1955 Cape Cod insulation questions


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Old 10-09-13, 11:03 AM
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1955 Cape Cod insulation questions

Hello,

I've got a 1 1/2 story Cape Cod in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and I was hoping to get some input on how I can best insulate it.

I plan on sealing off the knee walls with 2 in rigid foam, and foam spray, along with any light fixtures, electrical boxes, pipe chases, and anything else I can find that's open.

My question to you is.....Should I use blown in insulation over the existing batting I have in my two crawlspaces on each side of the bedroom? if so, when I install soffit baffels, can I let the insulation touch against these, as it will be pretty close to the roof deck.

How much R value should I put in the crawlspaces? I can also access the top attic which has batting just to the top of the joists.

As you can see from the pictures, the outside walls in the attic crawlspace have no insulation at all. How should I insulate these? and how can I better insulate my knee walls?

Please let me know if I'm missing anything, as I want to do this right!

Thank you in advance

~Adam
 
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Old 10-09-13, 11:12 AM
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when I install soffit baffels,
You have no soffit vents right? Why install the baffles.

Yours is insulated like my cape but Mine has the roof insulated and sheet rocked. My knee walls are just sheet rock...

What issues are you having that you are undertaking this project?

Capes are cold up there in winter and hot in summer... Its just the design IMO...
 
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Old 10-09-13, 11:24 AM
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thanks for the quick reply lawrosa.....yes they are hot and cold.....I do have soffit vents, although you cannot see them from this picture. my house is drafty and cold in the winter....I would like to insulate the knee walls with rigid foam to seal them up, along with more insulation, as what I have now is not adequate.

Can I blow in insulation and have it touch the roof deck, or the soffit baffels?

I also want to seal around light fixtures, pipe chases, and other holes for cable runs to make the home less drafty.
 
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Old 10-09-13, 11:47 AM
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If you have soffit vents then I would add the baffles and insulate.. Then probly sheet rock the roof side and the wall side...

I dont know about blowing in insulation. If you had to get in the wall it would be messy...

.I do have soffit vents
Looks like the cavity is stuffed with insulation so they are not doing anything. right?

You have gable vents only? Ridge vent?

I only have a ridge and two gables. Never cut in the soffits because I never did the baffles....
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 10-09-13 at 07:10 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-09-13, 11:53 AM
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Looks like the cavity is stuffed with insulation so they are not (doing) anything. right?

I don't know what you mean by the above statement.

I have gable vents, soffit vents, and 5 vents on the top of my roof. All I know is I need to seal some cracks, and add more insulation. How come you would sheet rock the roof side, and wall side? I already have rooms on the other side of the knee walls.

Thanks

Edit: Fixed spelling...
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 10-09-13 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 10-09-13, 04:35 PM
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You bring up a good point on roof sheathing temp conduction to insulation with minimal foam/plastic baffle touching both. I would add foam board strips at sides of rafters to maintain air flow at the soffits, covered with board foam; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...n-roof-venting Then add the new insulation to crawl floor and cover with housewrap to prevent wind-washing. Same with the walls; housewrap OR foamboard --- (that may require ignition barrier if storage or air exchange with upper attic); 4.2.1; http://commercial.owenscorning.com/a...579af27e5d.pdf

OR just use foil-faced polyiso (PIC), check with local AHJ. Silly to insulate gable wall with soffit venting...

Be sure no poly vapor barrier present behind fiberglass before adding foam board.

Gary
 
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Old 10-09-13, 05:03 PM
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Thanks Gary. The outside walls in the crawlspace....you said NOT to insulate?

What is wind washing? And do you recommend blown in insulation? My other big question is, can I leave the boards over the joists, or is it best to remove them before insulating?

You said I should foam board my knee walls?

