Old 10-30-01, 10:28 AM
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The house I live in is a very old house (1920). There is a crawl space underneath the part of the house and a dug out basement underneath the other part. There is insulation up but it looks as if it is beginning to fall down. I've only been in this house for about a year. There is a lot of moisture in the crawl space and the attached dug out basement. The insulation that is currently in place was put in with the facing against the floor. I was wondering if I can put insulation on top of the current insulation or if I should remove the insulation that is currently beginning to fall down (this may be because of the moisture). If I can put insulation on top of the current insulation should I put the facing towards the floor or away from the floor? It seems as though the facing would help keep the insulation in place if it were on the outside. Should I put plastic down on the dirt floor of the crawl space.
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Old 10-30-01, 03:36 PM
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Ground and air moisture can get trapped in basements and crawlspaces if not properly ventilated.
The vapor barrier on insulation should always go toward the heated space, so it sounds like yours is properly installed.
If the existing insulation has become saturated with moisture, it needs to be replaced. If it is just slightly damp, you may be able to dry it out with a fan and better ventilation.
There are wire pieces (called "tiger claws") to hold up floor insulation up that go between the floor joists. Use those to hold it up. Don't overly compress insulation.
If you add insulation over the existing layer that already has a vapor barrier against the floor, use unbacked insulation that does not have a vapor barrier.
You can add plastic on the dirt to help reduce ground moisture, but the best solution is good ventilation (even with a small exhaust fan) during high humidity seasons.
Good Luck!
Old 11-03-01, 02:51 PM
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Greetings, Carrie

You have a multitude of problems.
The first is moisture and the second the wrong type of insuation.

The fiber type of insulation is going to be affected by the moisture and has probably already lost most of its insulation value. So why replace it with the same material and have the same problem all over again. This moisture can cause the floor to rot out and also support mold/mildew which is not good for the health.

The following is a DIY project that will solve your problem without any of the other problems. It will also warm up the floors in the crawl space. However you must have good drainage, and this may require the installation of a sump pump.

Remove the existing insulation.

Staple a 4 mil vapor barrier to the side of the top plate and let it hang down and across the dirt. Lay two 4 mil plastic sheets on the ground, crossed and over lap the edges about 6". Install a 48" wide radiant barrier (plastic film type)material over the plastic on the side wall. Let it hang down. If you have any outside vents, seal them off. You will never have to worry about frozen pipes with this method.

Replace any fiber type insulation between the floor joists, at the rim board, with a radiant barrier panel.

When removing the fiber type insulation use an approved mask. Fiber glass is a carcenogenic material and is also coated with carcenogenic chemicals.

If the the basement side is not being used for any thing except storage you can drape the radiant barrier material on the walls by attaching to the top plate as mentioned before. This also will help lower your heating costs.

I developed this method about 10 years ago and have not found anything to beat it.

If you have any questions about method or where to obtain the radaint barrier material, let me know.

For radiant barrier info, enter in your search engine, "radiant barriers" or "reflective insulations".

You can also install a radiant barrier over the attic insulation and reduce your a/c costs.

Thank you for considering my opinion.

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