Insulating Ceiling

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by imaketouchtheme, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Is anyone here familiar with insulation? I purchased my first home recently and have noticed several "silly" approaches that were made throughout the house. There is a basement / garage in the house and the basement half stays warm but the garage is freezing (I'm fine with that). The bad part is the living room, dining room, and kitchen are above the garage, and the rooms are INCREDIBLY cooler than the bedrooms above the basement. Probably at least 8 degree difference. Also, you can barely walk on the hardwood floors in those rooms it is so cold. I noticed the ceiling in the basement has insulation but the garage does not. Any recommendations on insulating that celing? Is that my culprit? If so, what should I buy and is it easy to do yourself?
     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #2
    I would start with a insulated garage door. That will give you some R value. Then look at rigid insulation http://www.homedepot.com/p/Super-TU...R-6-5-Foam-Insulation-268426/100322374?N=baxx for the ceiling.
     
  3. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

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  4. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    You generally want to insulate the living spaces of the house from the garage.

    Garages contain automobile exhaust gases, and gasoline and other vapors you really don't want getting into the rest of the house. And cold rooms above the garage suggests, to me, that there is not very good insulation.

    At the very minimum you ought to check that both the ceiling and the walls are air-sealed. Typically this is provided by a combination of kraft paper on the fiberglass insulation bats that go between the ceiling joists, Tyvek or other vapor barrier, and expanding foam insulation around any holes for wiring conduits.

    It may be necessary to remove any drywall in the garage to install insulation and air seal the space. It may be possible to blow insulation into a series of holes drilled in the ceiling and walls - but this is not going to provide the air sealing that you really ought to have in a garage.

    I don't know how old your house is, but this really is the sort of thing that the building permit and inspection process ought to have caught - at least in newer construction.
     
  5. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #5
    Garages if they are not part of the living space are probably not insulated, however the inside walls (living space) next to the garage should be insulated and if there is living space above the garage, the garage ceiling then should be insulated. This does not prevent you from insulating the garage door, and walls on exterior walls too, but if the living space was properly insulated to begin with then that extra step should not be necessary, unless you want the garage to stay warmer. They make brackets to hold the insulation bats up in the ceiling joists or you can use sheets of molded foam and then cover them with a thin plywood type of material or drywall for appearance sake. Some states require drywall in the garage as part of building code.

    Basement ceilings are not usually insulated.

    On an existing structure, the easiest way to insulate finished walls is to blow insulation into the walls, but you'll have holes to repair.
     
  6. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Don't bother insulating your garage, unless you have it climate controlled (heated and cooled). Instead, insulate the wall (or in this case, ceiling) between your garage and other insulated spaces in your house.

    Done "the right way," this would involve removing one layer of sheet rock, rolling out the batt insulation in the joist cavities, and replacing the sheet rock. The thickness of the wall/ceiling construction should be the thickness of your insulation, likely 6" for the garage ceiling and 4" for walls (but check before you buy).

    Another way to add insulation without tearing out sheet rock is to buy rigid insulation. It's more expensive, but you can simply apply it to the surface inside the garage without any demolition. Try to get at least R-11, but don't spend too much extra to get more than that (diminishing returns).
     
  7. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #7
    Is there any sheetrock in the garage now or is it open bay?
     
  8. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Here is a picture of the garage ceiling. Directly above this is my living room and it has hardwood floors. The house was constructed in the 50s. I assume there isn't insulation between the pieces of wood in the picture and my hardwood, correct?

    Thanks again for the help.
     

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  9. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #9
    Well I can see why your floors are cold! There might be a vapor barrier between the two floors, but considering the age of the house even that is doubtful. I would recommend installing insulation batts between the joists then a vapor barrier and finally sheetrock the ceiling. It will cost some money, but it is something that needs to be done.
     
  10. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    That picture shows a garage that is illegal by todays code (at least in my area). An attached garage like you show should be fully isolated from any living space and not allow any vapors into any other room.

    To do it properly you will need to put insulation in, then drywall the area, then go around with a caulking to seal all the joints where drywall meets drywall and where the drywall meets the floor/cinder block walls.

    Franky I am surprised an inspector did not catch that when doing the review. Unless it is not code in your area. Had my garage looks like that my inspector would have advised me to not buy the house until that was fixed or that there be something in the contract in the way of money compensation to make sure the work would be done upon me moving in.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #11
    Ya that would not pass code. That would be the subfloor you are seeing.
     
  12. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Well, neither the inspector or appraiser said anything. Maybe it's different in this area. Regardless, it sucks, so I'm assuming adding insulation will help? Should I get the kind that rolls out or in sheets?
     
  13. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    Unless I'm mistaken, just because it doesn't pass code now doesn't mean it didn't when the house was built and does not mean it should "fail" the inspection. Sure, the inspector probably should have noted it on the inspection but it might have been tough to make adding the insulation a condition of the sale. The building should be grandfathered regardless of change of ownership. Now if any structural, electrical or plumbing changes need to be made (and inspected) in the space, it ma need to be brought to code.