Any other advise is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Adam
 
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Old 10-09-13, 06:06 PM
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If you let in outside air to the attic through soffits/ one baffle tall enough (12" over insulation finished height) Fig.4: Info-501: Installation of Cavity Insulation — Building Science Information ----no point to insulate the outside gable wall (other than height of new floor insulation to keep plates below/floor insulation from conduction of gable wall sheathing that high). WW is wind blowing in vents/holes near soffit into end of batt insulation or exposed edges of blown-in; pic bottom of pp.2; http://www.habitat.org/env/pdf/ceiling_and_attic.pdf

Notice top of pp. 3, extend foam board down to stop air from blowing through fiberglass (very air permeable, think "furnace filter") under knee-wall...

http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publicati...-PF-450-10.pdf

Cellulose is way better than fibrous. The boards can stay IF there is full cavity insulation below them- no air spaces, or remove them and add one; elevated for attic access later; http://oikos.com/esb/51/sideattics.html

Here, I'll help you find your air leaks, lol; http://www.finehomebuilding.com/PDF/Free/021105092.pdf

FB knee walls if no interior vapor barrier present/storage use or air to attic above (which you have...) so use some housewrap for air retarder. If slope ceiling is short, tape plastic baffles together with 2-3" overlap (with lap so any condensation runs down to soffit without dripping inside), work them in above the f.g. at slope ceiling for better air flow/less R-value robbing of heat loss. Tricky, as they tend to hang-up on shingle nails protruding through sheathing (hence the plastic- foam ones rip when looking at them wrong, lol.) Cover edges of f.g. at sloped ceiling over knee wall to prevent WW. The longer the continuous baffle run-the better. Lap correctly as said.

Use foamboard stacked flat over exterior house walls if possible- meet/exceed R-value required for walls there (low pitch/tight clearance); UMass Amherst: Building and Construction Technology Reroofing and Residing To Save Energy

Attic access; http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/26450.pdf

While you have that foam out; http://www.ornl.gov/sci/buildings/20...s/80_Bibee.pdf

Did you air seal the crawl/basement against stack effect to attic yet; http://www.wag-aic.org/1999/WAG_99_baker.pdf

Gary
 
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Old 10-10-13, 07:52 AM
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Gary,

so you say it's a good idea to stack soffit baffles? also, do I only need these installed under the soffit that has vents, otherwise can I seal and fill those spaces, or is a good idea to leave them all vented.

Can I staple foam board on the rafters, creating the barrier for the blown in insulation? if I do this, will I still need to install baffles for the venting?

so as long as the batt insulation is touching the boards, I can blow insulation over top?

when you say use foam board to stack on exterior walls, are you talking about where my toilet stack is, those outside walls without insulation?

You don't recommend blown in fiberglass, but cellulose? Where can I get cellulose, and a machine to rent? Any idea, or recommendations.

Did I miss anything?

Thank you
Adam
 
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Old 10-10-13, 11:48 AM
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No, stack foamboard for higher R-value with less space due to roof/exterior wall below clearance.Every rafter bay should be vented. Stapling fb on rafter bottoms limits insulation at soffits, you could after clearing height of floor insulation. Yes, toilet stack and all the rest of outside wall supporting rafters. Box store sell cellulose/fiberglass for free use of blower if buying enough. Read the links again as all my answers here are there also. Except where on cellulose...lol.

Gary
 
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Old 10-11-13, 07:02 PM
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When you say stack the FB, where am I supposed to stack it? I'm sorry, I'm a noob at this and trying to follow.

On the exterior walls, do I want to use FB there as well? I looked at some of the big box stores, and all I could find was fiberglass blown in.

Thanks again for your suggestions

Adam

Btw some of the links you posted are broken. :-(
 
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Old 10-11-13, 09:48 PM
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Eg. Rigid Insulation - Insulation - Building Materials at The Home Depot

Sorry on the links, I'll check them out, thanks.

