Insulate above Drop Ceiling


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Old 10-17-09, 09:36 AM
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Insulate above Drop Ceiling

We have just gone through a professional mold abatement in our house, and everything is torn up, but certified mold clear. Our laundry room was severely affected, and the floor, drywall walls and insulation, and drop ceiling all came out. We now must get going and get some insulation back in that room, as it is getting cold here in CT!

Question: The original ceiling in the room is a very high cathedral ceiling. We really want the drop ceiling back in there, as there is plumbing and electrical above where it was. The plumbing runs a few inches above where the ceiling rails are. What is the best way to install insulation above the drop ceiling? What is the best type to use? We need to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter and not sweating in the summer (this was a huge source of the mold problem back there). I have read conflicting information on what to use. Batts? Faced, unfaced? Which side up? Rigid up on the original ceiling? Create another structure in between? Or something else???????

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-17-09, 11:51 AM
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Hi fixit and welcome to the forum. Adding a drop ceiling with insulation above it and then an open space to the original cieling sounds like a problem. Then add in the pipes that you don't want to freeze and we, at least I, need some pictures.
http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...your-post.html

At issue is keeping warm moist inside air from coming into contact with cooler surfaces. Moisture will condense out and you will be right back to where you started. Drop ceilings and fiberglass insulation do not block air.

Before I guess too much, tell us more about the existing ceiling, any venting at the soffits or the attic above?

Bud
 
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Old 10-17-09, 12:39 PM
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I will try to get some pics shortly. Meanwhile, the original cathedral ceiling is wooden planks, with no venting! The house was built in 1960, and originally, there was no insulation in the roof (or anywhere else) - and the ceiling was a beam construction, with T&G interior planking, and then shingles on the other side. Since then, we built another structure on top of the old roof, in which we installed insulation and vents. But the interior of that room is not vented. There is no attic.

It is sounding like you are saying that the drop ceiling might not be a good idea - in general. As I mentioned, we have the plumbing and electrical to conceal at a much lower height than the cathedral ceiling - and also hate to try and heat that very high space (~15').
 
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Old 10-17-09, 02:08 PM
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Your description is good, but pictures will help. I'll wait.

Bud
 
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Old 10-17-09, 04:25 PM
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OK, here are som pix. I am trying to show the white railing, water pipes above it, some electrical stuff, and then the duct work for HVAC (not currently used, but we will be re-installing Central A/C in the near future.) Also, the actual original ceiling planks themselves. Hope this helps. Also, imagine, the one end of the room is not as high (by the stone chimney and washer/dryer), and then goes way up to around 15'.

Pictures by fixitmom - Photobucket
 
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Old 10-17-09, 04:57 PM
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Good pictures but, all close-ups. If you get a chance, try some full view shots to help us put it all together.

My thoughts so far are, you will have to create an insulated, sealed ceiling back up at the full ceiling height, walls also, and then a false decorative ceiling to hide the utilities, that could be a drop ceiling with no insulation. By super insulating up top, the heat will go nowhere so no lost energy and related high costs. All of your plumbing will be safe and no condensation to cause more mold.

I would also check with the abatement contractor to get him to sign off on any finish work you plan or do so he can't come back at you later and say you were the cause of the mold returning. Not to scare you, but mold never goes away, only the conditions that allow it to grow. The soil, our lawns, trees, all have mold on them and it only needs moisture to grow.

more pics
Bud
 
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Old 10-17-09, 05:22 PM
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I know, the mold thing is really scary. In fact, after the abatement was done, the environmental guy came in and tested again, and failed the abatement because of something like 3 mold spores showing up. They had to rescrub for a week.... There were a lot more mold spores showing up in the outside air than inside (only makes sense...)

Anyway, 5 new photos uploaded.
Pictures by fixitmom - Photobucket

Now, let's talk about how to insulate that upper ceiling.....
 
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Old 10-17-09, 06:13 PM
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Woah....

Seems like there is some miscommunication here.

On the mold - there was no bleach or physical scrubbing used. The affected area was physically contained, and a negative air pressure system was set up. All workers wore protective apparel and professional masks. The "scrubbing" I referred to were air scrubbers - so many per cubic feet of area. These ran continuously.... even after the physical abatement was done (sheetrock, homosole, insulation, flooring removed, treated and sealed.)

On the house - there is no second floor addition. There is no attic. We did not build anything..... This was a utility room that had everything exposed. All we did was put in a drop ceiling to try and keep the heat down and hide some of the mess. We made the mistake of running plumbing lines to the washer/dryer above the drop ceiling, which got a huge amount of consensation on them in the hot, humid summer.
 
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Old 10-18-09, 04:20 AM
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Hi, all I'm getting with the link is the sign-up page. But I get it with both links, and your first one worked before so I'll assume they are doing something. I'll check back later.

Bud
 
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Old 10-18-09, 06:23 AM
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The album seems to working OK now.

One other thing - there is no basement or attic in this part of the house - it was built on a cement slab. So this room acts as the utility room which would normally be hidden in the basement. We did put a whole addition onto the house, which has a partial basement, and houses the furnace and second electrical panel. It's a hodgepodge - but the best way the engineers could get it to work. With permits. And inspections.
 
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Old 10-18-09, 07:57 AM
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It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to give you a specific recommendation, I would have to do a site visit for this. But here are some thoughts:
1. Any ducts in unconditioned spaces need to be insulated and air sealed.

2. An uninsulated slab will be a challenge to heat. Perimeter rigid insulation can be added to reduce its exposure to air and soil.

3. Plumbing and ducts may benefit from being relocated to the warm side of whatever you add.

4. If the space above were turned into an attic, pipes and ducts moved, ventilation added to maintain a cold roof, and insulation added between the new attic space and other conditioned walls.

5. If you can't relocate the pipes and they end up in a cold space, then you need to add substantial insulation between the pipes and the cold area AND remove the insulation between the pipes and their source of heat.

I hope this helps. Perhaps some of the pros will offer some thoughts.

Bud
 
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Old 10-18-09, 08:34 AM
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Bud,

Thanks for your help. In looking at the situation in a new light, with your input, we are going to do the following:

Add venting to the existing plank ceiling, and insulate up in that space, to make a cold roof.

Insulate all of the walls up to the roof.

Insulate pipes (mainly to stop from sweating in the humid summer.)

I believe this should create a 'warm' room that houses all of this stuff.

Then we can add a drop (or other) ceiling back, to hide a bunch of the mechanicals.

The slab, as you mentioned, is a problem to keep warm. We have the same issue with one bathroom and the great room, which are part of the 'old' house (on the slab), and also had to go under mold abatement. Right now, the finish flooring in those two rooms is completely gone, and we are down to cement floor in the bathroom, and asbestos tiles in the great room. We will tile the bathroom floor (our kitchen, also on the slab, is tiled, and not really a problem). We are looking at different flooring systems for the great room. We would like to put in wood flooring. There are a couple of products on the market made for this application that we've seen that are an underlayment that provide channeling for air circulation under your wood flooring. The situation was so bad this summer, when we did the abatement, that after it was done, I washed the floors, and it took over 3 days to dry!

Also, adding central a/c to the new part of the house, and reconnecting the a/c in the old part, should help with the humidity in the house.

Any other comments are welcome!
Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-18-09, 10:57 AM
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It sounds like you are headed in the right direction. You can search buildingscience.com for a ton of information.

Here are some related links:
Welcome To Home Energy Magazine Online
BSD-102: Understanding Attic Ventilation —

Here is a link that may provide some floor help.
BSI-003: Concrete Floor Problems —

Stay warm
Bud
 
 

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