    As for the original question, yeah that would certainly cause a cold floor and I would make efforts to insulate the ceiling/floor. I would do fiberglass batts and, if you have the headroom, foam sheets. The bracing looks like it might cause some cold spots, the foam sheets could help even things out.
     
  14. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    You are correct on the being grandfathered in thing. It still should have been pointed out by the inspector. I would cringe if there as any plumbing running through that area, count yourself lucky if you are in a cold area and no pipes have burst.

    Batt insulation is likely going to be your best option. If you really want to spend some money and "do it right" you could find a local company that does spray foam insulation. Have them come in, spray foam, and then put up your drywall.
     
  15. Gav2k macrumors G3

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    #15
    +1 for spray foam!!
     
  16. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Spray foam has a couple of advantages over fiberglass batts.

    Due to its nature it is very effective at plugging up any air gaps. Cold air infiltration really diminishes the effective R-Value of insulation. And, again, the OP really needs to find a way to prevent the toxic vapors present in a household garage from getting into his living space.

    The other advantage of spray foam (in this instance) is that it is very good at fitting around existing conduits, bracing, etc. You can cut and fit fiberglass batting, but compressing it (as you almost inevitably have to do) decreases its effective R-Value.

    Its not cheap to have a professional company come in and spray insulating foam. However the energy savings, combined with the reduction of hazardous vapors, and increased household comfort - really ought to make this a "no-brainer" sort of investment.
     
  17. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #17
    West Virginia is certainly not a tropical climate. I'd be willing to be that any new construction would require that garage ceiling to be insulated, and that this requirement has probably been in place there for decades. If you mentioned the year the house was built, I missed it.

    "Roll out" or insulation batts between joists will help reduce the transfer of cold through the flooring. However, the joists themselves will transfer cold to the floor also. Therefore, rigid insulation under the joists would be needed to reduce that. But, you've got a garage door opener to work around, probably some lights and conduit, or anything that's secured to the joists. Try the batts between joists first and see if that helps enough, or if more is needed.

    Rigid insulation can be easily damaged, so if that is added, you might want to cover it with 1/4" plywood or some drywall. How thick you go will depend on how much head room you have in your garage.

    Many modern houses have 1" rigid insulation as sheathing on exterior walls, with vinyl siding over it on the outside, and of course, drywall on the inside. Plus, a blown in insulation is often installed from the inside, after a vapor barrier is stretched over the wall studs, and, obviously, before the drywall is hung. That's the same method that you may want to apply to your garage ceiling, using insulation batts instead of loose insulation.
     
  18. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Fire-rated drywall for the ceiling would be best and is probably code. Something you'd want to consider especially with living space directly above. We had a client whose house burnt down, it started in the garage from faulty wiring in their SUV, --happened just as the owner was going to bed, fortunately not after! Their house was huge and only one story but it raced from one end to the other rather quickly.
     
  19. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #19
    Because of the cross-bracing, spray foam it!

    We did six inches of spray foam in a basement ceiling (almost exactly like yours) to insulate for a walk in cooler. Worked like a charm!

    It can be done right around the existing wiring and utilities, creates an air-tight seal, and will be done a lot faster then messing with batting. Yah, it's going to be more expensive, but you will end up with a better seal, more insulation, and much less disruption to the family and living space (much faster). One suggestion - if you are planning on any utility or wiring upgrades, get them done before you spray foam!
     
  20. MacNut macrumors Core

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    Agreed, do any wiring or plumbing work before spraying. That stuff will harden up and make it nearly impossible to snake wires after.
     
  21. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Thanks again.

    Would this do the trick?

    www.lowes.com/pd_31116-1722-B1284_4294858103__?productId=3032423&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1%26page%3D1&facetInfo=

    What R value would you recommend? It gets around 45 or so in that garage.
     
  22. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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  23. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #23
    I don't think you need to go much above 30.
     
  24. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #24
    The OP lists his location as West Virginia, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say the codes don't even remotely look into this kind of thing given the state's history.

    OP, just to be clear this is not a knock on you or your house. I've been doing work at my (parents) house recently and have come to the conclusion that my house was thrown together from the scraps of the housing development that my neighborhood grew out of (back in the 50's).

    I can't tell you how shocked I was to find that the ONLY stud running in one of my living room's wall (which separates it from the stairs) is running horizontally at about 3 feet from the floor. HUGELY useful for mounting the TV :mad:

    :p
     
  25. vrDrew, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #25
    West Virginia is listed as "Zone 4" in the US by the EPA for purposes of insulation recommendations. Flooring in Zone 4 should be a minimum of "R-25 to R-30" - and the Johns Manville fiberglass you linked to has an R-Value of 13

    Its up to you to decide if you want to put in the less than the minimum recommended insulation. But I'd keep in mind that insulation with more than twice as much thermal transfer resistance only costs a few dollars more per roll. Given that most of the cost of your upgrade is going to be for labor and/or time - I'd give serious consideration to using batts with an R-30 rating.

    The extra $50 or so that its going to cost to insulate your garage (with high R-value materials) will be repaid pretty quickly through reduced heating and air conditioning bills.
     

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