Stack ridged insulation board (12" wide by 8' width of space between rafters---flat on the ceiling drywall/plaster at the soffit area, over the wall top plate leaving room for air flow above them- 1" for steep roofs, 2" for low-slope roofs. Fasten it together as a package and shove it under the rafters for a pinch fit. Regular fiberglass is very air permeable, remove it and use elsewhere in attic. Yes, fb on the (attic side) knee wall if meet requirements listed. Foil tape the joints.

Gary
 
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Old 10-12-13, 03:02 PM
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12 inch wide and 8 feet long? Foam board in between the joists? Do I want to so this on every joist? And the whole length or just for a few feet where the roof line is shallow, then continue with fiberglass insulation?

If I use foam board, do I need a vapor barrier?

I don't put any insulation on the underside of the roof decking? Is that right?

I will use 2 inch foam board to air seal under my knee walls and seal that off from my warm conditioned air being pulled from the attic to outside. Does the foam board need a vapor barrier in it when sealing underside of knee walls?

Does the tyvek really cut down on drafts coming in when using it in attic space?

Thank you.
 
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Old 10-13-13, 06:58 PM
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So today I discovered under the yellow insulation, there is a very thin layer of broke up fiberglass, but not vapor barrier.

Is this popular on older homes? Is it recommended I remove all fiberglass batts in joists, loose fill insulation then lay plastic down against drywall and put insulation back?

Also, I'm having a hard time accessing under some of my kneewalls, as there is an X brace in the joist cavity preventing me from sealing that off.

What is recommended for me to do to seal them off? Can I remove the bracing?

Sorry for the questions.

Thanks for the info!
 
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Old 10-14-13, 07:19 PM
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Anyone have any suggestions in light of what I've discovered?

Thanks
Adam
 
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Old 10-14-13, 07:23 PM
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Cut fb into 14-3/8 or so to fit in between the ceiling (horizontal framing) joists by 8-12" deep layering the next one set back from the one below to clear an air space 1-----1-1/2" deep. Abut the fg to the fb stacked pile with edges flush toward fg. Over the wall it is difficult to get required ceiling R-value due to roof slope there. No vapor barrier under foam, add one under fg. by using craft faced (asphalt coated) against the ceiling material. You can also use poly sheeting in your Zone 6 or 7; 2009 IECC Climate Zone Map - Wisconsin

Page 2, so long as you are vented per code minimum; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...04-roof-design
No insulation on the roof deck, rafters, sheathing, only the ceiling (attic floor) below.

If unable to use fb on edge under the knee wall, use some fg in a smaller garbage bag, tape the end closed after expelling most of the air for a snug fit to block attic (outside) air movement under there. If you have any air movement (and you should have a little) in the attic, housewrap will protect the insulation from losing R-value. Leave the "X" bracing alone in the joists cavities, it is structural. Follow the wires/plumbing pipes and air seal the holes with canned foam per links;http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...wWATQw&cad=rja

http://www.bpi.org/Web%20Download/In...k_V1_DRAFT.pdf

Gary
 
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Old 10-15-13, 07:52 PM
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Thanks Gary. The FB is to be used where the roof line is too shallow to fit FG under to achieve the correct R value? When you say cut into 14 3/4, is this the approx width of my joist bay? Or what is that dimension for?

Sounds good on sealing electrical and plumbing with good stuff. How should I seal around my chimney? Sheet metal and high temp caulk? I will use FB to insulate outside gable walls too.

I plan on rolling back the batting so I can seal all holes with foam.

Have I missed anything? Thank you again for your advice and links. They are invaluable.

~Adam
 
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Old 10-15-13, 09:43 PM
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"The FB is to be used where the roof line is too shallow to fit FG under to achieve the correct R value? ---------- YESWhen you say cut into 14 3/4, is this the approx width of my joist bay? ----- YES measure them individually. --- Or what is that dimension for?

