Insulating a 1890s floor from unfinished basement
I am looking to insulate the floor in an 1890s victorian house in Maryland (zone 4) that has an unfinished basement. The floor of the first floor can be quite chilly and its a definite heat loss.
The basement is used for storage and mechanical so we cannot put down insulation on the ground. The other big obstacle is that there is a stream that runs under the house year round (20-40 gallons of water pumped via sump every day). The basement is always cooler than the house and almost always wetter for obvious reasons. I have two major concerns with doing this insulation. The first is that if I insulate I now probably need to control where the moisture goes. I don’t want to insulate and then destroy the insulation with moisture. The second problem is that if I put in a vapor barrier I am concerned that the wood floors in the house will shrink and split; this does happen in the winter when the forced air heating is running.
My though is to use fiberglass batts for fitting in between the floor beams (yes actual hewn beams, its an old place). Put the batts in with the paper or foil face up to the warm side. I am not sure I need any other barrier since I do want the moisture to flow up in to the floor boards. Correct me if I am wrong about this.
If I do need a vapor barrier does this mean I need to add a humidifier? I could test the water from the sump and see if its safe to use that (being green and all that jazz).
I am trying to minimize the amount of change I do because I am concerned about creating unforeseen problems. Let me know what you think or if you need more detail.
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part