cold floor

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A One-Room Insulation Challenge

This poorly insulated addition has a pier foundation and is open to the wind from below

Posted on Jan 22 2018 by Scott Gibson

The one-room addition on Emerson W's home is not what anyone would realistically consider over-insulated: R-11 batts in the walls and R-19 at most in the ceiling. But the immediate issue is the floor. There's no insulation at all there, and because the addition sits on concrete piers, there's nothing to stop the wind from blowing freely below.

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Emerson W
  2. Images #2, #3, and #4: Peter Yost

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Cold Floors and Warm Ceilings

How to fix temperature stratification problems

Posted on Nov 25 2016 by Martin Holladay

During the winter, the air near your floor is cold, while the air near your ceiling is hot. Similarly, during the summer, the air conditioner keeps your first floor comfortable, while the rooms on the second floor are unbearably hot. What’s going on?

The usual answer is, “Heat rises.” But that explanation isn’t quite accurate. (It’s true that hot air rises by convection. But heat travels in all directions, including sideways and downward, by conductionMovement of heat through a material as kinetic energy is transferred from molecule to molecule; the handle of an iron skillet on the stove gets hot due to heat conduction. R-value is a measure of resistance to conductive heat flow. and radiation.)

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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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The Best Way to Insulate a Floor

A homeowner in Arkansas weighs the benefits of mineral wool batts and sprayed polyurethane foam — but a third option may be the winner

Posted on Jun 2 2014 by Scott Gibson

Jim Wright's house in western Arkansas has a pier foundation that elevates floor framing about 40 inches off the ground. Unlike a house with a basement, crawl space, or slab foundation, there is no enclosure at the bottom of the house, so the floor is more or less like another exterior wall.

How, Wright wonders, should this be insulated?

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Image Credits:

  1. Jim Wright

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Insulating an Exposed Floor

Why are there signs of condensation in the insulated joist bays of this house on piers?

Posted on Apr 8 2013 by Scott Gibson

A reader who calls himself “Mr. Mike” is working on an 11-ft. by 14-ft. addition to his house in central New York that sits some 5 feet off the ground. The space beneath the addition is a great place to park a lawnmower, but it's also open to the cold.

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Image Credits:

  1. Mr. Mike

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