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What to Seal in between an old Stone layed foundation  RSS feed

 
Derek Willson
Posts: 18
Location: Redfield, NY, zone 5, average snow fall 184", elevation +/- 1,072', tug hill
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I have an old farm house with a stone foundation. The problem I'm having is there is to much cold in my basement in the winter time and freezing my water lines all the while. Our wood stove is on our first floor so no heat in the basement. What could I use to fill in between the stone work to cut down on the cold?
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Derek Wilson : I feel your pain, worse than frozen water is frozen drains - Any Flush beats a full house !

O.K. We truly want a house that breaths, windy is something else ! I am going to paraphrase current codes, and give a short explanation why.

Where the wooden foundation meets the stone foundation you have a sill log or sill plate and mud sill boards often multiple 2X12s, you also have
floor joists that cross the hose under your floor boards and set on the sill plate or are notch fitted into a Sill log !

We are going to assume you have noticed water condensing on upstairs windows and assumed it was from cooking, this may be a sign of a wet
basement!
The cellar or basement or crawlspace side of the stone/concrete foundation should be sealed at the sill plate, sill log and between every Joist box
where the joists meet the sill !

For years the current code was just to fill the pocket or box where the joist meets the sill with fiberglass insulation !

What happened with wet basements is the moisture easily penetrates the fiberglass insulation and then cools and condenses at the outside wall
and stone foundation -

This sweets up up for 1st mold, and then rot ! Better the last home owner never attempted to fill the rim joist pckets with fiberglas ! What is needed
and IS the current code is ridged foam board, you go in there and clean up the pocket seal with caulk ( large cracks use canned foam ) then
cut a piece of ridged foam to the size of each individual pocket place and seal with the foam !

See Link below :


http://howtohomeinsulation.com/insulation_basics_losing_money_sealing_basement_air_leaks.html

Now All the air leaks in your basement area are caused by an equal amount of warm air that has escaped from you house you need to do a ''Google Search''
for Stack Effect and Whole House Stack Effect, While you can think it at an intellectual level, understanding it on a gut level will get you up in your attic
to find and fix the worst of your leaks ! Good luck Good hunting And let us know how you made out !Big AL







 
Derek Willson
Posts: 18
Location: Redfield, NY, zone 5, average snow fall 184", elevation +/- 1,072', tug hill
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Wow, looking like I'm going to have my self a little winter project to work on. The link was very useful thanks al for your help.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
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Derek : You have lived in the house long enough to know if you have a WET basement, but not long enough to truly know if it is dry, Generally if your basement
is nearly always bone dry you have few if any cob webs down there, no water, no insects, no food for Spiders !

This weekend when it is bright and sunny outdoors get down there and sit in the dark for a good 20 minutes to allow for your eyes to accommodate to the dark

This reconnaissance mission will give you an idea off what you need to do next !

Take a screw driver with you and poke all of the wood you can reach for soundness, mold can be deadly to you rot is deadly to your house, I personally have
replaced sections of sill logs I could push a pencil through ! Good luck and good BAD hunting* ! Big AL

* I never understood why when people have the sniffles they ask for something 'good' for a cold - thats when I want something "BAD" for a cold ! A.L
 
Bill Bradbury
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Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
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As always, great advice from Pyro Al, but the more I use foam, the more I hate it. I am using building paper and rockwool more and more to seal and insulate these kinds of drafts.

If the foundation has voids that are letting in air, seal them with lime/clay/sand mortar. Age the lime putty, then mix with equal part local clay and 2 parts sharp sand. Put that in a grout bag and squeeze it in the gaps. Trowel smooth and when leather hard, lightly wet the mortar and burnish with a pointing tool.

If you have more questions, please post pictures, they make it easier for us to understand exactly what you're after.
 
