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MJBaldwin

Addition

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Hello there, I live in an older house (1928) that back in the early 80's they added a bathroom. They added the bathroom on grade so there is no basement in that area. They ran the pipes under the bathroom floor from my basement into this addition.. Issue is with this cold weather the floor is just colder than all get up (doesn't have it has porcelain tiles) i am wondering if i could blow insulation in there somehow or what you think the best solution for this might be? Obviously hasn't been an issue but would like to make it a little more comfortable..

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MJ-  at our cabin we have a bathroom with a tile floor and it sits above a storage area in the basement that is really cold.  We installed a small electric baseboard heater that is opposite the toilet.  Usually I don't turn it on but when I do it warms the floor perfect.

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Have you had any issues with pipes freezing if they are being run through the space under the bathroom?

A buddy of mine bought a house that had a small addition added on to the kitchen.  It was also built above grade and the small addition is where they ended up moving the sink.  The water lines were run below the floor in the area above grade and they had one of the lines freeze one winter due to it being exposed to the cold without insulation. 

My buddy ended up having to cut a hole in the kitchen floor so he could crawl into the space below the addition.  He insulated the pipes and then also put fiberglass insulation between the joists under the floor to help keep the floor warmer. 

Of course this required him to tear up part of the floor but they did it during any additional remodel so wasn't a huge issue for him.  If you had to tear up part of the floor to get access to the space you could take it one step further and tear up the entire floor and add some sort of in floor heating while you are at it.  

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How much ugliness are you willing to endure to fix the problem?  And how much expense?  Space heater is the cheapest.  Adding a layer of grout with heating cables over the existing floor?  A layer of foam and some plywood and a new layer of floor?

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Lee- I haven't had any pipes freeze in that area (knock-on-wood) I live near Fargo ND where we are always experience -20 to -40 weather.

nofish- This was my thought too access isn't the best until i would tear up the tile i am not a huge fan of it and pretty small area (under 40 sq/ft).. Previous people did add a return grille next to the shower to allow warm are down into this "crawl space (even though cant crawl in there)" also i do have an electric baseboard heater in this space.. When gets really cold out i will leave one of the cabinet doors open to make sure air gets into the base cabinet where pipes are located...

del- not a ton of money but thinking down the road too..

From what i have thought about is if i do re-do the floor I will pull up the sub-floor and replace the copper pipes that are down in this "crawl space" and replace with insulated pex as if it does freeze wouldn't break. on top of that i was thinking of adding either fiberglass insulation or blown in insulation into that space.. then for heat instead of the baseboard as doesn't produce too much heat either go with some electric forced air heater or electric in-floor heat...

Thoughts?? problem is not looking forward to tearing up the floor just yet maybe this summer is when i was thinking of doing it

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Since warm air rises I'm guessing that return grill they put in isn't going to help warm the crawl space very much.  

Sounds like you have a decent plan in place, its just a matter of doing the work.  Dealing with it for this winter and doing the work in the spring or summer is probably what I'd do.  Could be kinda chilly working on the pipes under the addition in the winter. As for the heating I don't think I've ever heard anyone regret going with the in floor heating.  Feels pretty good on the feet on a cold winter morning.

 

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nofish- this the blown in insulation would be och on the ground or would something like that get moldy? I don't know what the sub-floor looks like maybe they thought about the future and have some sort of access cut out within it if not i will be and don't want to cut into every joist space if needed.. if i could just blow in from my basement i could hit the whole floor... thoughts?

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I'm not an expert but I wouldn't put blown insulation on the ground.  The ground releases moisture into that crawl space and its going to end up in that insulation. not a good thing.  Also even with a vapor barrier you'd need to almost fill the space entirely with blown insulation in order to insulate against cold coming in through the exterior walls. If you don't you won't get the full benefit.  

If you do the fiberglass insulation in between the joists that vapor barrier is also important, I might not have mentioned that before.  

The other option would be the rigid closed cell insulation as it insulates and acts as a vapor barrier.  

How much room is there below the bottom of the joists and the ground?  WIthout being able to get down there at all you're options become limited. 

