Insulating cold pantry and closets


Old 11-06-01, 01:17 PM
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We own a house in SE Michigan. Built in 1923, a Craftsman bungalow. Very little wall insulation. There is a pantry off the kitchen and two closets all having some combination of outside walls in them. In the winter, the walls next to the outside air are so cold that the walls sweat profusely (practically raining!) and even frost up in extremely cold weather. I've caulked cracks and put stripping on the bottom of the doors to slow down the warm air entering, causing the sweating, etc.
When outside, it appears that if you are looking at the siding, you see the vinyl siding on top, blue foam core insulation, then the original wood siding. To my novice eye, it appears that that is it for insulation. Here's my question:
Can I insulate from the inside? Meaning, can I put up foam board inside the pantry and closets and somehow cover it? Drywall? How would I attach it?
Do I do some drilling to see if there is insulation in the walls (though they sound pretty solid)...any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-06-01, 07:41 PM
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I also live in the S.E. Michigan area... Most of the bungalows built here are poorley insulated if insulated at all, considering when yours was built. However it is not uncommon to find vermiculite (a small white in color pebble type product) in the walls...As for sounding pretty solid, most homes in this area of that age have wet plaster walls.

If your going to drill any holes in the wall I would do it up high in case you do have vermiculite in your walls. If you drill low this stuff will poor out like an hour glass..

Most insulation company's will give free estimates in this area.. You might call a few and have them suggest what they would do and then consider whether or not you wish to do it yourself.. Since the areas that you are most concerned with are hidden from the open areas of the house a cellulose insulation company could drill holes from the inside in those areas and blow insulation into the walls, If you have that done then I would change the doors to the closet and pantry with doors that allow warm air to enter those areas.

Can't think of the name of the doors but they would have slanted wood dividers with spaces in between..

Good luck

Old 11-08-01, 05:11 PM
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Greetings, Drewvet

The foam is acting as a vapor barrier on the outside of the wall, exactly where you don't want it. If the siding contractor had installed an aluminum foil sheet instead it would have been an insulator and you probably would not have this problem. Vermiculite is a very poor insulator and it can cause even more moisture problems. So can cellulose.
Install louvered doors to help circulate warmer air into the closet area. If it isn't too much trouble, remove the siding and foam and install the aluminum foil. Re-install siding. If you decide to reside the house later be sure to wrap the house with a perforated aluminum foil wrap.

Also check this company manufacturers a paint that reflects heat enegy. It is 30 - 40% efficient and is more efficient than must insulations. You can paint all the interior side of your exterior walls with it. It comes only in flat, pastel colors. It will probably warm up the walls enough to stop the condensation.

Thanks for considering my opinion.

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