Derek Willson
Posts: 18
Location: Redfield, NY, zone 5, average snow fall 184", elevation +/- 1,072', tug hill
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Al, for the most part it's a dry basement the house sits on a hill so the water drains away from the house pretty much the only time it gets real damp in there, I s during the summer when the floor sweats. But it does have all the structure you were talking about the big sill beam with the big floor board notched out, which I have a one to replace. I don't see any insolation stuffed in any holes around the sill and the notched part so heading to town and going to get some foam and get that sealed and see what that does for me. Thanks

Derek
 
Derek Willson
Posts: 18
Location: Redfield, NY, zone 5, average snow fall 184", elevation +/- 1,072', tug hill
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rock wool huh I guess I'm not to familiar with that. I really like the idea of the motar, I'm going to look it to that a bit more. With these old houses come great challenges, which pushes me to learn again what we the people have started to forget with the modern technology.

Derek
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
Posts: 2224
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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In some cases like this, it's not what old effective technology has been forgotten, but what they just couldn't or didn't do and worked around in other ways, like tolerating more cold seeping in as the price of a breathable wall that didn't collect moisture. Remember, when many old buildings were built, there was no indoor plumbing to protect.
 
Kieran Chapman
Posts: 36
Location: detroit, mi
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Bill, hopefully you're still watching this thread a month later. Could you elaborate a bit on your method of sealing a crawlspace with alternatives to foam board? Especially the steps you would take to insulate after sealing. The house I'm living in how has fiberglass stuffed in every cavity between the joists and the stem wall, and as Big Al noted there's been nothing but condensation building up there. I'm actually just finishing up my bathroom work you had offered your suggestions on a month or so ago (I expect to get a few pictures up on that old thread shortly) and had to do a lot more work than I initially expected since large sections of the subfloor and bottom plate were rotted away, in part because of this very issue). I now have some leftover lime putty that I was hoping to use to plaster a barn/shed I'm going to start work on soon, but your thoughts on using natural plaster as an air sealer around the sill plate were intriguing.

Sorry if I'm derailing the stone work issue for more general foundational inquiries, but a further question for anyone else in this thread: does it make sense to leave poorly-installed fiberglass batts stapled up between the joists? Or should I seal off the crawlspace vents and focus my insulation towards the foundation wall? I know the contemporary recommendation is to do the latter, but since I have a general aversion to petro products when possible, I don't know if there's a solid way to insulate the foundation wall without foam board.

Cheers,
Kieran
 
Bill Bradbury
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hi Kieran,
I'm glad to hear things are working out for you. Let's talk about polishing/burnishing your new plaster walls(in the other thread), even if you used drywall as a base.

As for air sealing, I typically rely on building paper. For interior use I like the stuff from Pro-Clima, expensive though, so you may want to use good old 30# felt.

I use a good silicone caulk on the paper to wood interface and where the paper is going to drywall, I just plaster it into the wall with some setting gypsum.

As I said earlier, I love the Roxul products! They are by far the best batt insulation and I even recommend their insulative sheathing though I haven't tried it yet, as my local builder's supply can't seem to get any. I am using a greenguard certified xps until they can. I use expanding foam in a gun to seal the edges and seams of xps; like for like.

The problem with foam is the lack of breathability can form a condensing plane, where water can run off the foam and wet surrounding surfaces and possibly cause mold.

As for vented or unvented crawl space/basement; either can work fine, but I like as much of the building as possible to be within the conditioned space.

 
Kieran Chapman
Posts: 36
Location: detroit, mi
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Oh ok, so if I understand correctly, you're recommending that I go into the crawlspace and in the cavity between the floor joist and the foundation wall I caulk in building paper? And then I stuff in Rockwool for insulation?

I was going to cut some wood forms and caulk them into place to seal off the two crawlspace vents, that seems significantly easier than insulating underneath my entire floor. My two apprehensions are that I do not know what kind of insulation besides foam board I could then use to insulate the foundation wall (for now I probably just won't) and that I don't plan to install a plastic vapor barrier on the sand floor of the crawlspace. Does anyone think this will contribute to moisture issues? It is relatively dry under there, with no bulk water penetration even during storm events.

Thanks,
Kieran
 
Bill Bradbury
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Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
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Yes, but the other way around;
from exterior to interior - rim joist then insulation, then paper sealed to the joists and foundation wall
We want to stop air from blowing through, but allow vapor to pass slowly ensuring drying while limiting wetting.
 
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