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Old 02-28-12, 08:54 PM   #1
abogart
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Default Sealing the basement

Well, I am currently in the sealing and insulating phase of energy-proofing this old house. I figure the best place to start is the basement. There are quite a few projects down there that can give me some easy eco-points.

I decided to start with the basements windows. We never open them, and we aren't down there long enough to need the light coming in. So I decided to make rigid foam inserts to fit inside the window frames, sealed air-tight with spray foam.



Here's the first window, after vacuuming loads of spiderwebs, crumbled cement, and who-knows-what other kinds of nasty stuff from it. They are the basic top-hinge single-pane type with an outer storm window.



There were actually roots growing through the turn-of-the-century mortar/cement. Not quite sure what that means, but I don't think it's good.



This is the bottom of the sill. There is a nice little pit between the two boards in the center.



I noticed this quarter-sized hole between the window frame and the cement. You can actually see daylight through it, and I could feel a strong draft of cold air coming through it.



Window #2 above the laundry area. They put some kind of glass block storm window-thing in it that's about 4" thick. It doesn't seem to have much insulating value because I can feel the cold in front of it. I could also see the spiderwebs around the window frame moving from the draft coming through between the frame and cement.



Exibit C. This window sits above the decommissioned cistern. Apparently it was installed before indoor plumbing, or at least before the kitchen sink. There are no hinges on it, there were just a few rusty nails in the window frame holding it in place. The frame is badly rotted by what looks like decades of plumbing leaks from above.

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Old 02-28-12, 09:37 PM   #2
abogart
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Default Sealing the basement (continued)

I picked up a 4" x 8" sheet of 2" rigid blue foam board and a can of Touch N' Foam minimal expanding spray foam from my local small-town lumber yard for about $42.



My foam cutting skills leave much to be desired, but I managed to get the insert to fit with about a 1/4" gap all around. I later found that I should have left closer to 1/2" for the foam to fill.



Freshly foamed. It's not pretty, but it's effective . This stuff takes about 4 hours to fully harden and expand, so I'm curious what it's going to look like in the morning.



Finished with window #2. This one came out a little better. The boards are holding the insert in place while the spray foam hardens, as it tends to try to fall out of the window. That glass block storm window is pretty well sealed on the outside and around the frame, so I didn't try to remove it, but there isn't enough room between it and the inner window for the 2" foam. So I just removed the inner window. I actually ran out of foam around the outside of the window frame, so I'll have to get another can and finish up the cracks. *If you look closely, you can see the R-value chart on that piece. I circled the 2" to remind me every time I look at it that I have R-10 in that spot. *



I think I was getting that hang of it by the third window.


Next is to finish foaming around the window frames and trim off the excess. Then I'll seal up the exterior of the windows. I have yet to decide if I'm going to silicone the outer storm windows shut or just weatherstrip them. I'm also wondering if I should paint the glass a certain color (black maybe?) before sealing them up. Any suggestions?

More to come, stay tuned!
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