Sounds good on sealing electrical and plumbing with good stuff. How should I seal around my chimney? ------------- Fig.4.1; http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...wWATQw&cad=rja Sheet metal and high temp caulk? I will use FB to insulate outside gable walls too."-------------------- no point to insulate gable walls above the height of the attic floor insulation. Waste of money when you are venting the attic; cold attic air on the inside, cold outside air on the exterior.

Gary
 
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Old 10-18-13, 08:53 PM
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Thanks again Gary. As far underhang soffits in the kitchen, should I fill those with insulation, or just seal them with FB?

Also if I place FB on the knee wall, I couldn't find anything showing how to seal the wall. Should I add the batting horizontally on the wall? Then go over that with Tyvek, or similar?

Thank you
 
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Old 10-19-13, 09:08 PM
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In the last link, post 18, on pp. 14,15, it shows #6 dropped soffit and pp. 19, 20; #4 either way is acceptable. Are you reading these links at all? lol, I have to ask...

Gary
 
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Old 10-20-13, 01:46 PM
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Nope. I see the diagram about putting insulation over top and sealing, but I couldn't find anything about filling the soffit first.

Thank you
 
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Old 10-21-13, 04:30 PM
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Try this link, pp.12, 13:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...UYE34ALu9TZmyw

Depends on where you want the thermal barrier, could cover them with ply/sheet metal and insulate for continuous insulation level. No worry on insulating side walls of dropped soffit then.

Gary
 
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Old 10-22-13, 07:15 PM
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Thanks Gary. I'll be covering the soffits with FB, seal and insulate.

Do you like or recommend blown in fiberglass, or cellulose?

I'm leaning towards cellulose, but still undecided.

Thanks again

Adam
 
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Old 10-22-13, 09:49 PM
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Old 10-23-13, 07:06 PM
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Thank you Gary! So I discovered in sealing up an old flue exhaust in my chimney a HUGE void..needless to say, I would like your professional expertise as to how to best seal the voids around the chimney AND insulate around it to prevent the "stack effect" as soon as I pulled the insulation away from the chimney, I felt a burst of warm air blast me in the face, so def. want to seal it up well!

Sheet metal, and hi temp caulking, or can I use foamboard, and great stuff "fireblock"

Thank you!
 
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Old 10-24-13, 04:26 PM
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You may not use the chimney but a future occupant might, no combustibles (foamboard) next to the block. Use rolled-up unfaced fiberglass batt or Roxul to block air movement with a metal/caulk air-seal above that at the top, pp. 37: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...sealing-guide/
Page 47 covers a step I may have not mentioned, but important...

Gary
 
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Old 10-24-13, 07:20 PM
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So do I seal it off with the sheet metal, the wrap the chimney with Roxul?
Or what? I cannot possibly fill the cavity with insulation.

I looked at the manual and could see how they sealed with the sheet metal.

The chimney is still in use. There was just an opening that I sealed up. There was a gas heater upstairs at some point.

Can I use fire block expanding foam to seal around the chimney?

Thanks
 
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Old 10-25-13, 01:17 PM
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Yes, seal it with metal/fire caulking/foam against air leakage from below as per links.That will slow your heating bill....lol.

Gary
 
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Old 10-25-13, 03:52 PM
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I'm sure it will Gary. I can assume the home will be warmer too? I purchased 30 sq ft. Of r-30 roxul. I will use thin sheetmetal, and fire block foam

Is this overkill?

Also, should the insulation in these crawlspaces be R-60?

Thanks again
 
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Old 10-26-13, 03:04 PM
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Not overkill. R-49 is required per code; 2009 IECC Climate Zone Map - Wisconsin

It is the first layer of insulation that pays best, but at least meet minimum code; http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...,d.cGE&cad=rja

The crawl/basement at the chimney perimeter requires air sealing to stop air movement between floors. If carpet, check for air movement near chimney walls;Home Energy Magazine :: Black Stains in Houses: Soot, Dust, or Ghosts?

