How can I insulate a finished 1 1/2 story space


I have a 1 1/2 story portion on my house that has a finished office space and closet on one side. The room has no insulation as I've done a little work and had to take some drywall off the outer wall and the unfinished crawl space had none either. Because of this, it's hot in the summer and freezing in the winter.

I've created a simple diagram so you can see the profile of the space:

My question is if it is possible to insulate the room without having to tear down all the drywall? And if so, what would be the ideal way to do so?


My plan so far is to poke a hole in the ceiling of the finished space so I can hopefully crawl up there and use blown insulation to shoot it down between each rafter to fill up the ceilings and then fill up the walls by poking holes in between the studs. In the end, the insulation would look like this:

Do I need to be concerned about moisture or will I create ice dams on the roof? I don't have any...

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Depends on construction details. if it's merely "the contractor was too cheap to provide attic access" (a very typical issue of cheesy contractors), you cut a hole and put in access, then apply insulation as you like. If it's a cathedral ceiling sort of arrangement (roof deck on one side of rafters, ceiling on the other) then some sort of spray/blown insulation (might be foam, might be cellulose, might be fiberglass but I would not go there based on published research results) is the most likely option, though not the only option. If you are considering "taking off the roof" then it's usually more cost-effective (labor cost, mostly) to leave it in place & build on top of the current roof with a layer of insulation, for...

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I have a recently constructed 2 story garage. The second floor has several windows, 4 ft. knee walls, and a sloping ceiling. I origninally intended to finish the entire second floor to make it into a more useable space, has become a catch-all storage space for stuff we don't want to throw away. Mostly things left here when my kids (and some of their friends) graduated from college and move out of their apartments.

I have wanted to use one end of the second story for a room where I could go and do what I want, nap, smoke cigars, play guitars, or just sit quietly and think.

For a different perspective of this project...

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Point of architectural information - Are y'all using the term "ranch" to generically describe a one-story home or is any home that is only one story just a derivation of the Ranch Style of architecture first developed in the 1930's? What about a log cabin or NOLA style shotgun as examples of other types of one story houses that I think predate the Ranch Style?

Our house will be one-story with a full walkout basement, but if we can't build the basement because we hit granite, for example, I don't think I would call it a "ranch" given the Dutch gable main roof, all of the cross gables, porches, 10' ceilings, 10:12 pitch roof, etc. Please, don't tell me that I am just building a ranch with a lower level. Yikes!!!!

To stay on-topic - I will say that the lower level square footage comes very cheaply. We just finalized the costing for the 1st floor plus ~500sf of the lower level for a powder room & my crafts room. We got separate pricing to take the rest of the lower level...

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My google searches seem to one fucking knows.

Plastic vapor barrier on warm side or cold side? Some say warm, some say cold, and many said don't use a vapor barrier at all.

Fiberglass batts? Seems the answer is no, although people did use them forever and apparently we've now discovered they can cause mold issues.

Frame flush to wall? No, put rigid board down first. Yes, its fine. No, leave an air gap for drying?

There didn't seem to be any consensus on this, after reading tons of shit. A good case was made for first installing 1.5" of XPS/rigid foam board directly to the basement wall, then framing, insulating the framed wall with fiberglass and using no vapor barriers other than the XPS. Some places suggested an additional 1" air gap, many places suggested a pressure treated 2x4 for the bottom (other places said this is illegal).

I'd just do that, but...2x4s are already framed up flush against my basement walls and nailed in with concrete...

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Download .mp3

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic.

But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

One solution is to add layers of rigid foam under the rafters, but this cuts in to living space. A better solution is to add layers of foam to the outside of the roof. This not only boosts the roof's R-value, but it breaks the thermal bridge of the rafters and increases the air-tightness of the whole roof assembly.

The takeaways:
1. The higher the R-value, the better, and where you put the insulation matters.

2. Exterior insulation solves a lot of thermal nosebleeds, but the amount of foam you put on the outside needs to be proportional with the amount of insulation on the inside, within the rafter...

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By Todd Fratzel on Basements, Insulation

Insulating Basement Walls

Insulating basement walls properly is extremely important if you want to enjoy your finished basement investment. Every year thousands of basements are finished with poor insulation details that lead to mold, mildew and moisture problems that render the newly finished space un-usable.

One of the most popular topics on this site has been how to insulate a basement. Insulating basements walls isn’t that difficult once you understand a few basic concepts.

