to enclose them also the floors are insolated. Thanks
    Thanks, skirting seems to be highly recommended along with vapor barrier and foam.

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