Insulating basement ceiling


Old 12-08-06, 12:03 PM
Ode is offline
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Red face Insulating basement ceiling

Our basement is 50% insulated. However our main floor is very, very cold. Any thoughts/comments about insulating the ceiling of the basement (our main floor) which the is 90% hardwood, 10% tile....? Is this something we should be doing, I've always heard that it's not really the best thing to do....? Any comments and/or suggestions would be a great help.......

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Old 12-08-06, 05:07 PM
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Insulating basement ceiling

Cost-wise, it probably would not pay since your basement really isn't that cold and you probably have uninsulated, unsealed doors. the insulation only slows the rate of heat loss since you are dealing with hightweight construction with not capacity to store heat.

The real problem is the hard floors that will always feel cold to the touch.

Its not easy to understand, but the pink panther does a good job of fooling/leading people on the concept of energy conservation.

Old 12-15-06, 05:40 PM
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If you insulate the basement ceiling and the basement is indeed cold I think it would help.

If the rate of heat loss from the basement through the floor is decreased through the use of insulation then that means the temperature differential between the top of the floor and bottom of the floor has also decreased. Assuming the basement temperature is the same before and after installing the insulation, which is will be unless you have a really cold basement, then that means the floor has become warmer. Which is of course what you are after.

Insulation does work by decreasing heat loss, or by increasing thermal resistance and a by product of this is decreasing the temperature differential through the barrier one is trying to prevent heat loss.

And yes, a wood floor will feel cooler to the touch than carpet, and tile will feel cooler than wood even though all three are at the same temperature. This is because tile has a higher thermal conductivity than wood, and wood higher than carpet. i.e. more heat flows OUT of your hand when you touch tile than wood when they are at the same temperature. People don't detect "temperature," we detect heat loss or gain in our skin and interpret that as temperature. Losing a little bit of heat, object feels cold. Lose a lot of heat, object feels really cold. Skin gains a little heat, object feels hot. The brain automatically does the translation of heat loss to perceived temperature.

But when you are talking about Heat Transfer one looks at temperature differentials and thermal resistance, or conversely thermal conductivity.

So, in conclusion, if you're basement is about 10 or more degrees F colder than your upstairs living area it might be worth it to insulate the ceiling. But remember you have to do a good job installing the insulation between the joist spaces, making sure there are no air gaps and that you keep the thickness of the insulation. Insuation works by preventing convection (air movement) so the more air you stop moving the better the space will be insulated.

The part about insulating if 10F or greater is just my opinion. The rest is basic heat transfer theory.

- Mark
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