Gary
 
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Old 10-26-13, 04:44 PM
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Gary, no soot to be found, but I don't burn candles, nor do I have a fireplace.

I will seal the top of chimney first, then I'll work on sealing at the basement. Good to know on r-49. I'll blow cellulose over my existing f.g after I air seal. I will probably blow up to R-60.

I know there is f.g at the basement level of chimney, and it's dirty! Which reveals to me the stack effect.

Thanks for your help.

Adam
 
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Old 10-28-13, 09:21 AM
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Just a head's up on too much cellulose- with 1/2" drywall or worse yet; plaster&lath (8#sq.ft), don't overload your ceiling joists; https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...h3VLQNBaXp54rA

Use a burning fireworks punk smoke to find air movement at wall bottoms/windows/light fixtures/switches, etc.

Gary
 
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Old 11-06-13, 07:08 PM
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Thanks Gary

Walls and ceilings are constructed of Rock Lath and are about 3/4 in. Thick. This should be ok to hold at least r-49 of cellulose.

I sealed up around the chimney but I couldn't seal from the basement because of a laundry Shute. Will this still be sufficient in stopping air flow and retaining heat in my home?

Thanks

Adam
 
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Old 11-07-13, 04:17 PM
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Good job on the fire-foam. I'd fire-caulk any wood touching the blocks as a 1/32" gap can allow a breach in the air/moisture protection. Rock lath may be heavy also, 1" plaster weighs= 8# per square foot. Remember to figure in the roof loads for the ceiling joists if the knee-walls touch both and no bearing wall below. Single Family Residential Construction Guide - Weights of Building Materials

Gary
 
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Old 11-07-13, 07:02 PM
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Thanks Gary. It was tricky getting the sheet metal cut and fabricated around the chimney and getting it sealed up.

I will probably pull up the r-13 insulation and leave the rock wool that's under it alone, then blow cellulose on top of that.

I was a little disappointed to see my roof looking like this still, but I need to insulate more, and work on my knee wall doors, but is a little meltage of frost on my roof near the chimney. Is this kind of normal?

Thanks
Adam
 
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Old 11-10-13, 12:45 PM
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Yes, from an active chimney, though it should be 2' higher than any roof within 10' horizontally.

Gary
 
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Old 11-10-13, 01:34 PM
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So it's normal then it have some melting on the roof deck? Thank you Gary.

I dont know if it's the placebo affect, but I do feel like the house is more comfortable all around.

Here are some pictures from when it was even colder outside.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 01:39 PM
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Add some rigid foam board/trim to cover the exposed edges under the bay windows with the wood floor to decouple them from the ground temps; BSI-009: New Light In Crawlspaces — Building Science Information Bud's link, thanks Bud.

Gary
 
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Old 11-16-13, 01:38 PM
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Add the rigid foam board where? On the underside of the bay window?

Also,should I seal up my east/west gable vents? I've read that they don't really serve a purpose when you have soffit vents and roof vents. Can you tell me if this is a good idea?

Thanks
 
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Old 11-24-13, 06:37 AM
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insulation a Cape style roof

so, I am attempting to fix up a room in one half of my second floor cape. When we bought the house half the upstairs was finished, the other side was to the rafters. I have built knee walls installed 1/2 foam board with the aluminum on one side, and 2x4 fiberglass w/vapor barrier insulation on the walls. For the flat roof I installed attic insulation blanket r-30, with 2x6 vapor barrier in the rafters. So, the problem is the angled walls. I installed the plastic baffles so they extend beyond the roof insulation and knee wall insulation. I put in 2x6 vapor barrier fiberglass insulation. (the rafters where not 16 or 24 on center they ranged from 15-26 inches wide, so had to make insulation to fit by duct taping the seams).
I was attempting to put up drywall and found that the insulation, roof and baffles where dripping with condensation. I took insulation down and am running a dehumidifier in room to help dry out everything. what did I do wrong?
 
 

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