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Insulation under the floor

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by BrowningBAR, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    No crawl space.

    No.

    I do need to remove the cabinets as the wood floor goes under the cabinets. This is not your typical Home Depot bought wood flooring. This wood flooring is about 200 years old, very wide, very thick, and very hard. The cabinetry would need to be removed.


    Again, there is no crawl space. There is no concrete foundation. There is no sill as you are imagining it.

    There is no sill plate. There are massive, hand carved beams that act as structural support with some sort of stone foundation at the corners.
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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am finding it difficult to give you ideas since you have been unable to describe your home construction. Every house with studs in the walls has a sill plate, it's that piece of wood that the bottom of the studs nail to. Perhaps regional differences on what you call things. The crawlspace that you have may not be big enough to crawl in but if you have space under the floorboards, then you have a crawlspace. Time for a picture? You seem very motivated to remedy the cold floors.
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  3. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    There lies the problem, there are no studs in stone walls so no sill plate. There is no crawl space, it is maybe an inch, if that between the bottom of the house and ground. It's gaps all over as the earth settles, so has the house over the last 100 or so years but not even enough to get your hand under the house and no real dirt to dig out, its slate.

    I have to get some "before" pictures for my insurance company to track the progress of the repairs. I'll post pics soon.
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  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Thanks folks, it is very confusing. You seem to live inside a pile of rocks standing on a pallet! If for nothing else other than the coolness factor I would love to see the pictures.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I have some pics of the third section of the house that shows the beams and wall support. Probably won't be able to post them until tonight or tomorrow morning.
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  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    This is very accurate.
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  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    For houses built in the 18th century like BBar has (1700's), most of them are pretty much just that! They are very-well built structures to stand for close to 300 years, but they were hacked out of logs and stones by hand back in those days.....thats all the pioneers had to work with.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Growing up in Florida, where every home is built on a solid concrete foundation, it was extremely odd to see the underneath of this home. My exact quote when I looked under the flooring was; "Wait, that's it?!"
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  9. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I've seen the pics of your house before BBar and I love that place.....is that thread still on here somewhere?
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I can seal a pile of rocks with shot-crete.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    First you need to find the spots that are leaking.
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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  13. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I was just looking up some old time banlo/fiddle tunes and came across "Puncheon Floor" and I remembered what that was. The next step up in luxury from a dirt floor was a puncheon floor made from half round logs snugged up next to each other. You seem to have a "plank on puncheon" adaptation. It was either built the way it is originally, or or perhaps some 'tweeners" were removed later to make it easier to lay the planks flat. I'd bet there was dirt fill all up around the puncheons early on. Sorry that doesn't help with your problem, but it gives you another avenue for research. You might be able to get some grant money for restoration, especially if it's in a historic district or is on the historic register.

    Ehouse
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  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Here you go. The wood beam that runs under the wall is sitting directly on dirt. The beams are also directly on the dirt and rock. there is no air gap. I left the image large so you could see additional detail.
    [​IMG]
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  15. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    BBar, did you ever have any termite/borer damage in your home? With all that wood in direct contact with the ground, I was just curious as we DID have termites in ours when we moved in. I spent the money and had them taken care of, but they had been in the house since the early 60's (estimated), they did a LOT of damage. We restudded walls, did some new floor joists, etc, and I termite-proofed all of that with vinyl barriers, etc......

    have you ever treated your house for them? Something to think about if you do take the floors up in your house....
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    There were no signs of termite damage or activity during inspection and when we had the flooring up. Let's not look for additional problems ;lol

    The draft is killing me as it is. I don't need to think about the possibility of a termite problem as well.
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  17. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    It wasn't my intention to scare you, bud.....not at all. Just was curious.

    Either way, the pic you just posted, is that recently taken? Did you already start removing flooring in that house, or was that to level up floors or something (I see a porta-power in the pic, no?)

