Writing from Washington, D.C., Mara recounts an experience many of us have had: the house fix she spent a lot of time and money on didn’t fix the problem she started with.
In this case, Mara upgraded the insulation in her walk-up (conditioned) attic in hopes of evening out temperature imbalances around the house. The flash-and-batt procedure in the attic included 2 in. of closed-cell polyurethane foam on the bottom of the roof deck and gable-end walls, and then “soooo many hours” of labor to install R-23 mineral wool batts in the non-standard rafter bays.
“We were hoping after thousands of dollars of investment this would solve the problem of it being distinctly colder upstairs than downstairs,” Mara writes in this recent Q&A post. Did it work? “Unfortuntely, no.”
The 1910 duplex has no insulation in the walls. Most of the windows in the house have upgraded storm windows.
Mara keeps the house at 68°F most of the time. The thermostat for the single-zone heating system is located in the dining room, with radiators of various sizes located throughout the house.
In a nutshell, the problem is that room-to-room temperatures are uneven. The first floor stays the warmest, with the second floor a little cooler, and the attic several degrees below that. The pattern is consistent—no matter what the temperature is outdoors.
Mara writes that adding insulation in the basement isn’t feasible. Putting insulation on top of the roof deck is a possibility if she can find the skilled labor to do the work. The stucco exterior makes insulating the walls “not a great idea.”
Mara shares “an eye-glazing amount of data” about the house (read her original post for all of the details). “The reason I’m doing so is I want to learn lessons for…