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Old 07-26-2011, 11:15 PM
 
468 posts, read 611,322 times
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This house of mine had 3/4 inch rigid foam board added to the outside before the previous owner put on vinyl siding along with some newer windows and doors. From what I see, when it was first built it had 4 inch walls, drafty, single pane windows along with a multi-panel, single pane thickness, wooden front door with storm doors being unheard of. It didn't get central heat until around 20 years ago.

Located in a neighborhood up on a ridge that's all open farm land, I *try* to imagine how cold and uncomfortable this house was back in the 1920s with the above configuration on a below zero night with a stiff, NW wind howling - oh and I think it had an outhouse those first few years too.

(I actually like how privies take some of the burden off of the indoor bathroom, but on those special nights? Umm, no.)

I don't mean to suggest that I have a shack here. It does have a modernish, poured concrete foundation and the windows and doors have been upgraded (though more is to come), but back in it's early days?

Years ago people were *tough.* 'No doubt about it.

If I build out the studs another inch or so, combined with the rigid foam on the outside, With closed cell foam all the way to the drywall, I'll have walls of around R-40 to 45 and those will be *tight*, sealed walls. I'm also planning on some foam sprayed on the floor of the attic, and then at least 12 inches of fiberglass batting on top of that. Then the 1970s era windows downstairs get replaced with modern, low-E ones... This house already is amazingly quiet when the wind is whipping outside, due I think to the substantial and tough, full dimension studding it's made from along with that rigid foam outside. (The framing members I've already examined seem to be almost as dense as hardwood lumber.) I'm going to eventually apply foam to the foundation sill area in the basement to seal that as well. Then there is the rigid foam that is going on the foundation itself. This house is going to be nearly super-insulated when I'm done with it and I can't wait to see the improvement in comfort and quietness, never mind oil and wood consumption.

I'm probably going to have to add one of those whole house heat recovery ventilators when I'm done insulating, however, as I think this small house (850 sq ft not counting the basement or porch.) will be pretty easy to really tighten up with the foam.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:28 AM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,094 posts, read 5,422,768 times
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If you are going to use furring strips on the studs to give more insulation room, why not just add a layer of 1" cell-o-tex (that silver covered foam) to the inside walls. It will stop the thermal bridging from the studs.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:52 AM
 
468 posts, read 611,322 times
Reputation: 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinB View Post
If you are going to use furring strips on the studs to give more insulation room, why not just add a layer of 1" cell-o-tex (that silver covered foam) to the inside walls. It will stop the thermal bridging from the studs.
Good point Austin.

Very good point, actually. These rather solid, and fully 2 inch wide, but only 4 inch deep studs I mentioned are probably even better bridges than contemporary studs. Certainly compared to the deeper, nominal 2X6, 2X8 materials used of late, my old studs must be much more conductive.

Thanks all for discussions like these. I would have proceeded somewhat in error on this project, except for Austin.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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The home will be built with 2x6 construction for the outside walls. If I use sprayfoam, do I still need to add another form of insulation after that? I was under the impression that sprayfoam alone between the studs would be sufficient? If I had to add another form of insulation, I'd probably throw Roxul on after it. I don't care for working with the fiberglass batt insulation.

back to my original post about heating. so do you think heating via radiant heat installed in the floor joists as my primary method is sufficient? I'm still leaning towards a pellet furnace as my source of heat, with the possibility of a pellet stove as a backup. I'm still concerned about my backup method, because if I'm using radiant heat as my primary, then I'd assume the PEX would have reflector shields under it to maximize the amount of heat that rises. But if I have a stove of any kind as a backup and it's not connected via any ductwork, wouldn't those reflector shields work against me for heat rising from the stove as it tries to go upstairs?

or am I crazy for not wanting to put in baseboard heat?
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,094 posts, read 5,422,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallpines View Post
The home will be built with 2x6 construction for the outside walls. If I use sprayfoam, do I still need to add another form of insulation after that? I was under the impression that sprayfoam alone between the studs would be sufficient? If I had to add another form of insulation, I'd probably throw Roxul on after it. I don't care for working with the fiberglass batt insulation.

back to my original post about heating. so do you think heating via radiant heat installed in the floor joists as my primary method is sufficient? I'm still leaning towards a pellet furnace as my source of heat, with the possibility of a pellet stove as a backup. I'm still concerned about my backup method, because if I'm using radiant heat as my primary, then I'd assume the PEX would have reflector shields under it to maximize the amount of heat that rises. But if I have a stove of any kind as a backup and it's not connected via any ductwork, wouldn't those reflector shields work against me for heat rising from the stove as it tries to go upstairs?

or am I crazy for not wanting to put in baseboard heat?
Spray foam is great, the best. What happens is that every 2 feet, you have a 2x4 that connects the outside wall with the inside wall. The r factor at that spot is about 2-3. Beltrams was talking about shimming out his 2x4's so the suggestion to add the 1" foam would add some expense, but solve the bridging issue
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:13 AM
 
