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Community and Q&A

Moisture control / insulation for new cinder block shop with loft / den.

brew0688 | Posted in General Questions on

Hello Folks

I’ve been reading through the forums for an answer to this question, but haven’t been successful in finding one. I’m building for the first time, so this is a learning curve for me.

I live in west Florida, and have a project in the works. I’m going to be building a 55ft x 38ft workshop, that will be 2/3 work space, and the remaining 1/3 will be a loft / den living space with a small kitchen, laundry area, and bathroom. So around 1400sq ft. I am planning on controlling climate with a 3 air handler mini split system.

I’m not concerned with the insulation of the workshop space, but need to plan for the insulation of the living area. My goal is to have the interior walls smooth concrete, and would like to avoid drywall completely.

What are my options for accomplishing this on the interior? I am not a huge fan of siding, but would be willing to stucco the exterior.

If I have missed a thread that will help me better understand moisture barriers and insulation, or there is something else I should be reading, please point this newb in that direction.

I appreciate the help



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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Building codes require that living spaces include insulation. A building with CMU (concrete block) walls like yours can have the insulation on the interior or the exterior side -- the choice is up to you.

    If you install the insulation on the exterior, one good approach is the EIFS approach (rigid foam plus synthetic stucco).

    If you install insulation on the interior, you can cover the rigid foam insulation with cementitious plaster if you want, although that would be unusual. I would recommend some type of metal lath or chicken wire if you take this approach.

    There are a few tricky details here, especially where the wall insulation meets the ceiling insulation, and where the exterior wall insulation meets the insulated partition that separates your apartment from your uninsulated workshop. At these tricky intersections, the insulation must be continuous (uninterrupted), without thermal bridges.

    If these concepts are new to you, you might want to hire a contractor.

    -- Martin Holladay

  2. brew0688 | | #2

    Hi Martin.

    Man, thanks for the reply. These concepts certainly are new to me. I've done some reading on EIFS and traditional stucco.

    I reached out to an architect to get things moving.

    Thanks again.

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