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Old 12-24-13, 04:19 PM   #1
warmwxrules
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Default Cold corners

So last night we dropped to -12F and i was taking the infrared thermometer around the house to see what kind of cold spots i could find (plenty of them). My walls are void of any insulation. I had spots on some walls (west/north facing walls) below freezing...and down in the corners I had a temp as low as 15F! (right where the trim meets up). I must be getting air leakage. This morning i had good amounts of frost in several areas. So how do i tackle this? My house is pretty air tight (had a blower door test done last year/along with a lot of attic insulation/caulking done). Thinking about ripping off the trim and caulking or should I go from the outside? Maybe rip out all exterior wall trim and caulk the length of the walls. Dense pack cellulose is on my list (2x4 walls), but obviously cellulose won't help much in the corners (vinyl siding over clapboard/tar paper). I know wrapping the house in a bunch of foam board would be ideal, but that isn't happening anytime soon (money/time/etc).

Another interesting thing I could see is thermal bridging... i could tell by the where the studs were (temps would be a couple degrees colder).

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 12-24-13, 08:31 PM   #2
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My thoughts are to start with the blown in cellulose. It is cheap and you can do it at your own speed from the inside or outside.
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Old 12-24-13, 10:57 PM   #3
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That is priority numero uno! ... just need to line up my brother to help me because I can't do it by myself (wife is worthless in this aspect ) But i'm wondering because the framing should have the 2x4's butted up in the corners somehow?? so i would doubt cellulose would be able to reach in there...but then again, there must be gaps somewhere... i just can't believe how cold it is in there. I also have an uninsulated basement (cinder block) that i have to address at some point. When it drops below 0F these things really jump out at you.

Merry Christmas! Its a winter wonderland here in southwest WI tonite...snow coming down hard...beautiful.
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Old 12-26-13, 12:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warmwxrules View Post
...But i'm wondering because the framing should have the 2x4's butted up in the corners somehow??...
I think that standard construction has tended to ignore cold corner problems, because corners are often stacked 2x4 which have an R-value of about 1 per inch. So you end up with a large area that has a low R-value, and insulation can't reach it.

But you should still try to reduce infiltration as much as possible, inside & outside. Foam from a can is a good way to go. You might be in a bit of a quandary at this time of year, because the temperature is so low, that the foam might not expand to it's full potential.

* * *

As a side note, I'm in the process of remodeling and insulating my back room, and when I removed inside window trim, I found torn bits of clothing that desperately cold people had jammed into the cracks and gaps around the window over 100 years ago.

Our quest for warmth is an ancient one.

-AC
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Old 12-26-13, 07:18 AM   #5
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In your predicament, I'd do one room at a time, strip the sheetrock off the outside wall(s), have them foamed with closed cell foam and then do a Mooney Wall inside and use blown in cellulose in the extended part. How time consuming depends on your level of motivation, but it would be a good deal more than the other ideas would be. But when each room is completed, you'll be very happy with the results.
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Old 12-26-13, 10:18 PM   #6
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Assuming that you don't want to gut the house, a can of foam and a 1/4" drill bit will take care of 90% if your issues, find the cold spots, drill a hole and fill it with foam, even if your house is sealed you can still get cold air up to the back side of the trim or dry wall.
Other thing is to seal it from the basement or crawl space, anywhere that wood meets the foundation should be sealed with expanding foam, you can also sometimes do this from the outside but inside can be easier to find the leaks, tape to mark the air leaks can help a great deal.
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Old 12-27-13, 02:35 PM   #7
warmwxrules
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
I think that standard construction has tended to ignore cold corner problems, because corners are often stacked 2x4 which have an R-value of about 1 per inch. So you end up with a large area that has a low R-value, and insulation can't reach it.

But you should still try to reduce infiltration as much as possible, inside & outside. Foam from a can is a good way to go. You might be in a bit of a quandary at this time of year, because the temperature is so low, that the foam might not expand to it's full potential.

* * *

As a side note, I'm in the process of remodeling and insulating my back room, and when I removed inside window trim, I found torn bits of clothing that desperately cold people had jammed into the cracks and gaps around the window over 100 years ago.

Our quest for warmth is an ancient one.

-AC
My brother's house here in town was stuffed with old newspapers. I guess an old school method of cellulose.

I ended up pulling the trim and shooting in a bunch of caulk. There really was almost no space in there for any foam.

The plan is to start with blowing in cellulose whenever i can get my helper to come around.

Horrible how these old homes were not insulated. Can't imagine the amount of wasted energy in this area (lots of homes the same age as mine--late 50s).
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Old 01-11-14, 04:14 PM   #8
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I too, have the same issue RE: cold corner up on the south-west corner of my 2nd flr master bathroom....been like that since the day we bought the house...asked my next door neighbour (same house blueprint, mirror image, built by the same contractor), same deal.

also: it's the very same corner where there are 2 security (bathroom on 2nd floor) windows meet the corner post. While I must admit that these double-glazed vinyl windows are by no means better in terms of thermo-insulation qualities, nevertheless: all other vinyl windows throughout the rest of the house have not exhibit similar temperature difference.

It's approx 7C difference based on my non-contact thermo thermometer readings. W/o knowing exactly how this was insulated.

I am very tempted to cut a corner of the sheetrock this coming summer to inspect the insulation qualities/properties of it.....not sure if I can do a good enough patch job to conceal the cut afterwards though....oh well, I just have to try..

Q.
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Old 01-12-14, 05:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quest View Post
I am very tempted to cut a corner of the sheetrock this coming summer to inspect the insulation qualities/properties of it.....not sure if I can do a good enough patch job to conceal the cut afterwards though....oh well, I just have to try.
That is why I drill a small hole, you can stick a wire in to see if there is insulation and you can fill the void you find with expanding foam, drilling a drinking straw size hole every foot or so seems to be close enough for expanding foam and patching those small holes is not an issue, much easier then patching in dry wall, quicker too.
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Old 01-12-14, 12:19 PM   #10
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Good idea, Thanks Ryland.

Q.

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