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Community and Q&A

Converting a Seasonal Camp to Year-Round Home

Smutrux | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Hello, I am in the process of purchasing a home built in 1950 on piers. The home probably started its life as a summer camp, as it is located about 25 yards from the shore of a pond in a summer camp community. But since about 2004 or so, I believe it has been used as a year-round residence.

The property inspection found several things that need to be addressed, probably the most pressing is the situation under the house. The piers seem solid, but there is some erosion from water getting under there. Although there is a stick-built skirt, it is poorly insulated and the floor is still dirt. All the water and moisture will surely cause problems in the future that aren’t bad now, but drainage away from the crawl space, insulation for plumbing and heating pipes and ducts that is under there, and moisture barriers are all things I have to consider. I found a helpful article on this website about skirts vs. open air under houses on piers. So as far as the space under the house goes, I feel like I have that under control.

I’m writing to ask if you can prioritize a few additional resources for me about how to make sure that a summer camp conversion is good-to-go as a year round home in the living space. How do I learn how much insulation is in the walls, or how much heat is escaping? If I were to add insulation to the home, do I have to take the walls apart, or could I add insulation covered with sheet rock without having to open the walls up? Other than insulation and air-tightness, what would you recommend I consider? I’d like to add a wood stove as a secondary heat source in addition to the propane forced air furnace, and a heat pump for efficiency and air conditioning. Anything to consider when adding heating and cooling systems?


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  1. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #1

    I’m going to give your post a bump in hopes that experts will weigh in. Your questions are complex in terms of the information they will need to help you. While you wait, take a look at this related conversation: Making a “summer cottage” livable in winter.

  2. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #2

    If you really have water running under the house and causing erosion that needs to be dealt with before anything else.

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