327 posts, read 793,910 times
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Consider this website your new best friend:

Building Science Information

It's a wealth of free, objective, and peer reviewed studies of high r-value construction methods. When we eventually build in Maine I will be going with a variation on double stud wall construction similar to this:

High R-Value Wall Assembly-04: Double Stud Wall Construction — Building Science Information

Basically I'd be following the plans as shown with the addition of 2" rigid foam affixed to the sheathing with 3/4" wood battens, clad in Hardi-plank siding. Total wall would rate at R-40. Combine that with an R-60 roof (easy when you have attic space-just air ceiling and a whole lot of blown cellulose) and you'll have a home with negligible heating and cooling costs.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,722 posts, read 47,483,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallpines View Post
The home will be built with 2x6 construction for the outside walls. If I use sprayfoam, do I still need to add another form of insulation after that? I was under the impression that sprayfoam alone between the studs would be sufficient? If I had to add another form of insulation, I'd probably throw Roxul on after it.
You can use foam only.

But, .... it is expensive.

There are times when one thing has an advantage and a different thing has a different advantage. You could use just one of them, but if you combine them you get both advantages. Like concrete and steel, concrete is good for compression strength [but it cracks when bent], steel is good for withstanding bends [but it is malleable when compressed]; combine steel rebar into your concrete and suddenly you have a far better product.

1 inch of foam gives you all of the advantages of foam [draft sealing, structural integrity, sound deadening], but only R-8 for a lot of cash. fiberglass can then give you lots of R [without the settling that blow-in does]. Combining foam and fiberglass gives you both advantages.



Quote:
... I don't care for working with the fiberglass batt insulation.
Join the club, everyone on the planet hates 'itch'.





Quote:
... back to my original post about heating. so do you think heating via radiant heat installed in the floor joists as my primary method is sufficient?
Pex hung on the bottom side of the OSB with metal flashing to conduct the heat out to the floor. Not on the joists.



Quote:
... I'm still leaning towards a pellet furnace as my source of heat, with the possibility of a pellet stove as a backup.
You can't use both pellet burners to heat the water in your radiant system?

The problem with a primary and secondary both using the same fuel should be obvious. We have no idea what fuel prices will look like in a year. If pellet prices go up then you have no options. If the price of propane drops you have no ability to take advantage of it.

Also both pellet stoves will have auger-feeds which require electricity. We lose electricity fairly often.



Quote:
... I'm still concerned about my backup method, because if I'm using radiant heat as my primary, then I'd assume the PEX would have reflector shields under it to maximize the amount of heat that rises. But if I have a stove of any kind as a backup and it's not connected via any ductwork, wouldn't those reflector shields work against me for heat rising from the stove as it tries to go upstairs?
Metal flashing used for spreading heat to the floor, is not a heat shield.

If you want ducts, then get ducts.

I have had to clean ductwork to reduce mold infestations, I hated it. But you might easily go 5 years or 10 years before it becomes an issue.



Quote:
... or am I crazy for not wanting to put in baseboard heat?
I am not a good judge of that.

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Old 07-27-2011, 02:06 PM
 
7 posts, read 9,702 times
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If sprayfoam insulation costs me twice that of standard insulation, I'll still go forward with it. If it costs me much more than double, I have to rethink what I'm gonna do.

so it sounds as though radiant heat is viable. If I go with that as my primary source, would I be foolish if I didn't run some sort of ductwork or a baseboard install as a backup? Truthfully, I don't like anything that relies on ductwork, due to the allergies, dust, etc it brings along with it. But it sounds as though if I have a backup, whether it be a stove or whatever, that I need some sort of opening for the heat to rise to provide a level of comfort throughout the whole house? I could build with stairs that are open to the basement, I suppose. One other question, if I'm running a stove (of any type) in the basement, and rely on heat to rise naturally to the upstairs (with no ducts), then wouldn't the temperature in the basement be rather uncomfortable, making it unappealing to use a living space?
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:24 AM
 
393 posts, read 789,607 times
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We have multi-zone hydronic radiant heat with pex tubing under polished cement floors. Furnace is Premier brand. It works great but propane is expensive so we use it as backup. We do use a wood stove, but in your case I'd highly recommend the pellet stove (one in basement, and one above) as primary (or just one as a backup to the floor radiant). We also used closed-cell foam insulation. HIGHLY recommended. Once your house gets up to temperature, it stays at that temperature for much longer. We only used 3 cords of wood to heat our house, about 1900 sq. feet including both levels (main and basement).
To summerize: I'd use multi-zone , and insulate very well.

Last edited by gcberry; 07-28-2011 at 04:25 AM.. Reason: correction
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:26 AM
 
393 posts, read 789,607 times
Reputation: 297
Spray foam insulation come in two forms: open cell and closed cell. Go with the closed cell.
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