Insulating Your Home's Floors
For insulating your home, underfloor insulation rarely gets the attention when homeowners think of energy savings or making their home more comfortable. With most houses in Salem County, NJ having crawl spaces or full basements, it is important to think about the heat loss that comes from uninsulated floors.
In this article we are going to explain the amount of energy you waste, the benefits for underfloor insulation and what you need to do it.
- Heat Loss Through Floors
- The Benefits of Floor Insulation
- Recommended Floor Insulation R–Values for Salem County, NJ
- Getting Your Floors Insulated
Let’s dive in.
Heat Loss Through Floors
Standing on a cold is miserable, but you can do something about it! Insulating floors will stop heat escaping. When it comes to heat loss, your floors make up 10% of all heat loss in your home. If you think about the temperature in your crawl space or basement it stays relatively the same throughout the year at about 52-60 degrees. Which may sound comfortable to some, it makes for cold feet when the only thing separating that constant cold and your feet is less than an inch of wood. That is why tile and hardwood floors are so cold. Carpet helps but there is no insulation.
Most homes have duct work, plumbing and other mechanical penetrations through the floors to the living areas. Have you ever felt a cold draft coming from your bathroom around plumbing pipes or under the kitchen sink? That cold air is a consistent source of heat loss.
10-20% heat loss from non-insulated floors.
Through floor insulation, you can reduce your home’s heating bill, and increase comfort.
The Benefits of Floor Insulation
The benefits of floor insulation can be significant. 10-20% of heat loss from a building can be through the floors if they’re not insulated. If your winter time energy bill is $300.00 per month, then $30 to $60 is lost through your floors lack of insulation.
By correctly insulating the floors you can save money and live more snugly on those cold winter days.
It Eliminates Drafts
Insulating under the floor will prevent drafts from entering via the gap between the floor and the ground.
It Will Prevent Heat Loss
Underfloor insulation will help the house retain the heat you pay for. Insulation impedes temperature change. Therefore less energy is needed to maintain the temperature you choose.
It Will Create a Vapor Barrier
Wood floors are especially vulnerable to moisture. A layer of insulation between the floor and crawl space helps create a vapor barrier, preventing moisture from getting in. This is the main reason hardwood floors buckle.
Helps Keep Pipes From Freezing
In homes with piping beneath the floor, basement insulation provides extra protection. In climates with freezing winters, pipes are prone to cracking and bursting if the water inside of them freezes.
Recommended Floor Insulation R–Values for Salem County, NJ
In Salem County, New Jersey we live in Zone 4, and according to the EnergyStar Insulation Standards Guide, we should have a floor insulation value of between R-25 and R-30. Many older homes don’t have that much in the attic.
Let’s see how your floor compares to what EnergyStar recommends. If you have a standard wood constructed floor, uninsulated, it most likely is ¾ of an inch of plywood or floor planking. The R-value of the wood floor is, .75. So, on the low end of the recommended R-value for your floor you’d be 24.25 less. No wonder the floor is so cold.
Even with carpeted floors, another 1-2 in R-value your total would be less than R-3. A deficit of R-22.
The best way to reach this R-value for your floors is rigid foam boards or closed cell spray foam. When I say spray foam, I don’t mean those cans you get to fill in gaps. Which by the way you should do as well. When we say spray foam it is more like this. Closed-cell spray foam is the best way to insulate under your floors in a crawl space or basement.
If you decide you want to go the rigid foam board method. You would need between 4-5 inches of rigid insulation to achieve the 25-30 R-value your floors need.
Getting Your Floors Insulated
Insulating your floors can be a DIY home improvement project, but it would be based on the insulating materials used and experience level. Crawling around in a crawlspace is not my idea of a fun weekend. If you do decide to insulate your home’s floors we DO NOT recommend using batt insulation or the pink stuff on rolls on crawl spaces or wet/damp basements. As there is a chance for mold and mildew. It is fine for dry or finished basements.
When it comes to properly insulating your home’s floor between crawl space or basement, we recommend one of our insulation contractors. Why, because they will professionally make sure that you are insulated and have an excellent moisture barrier between your feet and the cold area below. Plus, use the right materials so mold and mildew do not grow on your floor joists and subflooring or enter your living space.
Stay warmer in the winter and save money on your energy bills, get your floors insulated.
Salem County Home Services
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