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Community and Q&A

Do you carry on a discussion about remodeling with energy savings, retrofitting existing residential buildings?

user-1137827 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Do you carry on a discussion about remodeling with energy savings, retrofitting existing residential buildings? The new stuff is great but we seem to have to make significant compromises for existing properties.

In my residential construction business, homes can have 20-25% of each window in trouble. Repair and add storms or replace, kits or units?

Also, when retrofitting basements I understand the insulation details for walls but how should the existing concrete floor be handled in a 1950-60’s home? The basement will remain a basement, usable space other than storage anticipated.
Thank you,

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  1. jklingel | | #1

    Glenn: The "insulating an existing slab" issue has been discussed here at least a few times. Martin has a link in this thread here: Search here and and I think you'll find discussions of most anything.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Here's the link to the information on insulating an existing basement slab: Finishing a basement floor.

    The question of whether to repair or replace a window is no different from any other remodeling question. The answer depends on the condition of the existing materials and the desires of the homeowners.

    Many homeowners want to keep their old claw-foot bathtub. Others can't wait to send the old beast to the landfill. It's the same with windows. Some homeowners would be horrified to lose their old wood windows. Others are glad to see them go and are happy with new replacement windows.

    If the windows function well, it doesn't make any sense to replace them from an energy perspective. The energy savings are much too low to justify the cost of window replacement.

  3. user-1137827 | | #3

    Thanks Martin and John,
    I have a client whose 1970's basement tiled floor appears to be one or two inches above ground water ( 50 ft from lake front). The perimeter drains are draining slowly into a sump pump well then pumped out to daylight. The house is backed into a sloped lot. I've dug up some concrete to investigate the existing perimeter drains. The holes are clogged with a clay material. There isn't much stone around the drainage pipes. The plastered walls and ceiling are mildewed from periodicly having a foot of water in the basement. The house is 22 x 36.

    I'm thinking the whole basement needs to be gutted including the concrete floor. Dig out the clay and install a stone base from the bottom of the footing elevation to the slab and add new perimeter drains. Does this sound correct? What about insulating under the new slab? I'm concerned about providing enough stone base area for collecting and diverting the water. The pumps run almost continuously during high ground water and certainly after Sandy. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    The work you suggest is disruptive and expensive. It might make more sense to do the work from the exterior.

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