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Posted by: from Ottawa
3/15/2012 at 11:24:06 AM

I have an old garage under the first floor of my house that has now been closed in and is used for general storage. The driveway used to be a ramp down into this garage and has since been filled in and leveled off. This room is extremely cold in the winter and cool in the summer. The space in question is an oversized one-car garage. As a result of this garage not being insulated properly, my spare bedroom above it and my master bedroom walk-in closet is very cold (especially the floors). My question is:

What is my best option for insulating the lower room walls (in the old garage - which are not framed - and currently bare copncrete) and how to best insulate the ceiling in that room so may upstairs bedroom floor isn't so cold? Do all 4 walls need to be insulated? The floor as well?

Also, what would be the typical costs associated with this size and type of job?



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Date/Time3/15/2012 at 4:35:37 PM

Hi Curtis, It actually sounds like you have created a "cold room" just like you might find underneath someones front porch. The main difference is the size and the fact that you have living space above it. I don't know what your intentions are with the old garage space - is it going to be living space?, or always a cold storage space? The solutions are different for both. The goal is to create an air / moisture / insulation envelope around the spaces you want to keep warm.

If your main concern is the living space above and around the old garage, you should definitely insulate any wall or ceiling that adjoins the living space. The old garage would then have some venting installed as well as an exterior grade (insulated) door on the entrance to the house. You should try for R20 on the common house / garage walls and at least R20 on the ceiling - up to R50 if you can This can be done with framing and batts but the best method may be closed cell spray foam - 3 1/2" + on the walls and ceiling with additional batt insulation (recommend Roxul for this application) up to 7 1/2' on the ceiling. Any air ducts would go on the warm of the insulation, or at least be encapsulated. Air Sealing them and adding an insulated sock before insulating the space is a great way to go. This will provide an air and moisture tight seal and really help in the adjoining spaces. The old garage would remain a cold space and the venting would help deal with any moisture issues.

If it is going to be living space, you would treat it like a basement - frame and insulate exterior walls to R20, add heating / return air ducts, drywall, put an interior door on it, and use it as you want. You would then be heating the space below your bedroom / closet and dealing with it that way.

These are just the basics - your actual situation may require something completely different. I am sure you will get some other opinions - there are a lot of good contractors on this site.

Good Luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Cindy from CGI Insulation in Brampton
Date/Time3/15/2012 at 9:52:19 PM

Hello Curtis!

i've not read Jim's post so i appologize if he has mention this already... but if you dont have a problem with the cold room what you could do is simply spray foam the ceiling of that room wich is your bedroom floor and since your bedroom is heated you wouldnt feel the cold from that old garage!

it wouldnt cost you any xtra work as to build walls and batt insulate everything if that room is only storage then the ceiling is enough.. you could frame the ceiling and batt insulate it but you need to put the vapor barrier over the framing and then insulate between the joices... also if not properly done you will still be cold in your bedroom and that becomes a waste of money!

with the foam you cant go wrong its what we do in all our garages here with the builders i work with in the GTA.

I personaly would do the foam its not a huge area so its affordable and the ceiling itself will keep your bedroom alot warmer! In time if you decide to finish that room and do drywall you simply frame the ceiling and walls without having to disturb the foam and add the r20 (recommended) in the walls and vapor barrier and drywall and your done! no need for vapor barier with the foam.

Also you have two options with foam! you can go 2 pounds or 1/2 pound... 1/2 pound is alot better then batt insulation, it also expans alot and tends to have to be trim at some point...with the half pound its easyer is you frame the ceiling before hand... 2 pound expans less its alot harder and alot more efficient and you wont have to trim it, its also a much biger cost then 1/2 pound.. but its well worth it if your heating bills are high because of that room... in the long run your a winner cuz the bill will be lower and also you dont really need to frame the ceiling to apply the 2 pound! its an amazing product!!

As im writing all this i dont remember if you said the ceiling is concrete .... if it aint concrete there is no need to frame since it already is....

CGI insulation

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