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nofish- not very much i would day roughly 6" at most! i think the rigid might be the best option just to shear fact of moisture! thanks for all the information

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So it was framed with a subfloor and joists, etc and they didn't put down plastic or anything as a vapor barrier? And no insulation?  Even I am not that out to lunch.  Hope they used treated wood....

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Del- i am not sure if they  built a foundation for the outside its basically at the same elevation as my main floor although in my basement i can see where they hammer drilled a whole in order to get the piping ran. I am not sure if they did a vapor barrier under the floor or what. I will try and take a few pictures from my basement tonight...

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They did do footings or equivalent, right?   Otherwise it will move relative to the house. 

I laid plastic under my deck even, for heaven's sake.  

Edited by delcecchi

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I tried to look from my basement but couldn't see in very well... Think I am going to have to do the addition of some sort of insulation once I wanna tackle the floor. Again not sure about barrier I would assume they did again this have been in place for well over 25+ years

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 I would make it  "conditioned space".   A 25 year old addition is a blip in time.    You'll save the addition, control humidity,  have a warm floor, save on heating, and sealed off the space to rodents.

 

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22 hours ago, Surface Tension said:

 I would make it  "conditioned space".   A 25 year old addition is a blip in time.    You'll save the addition, control humidity,  have a warm floor, save on heating, and sealed off the space to rodents.

 

I think this is your best bet. If you have forced air heating, I would connect a 4" round duct to your supply air trunk and poke it into the space; then run another 4" round duct out of the space and connect to the return air trunk. Keep the two 4" in the crawl space as far apart as possible; In fact, if you can push one of them all the way to the far end, even better.

If you don't have forced air, you can accomplish almost the same thing by putting an in-line fan in a piece of duct blowing basement air into the space and leaving an equivalent size hole on the opposite side to relieve the air.

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how big is the crawl space.  Is the crawl space vented to out side and is it a dirt floor. Letting cold air in is not really a good thing. I would go with a sealed crawl space. 

If there is a dirt floor I would get some plastic and cover the dirt and seal it at all seams, around piers and to the foundation wall. Then I would get a spray foam contractor to spray the wall and rim joist.  Ideally you would also put down some rigid insulation before the plastic but it may not be practical. 

 

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/building-unvented-crawl-space

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Thanks for all the responses guys! There is not much room between ground and the floor. I would say its a 2x12 space.. I tried to look where they hammer-drilled for the domestic water pipes and couldn't tell exactly what is going on. I think my best best is going to be wait until spring/summer and rip it apart and see what i have going on. I have a feeling its an insulation issue. So i plan on ripping up the tiles/sub-floor adding insulation and more than likely changing the copper domestic water piping to pex as its more forgiving if something were to freeze. At that point i might add another two sets of lines and get an additional radiator and place in the corner of the room as then i would be using my boiler instead of electric finned tube...

My house has old school radiators.

Tom7227- This is what I plan on doing for the rest of the winter!

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On 1/26/2016 at 10:02 AM, MJBaldwin said:

Thanks for all the responses guys! There is not much room between ground and the floor. I would say its a 2x12 space.. I tried to look where they hammer-drilled for the domestic water pipes and couldn't tell exactly what is going on. I think my best best is going to be wait until spring/summer and rip it apart and see what i have going on. I have a feeling its an insulation issue. So i plan on ripping up the tiles/sub-floor adding insulation and more than likely changing the copper domestic water piping to pex as its more forgiving if something were to freeze. At that point i might add another two sets of lines and get an additional radiator and place in the corner of the room as then i would be using my boiler instead of electric finned tube...

My house has old school radiators.

Tom7227- This is what I plan on doing for the rest of the winter!

If you run a boiler and are planning on ripping up the floor, I would run a line under the floor attached to cement board.  Circulating the water under cement will keep a warm floor.  Otherwise electric in floor is pretty cheap and easy to throw in, just only really worth it to spot heat imo as electric is never cheap to heat with.  Definitely tarp the ground though before insulating if its not already or you could be looking for problems both to structure and health.  Even with mold resistant insulation, it can soak through and get to the wood and be bad news.

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On 19/1/2016 at 4:59 AM, Tom7227 said:

How about putting down a throw rug in the winter?  Pretty easy and darn cheaper than anything I've read about so far.

I like the idea and would try to keep the floor warm.

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