New home 3 season room to 4 season...kind of.

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Old 12-14-12, 08:53 AM
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New home 3 season room to 4 season...kind of.

Hello all. I posted one other time in this forum and people were such a help...thanks. Here is my next "project". I'll try to describe it as best that I can. We have a 3 season room off of our kitchen. It is roughly 14'x16'. The floor is definitely insulated (second floor and spa room below it). It has double glazed windows all the way around (clear Anderson) and cellular blinds on all of the windows. I figure and R-Value of about 6 with blinds down and thw windows (fixed) and top 18" is awning. Three sides face outside and the windows run on all three sides and up to 7' high (including the 18" awning openings on top). The side against the house leads into the kitchen and there are french doors that open into the sun room. These French door are also double glazed.
The walls above the windows are insulated on all three sides.

Now here come the part of concern. This room peaks in the center to about 15' or so and it's quite beautiful because it's all wood on the ceiling and a few cross beams half way up. We have a portable oil filled heater in that room and even on nights that got down to 30 Degrees or a bit lower I could keep the oil heater on low, french doors opened and all was well with the room. The gas (home) heater seemed to click on/off as it normall did and was able to get to temperature normally in the AM. However, we had a 20 Degree night and when I walked out this AM the heater (home) will a few degrees short at 6 AM but the sun room felt the same temperature. There was frost on the roof outside. I ran out to see if there was frost on the sun room roof (checking for heat loss) and there was, but not as heavy or as pronounced as the rest of the house.

So here is my question or concern. First, how do I find out if the roof is insulated? The way it peaks, there is NO way to look in from the attic. It was added on in 1989 by the previous owner as per code.
Second, the roof peaks, you can see the extra heavy duty (stained) support beams then tongue and groove stained wood on top of that. Then the roof on the outside (recently replaced by a roofer thanks to hurricane Sandy). What's in between the tongue and groove wood and the roof? Air space? Some insulation? Would the frost be completely gone if there were no insulation and a 68 deg sun room? Or is it plywood directly on top? There are NO vents on the soffit but there is a ridge vent the roofer installed.

The only way I can describe the cathedral ceiling is how it would look at an I-hop. Kind of an attic look with tongue and groove that's stained.

Are there any options to insulate or put a clear membrane on the wood (low E) to slow down heat flow or simply live with it as it is and close it off on nights below 30 Deg?

I love the room and we just bought some used wicker furniture. In the winter it's really nice to sit in the sunlight and cheers me up a bit.

Anyway, I know this is long and thanks in advance for any ideas or input.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 08:59 AM
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Too bad you didn't think of this when the new roof was being installed, that would have been an ideal time to look and then add insulation if it was needed. I'm afraid the only way to know is get into the space and look, which means either punching through the ceiling or the roof.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 09:31 AM
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I know, I thought about it afterwards. There was clean up, getting things back in order and other life's problems that I finally just got around to it. I guess I could carefully drill a hole in the wood and see if there is space or plywood directly on top...but then I'm concerned that I'd penetrate it.

However, fwiw, when I put my palm on the ceiling it was room temperature and I did not feel any drafts or cold radiating off of it.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 09:53 AM
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I'd be surprised if there wasn't any insulation but I'd bet it's not a lot.

The other side of the coin is what are you going to do if you find out there isn't any or there's at least room to add more?
 
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Old 12-15-12, 04:06 AM
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Even with insulation, you may not have air movement. Does the addition have ridge vents? Does it have soffit venting? If the soffit venting is vinyl, you MAY be able to remove a panel and look up into the rake and see if there is any insulation and baffles. Air must move over the insulation, thus the baffles.

10 degree change outside with only a degree or so inside isn't bad. You must remember, too you have only R6 in the walls where there are windows, so don't expect miracles.
 
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Old 12-17-12, 08:30 AM
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There are no soffitt vents. So I can pull off the vinyl and check later this week. The room stays pretty toasty even when it's in the low 30's outside so I'm assuming there is some insulation? Also, what would be the ramifications if I put 2"x4" on side of the rafters and lowered the ceilings using R13? Do I need to circulate air somehow? Do I need inside vents at the top and bottom? Could this effectively cause more problems like moisture, mildew, sweating, etc?
 
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Old 12-17-12, 03:48 PM
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Actually moving the air will prevent problems like moisture, mildew, etc. Having stagnant air above the insulation will be the culprit. Adding the lumber below will allow for baffles as well as insulation, so you can't go wrong with it.
 
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Old 12-17-12, 09:13 PM
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what would be the ramifications if I put 2"x4" on side of the rafters and lowered the ceilings using R13?
If you demo the ceiling to add insulation and ventilation, you can use rigid insulation applied to the rafters as part of increasing their depth and, at the same time, defeat the thermal bridging that they allow.

R-13 sounds low for a ceiling; that's typically a wall value.
 
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