Moisture Is Present In EVERY Basement

First of all you need to come to grips with the fact that every single basement has excessive moisture. Moisture is present in ALL concrete and block regardless of it’s age. The micro-structure of concrete looks much like a sponge and it holds on to moisture throughout it’s life. The key is to always assume concrete (or block) is fully saturated with water. Even if your basement appears super...

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How to Insulate an Old Brick House TIPS

DEAR TIM: My story-and-a-half brick home was built in the 1960's. It has no insulation in the walls as far as I can tell. Each contractor I have talked with wants to drill holes in my interior plaster walls and add insulation from the inside.

I prefer to have it done from the outside by drilling holes in the mortar joints between the brick. I don't want all of the dust and repainting mess inside my home. How would you approach this job? What are my alternatives? Bill B., Versailles, KY

DEAR BILL: The house you describe sounds exactly like that of my in-laws. My wife grew up in a brick home built in the 1950's just before your home was constructed.

The exterior of the home is used brick and the second-story dormers that project through the roof out the back of the house are wood frame. The exterior walls of the first story are solid masonry, not brick veneer which is the way most brick homes are now...

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Insulating your floors essentially means insulating your basement or crawl space. The area between the first and second floors does not need to be insulated because they can share heat evenly. Basements, as we all know, can be cold and dank, but here are some tips for keeping that frigid air out of the rest of your house.

Exposed joists in an unheated crawl space or basement can be filled with a layer of insulation installed under the floor of your home. The best insulation to use is batts because they are the easiest to handle. Estimate your material needs the same way you would if you were insulating the attic.

Installing batts under a floor can be difficult, but you have several options to make installation easier. Strips of wood lath can be nailed across the joists about every 16 inches; chicken wire strips can be stapled across the joists (leave room between strips to work in the batts); heavy-gauge wires can be cut slightly longer than 16 inches and wedged...

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$ 501

She ... … for 12 hours before she finished everything.

1) had been working2) has been working

3) is working 4) has worked

$ 502

When I was a child I ... … running every day.

1) have gone 2) used to go

3) was going 4) had gone

$ 503

What ... … at 10 o’clock last night.

1) have you done 2) were you doing

3) have you been doing 4) had you done

$ 504

He hasn’t left the office ....

1) yet2) before

3) just 4) already

$ 505

They will have finished ... 8 o’clock.

1) until 2) by the time

3) since 4) by

$ 506

I’m afraid I ... … to come to the party.

1) don’t go 2) won’t

3) won’t able4) can’t

$ 507

“You look slimmer”. “Yes, I ... … 12 kilos.”

1) had lost 2) lost

3) have been loosing 4) have...

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Gregg is renovating his 50-year-old house in Wisconsin and trying to devise the best way of insulating exterior walls from the outside. The house was built conventionally, with 2x4 walls, fiberglass batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. , fiberboard sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. , and hardboard siding.

He plans to tear off both siding and sheathing and remove the batt insulation, then apply 3 in. of spray polyurethane foam insulation into the stud bays. The existing kraft paper vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall will stay in place.

Several local...

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As I've covered extensively in my waterproofing section, basements are cool, damp places. You can't just throw any ole insulation up. You need to be aware of your options, and have a game plan going into your finishing project.

Is Rigid Foam Insulation the Right Insulation for your Basement?

Your choice really comes down to blanket insulation (aka fiberglass) or XPS. Most homes use fiberglass, but rigid foam insulation, although more costly offers a few extra features. Let's take a look.

Blanket Insulation: This is very common mainly because it is very cost effective. Usually made of fiberglass and it typically has some type of facing attached: paper, foil, or vinyl. This was the option of choice in Jason's basement and I wouldn't discourage anyone from going this route.

[NOTE from Jason: The builder for my house had pre-installed my fiberglass insulation so the choice was pretty easy for me. Living in the moderately warm climate of Virginia and not...

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A drop ceiling costs about the same if not more than a drywall ceiling. I'll tell you exactly why in just a minute.

When I was figuring out how to finish a basement I thought to myself "Self… should we save money and drywall the basement ceiling on our own?" Then I imagined the difficulty of recruiting my lazy friends to help me drywall the ceiling.

Then I thought "drop ceiling!" that's the answer. Cheaper, easy to do by yourself. The only screams BASEMENT!".

I did some research and pondered it for about 3 weeks.

That's the kind of guy I am. I get an idea, then I stew on it for a spell. I'm real old fashion that way. My wife thinks I should have been born in the 1820s.

After all that pondering I decided not to go with a drop ceiling also known as a suspended ceiling. Here are the reasons why Ithinkknow that you shouldn't either.

Cost of a Drop Ceiling

If you're thinking of going with a drop ceiling to save money… think...

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