    I am amazed by the craftywork those ol' colonials did, all by hand.....I love seeing hewn beam work, mortise and tenon, hand forged spikes and such.....mucho respecto for those men and women who hacked a living out of the wilderness....
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The picture was from six years ago when we redid the flooring in the third section of the home. At the time, I did not have a full understanding of the draftiness of the home. Otherwise something would have been done.

    The room was carpeted. when the carpeting was removed there were several areas of the floor that needed repair and replacement. Some leveling took place as well, but it was more of an afterthought for the project. I would like to go in again and do a little more work on that aspect.

    The beams and stone are impressive. The beams are essentially shaved down trees. They are massive. And making 24" thick walls out of stone ain't easy or light work, either.
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  19. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if the carpet stopped some ventilation and that let to the deterioration of the floor. That existing system may be surviving because it has the draft you don't like. Ever consider presenting your issue to "This Old House"? if they can't help, they,might know who can..Beautiful home with much charm.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The damage to the floor was not rot. It was from excessive refinishing and sanding in spots and cheap repairs (cutting out sections to get to pipes and replacing it with plywood).

    We thought about it. Not specifically for this problem. But it is worth a try.
  21. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Yep! That is exactly what is under our floors too! Granted, your home is older than mine, 1860's but in those 100 years, doesn't look like much has changed! Your home is beautiful, a true Bucks County gem. Being a barn, mine is literally a stone square that has an addition to the side where the kitchen is and the 2nd floor over it. At some point the covered the plaster with this god awful asbestos siding, glad that's coming off on the insurance dime, not mine, as part of my Sandy repairs.

    Here is a photo a few days after Sandy when the crane was pulling the tree out of the second floor, if you look close, there's a guy way up in the tree with a climbing saw, he is 6ft 2" but looks like a bug in that massive tree! Here a photo of my stove, you can see the stone wall and window, which is at ground level, my living room is literally 3 feet under ground.

    When I get the rest of the pictures taken , I'll post them.

    Attached Files:

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  22. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Beautiful yellow pine flooring! It'll last forever. Do you remember if the floor boards are tongue and groove or perhaps splined? If so, and all your floors are as tight as this one appears to be, much of your draft may be coming from the perimeter joint where the flooring meets the wall. There's a significant gap between the plank ends and baseboard in the photo. You could try stuffing some insulation in that joint and installing a toe trim piece against the baseboard. The top joint between the baseboard and wall appears to have been caulked so that's ok.

    I love these old stoners. A good friend has a beauty she's desperately trying to sell, as it's in forclosure. Wish I had the loot.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    So can I assume that the wall with the electrical in it is just plaster smeared over a stack of rocks? To build this house did they first build rock walls kinda like firewood stacks to make up the exterior walls of the house and then go inside and lay those beams on the interior dirt floow between the rock walls? The picture does not show any rock walls and you say that the wood beam runs under the wall. Well that doesn't jive with the theory that these are stone walls.

    You say you have 24" thick rock walls but somehow air is leaking into the space under your pallet floor.I must be missing something. How is air getting into the space under the floor? What does the exterior look like at grade level? These 24" thick stone walls, is there mortar or something other than dry stacking?
  24. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Glad you are not having to foot the cost of the asbestos removal. That siding can either be covered up or removed. If removed all the fed regs come into play. You would think you were dealing with some sort of virus. I can remember peeling asbestos apart and paying with mercury in my hands in our science lab in high school!
  25. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    BB I see the flooring boards are not t&g which may have helped slow down the draft.You have an icebox 6 to 10 inches away from your feet with only air between.You could try and seal the perimeter to stop the airflow but I am picking the cold stone and earth will CREATE its own Draft.I don't know how wet it is under the floor.You may be able to blow in fiberglass insulation under the floor,may work if it is DRY under the house .How did you seal the gaps between the flooring planks?There is some stuff called radiant barrier (the foil type) but I believe it needs a small air gap to work..

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