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Cold Bedroom above Garage - Insulation Question? (2018)

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  • Jul 6th, 2019 7:31 pm
[OP]
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Sep 1, 2010
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GTA

Cold Bedroom above Garage - Insulation Question? (2018)

Lives in Ajax, ON and moved in this 9 hrs old home, and found bedroom above the garage is useless and waste - too cold to use in Winter. Garage is finished with dry wall.
I wish builders should be accountable for wasting one full room due to poor design and poor insulation.

To address this issue, did following with no luck:
Replaced Carpet (best quality) but no luck as floor/carpet was still very cold in last winter. I have to keep room door close to maintain rest of house temperature. Duct has hot air but not helpful. If use electric heater then room temp comes to typical home temp (22 to 24 C), otherwise always around 7-10 degree down from home temperature.

The other rooms in the house (not above this garage) are fine. After reading similar other old posts on this forum, I cut dry wall in garage roof to see status.
Found spray foam is present (6-7 inch). See attached pic showing space between builder spray foam and draywall.

Looking for suggestions here:
  • I feel adding more spray foam above or replacing existing may not help (cost vs. value) as existing foam is ~ 6/7 inch. Also I called couple of companies in GTA they will remove all dry wall first to replace spray foam or add more. So cost will go too high, i guess.
  • Thinking to hire someone for blown-in insulation (Cellulose or Fiberglass or Rock Wool Fiber) and ask to make 2-3 cuts and fill all sides between spray foam and drywall area. I hope it should make some reasonable difference. Comments please?
  • My garage door is not insulated. Not sure if I should replaced garage door first and get insulated one, instead of blown insulation first. I have feeling insulated garage door only work if we don't open otherwise cold air in will stuck in garage just like fridge/freezer.
Please suggest.

Thanks in advance.
Images
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Last edited by a3dview on Aug 26th, 2018 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
27 replies
Deal Addict
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Feb 3, 2005
3714 posts
275 upvotes
Georgetown
If it is as cold as you say, it really seems there is a bigger issue than the garage ceiling insulation. I’m guessing the wall insulation, window, or the point where the wall meets the garage ceiling at the front. I have heard of this issue when the wall and ceiling are insulated... but cold air is flowing in at the seam between them. Good luck figuring it out... hopefully one of the house construction experts here can help pinpoint and resolve your issue.
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
10469 posts
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Brampton
1. That's not nearly enough spray foam.
2. Have you checked the room to make sure there's no air leakage?
3. Make sure your vents are open to ensure adequate heat and air circulation is getting to the room. Have you checked to make sure the duct work is insulated and sealed. Check your air returns in the room too to make sure they aren't blocked. I've seen make stupid things done like air returns not leading any where or ducts disconnected.
Deal Addict
Nov 8, 2005
2067 posts
596 upvotes
It sounds as though you have an air problem somewhere else. My main bedroom is above the garage and it gets pretty cold in the winter, but not the same drastic temperature swings that you're describing. I'm certain that my problem is just a lack of insulation. The builder of my house just stuffed batts in the floor joists above the garage and covered it up with drywall. The fact that you have spray foam indicates that your floor should be a lot warmer, especially with carpet to hold the heat. I would check the front of the house, awnings, any crawlspaces, or windows for major leaks. If the front of your house is siding you may want to take it off and check for problems.
Deal Addict
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Oct 15, 2007
4350 posts
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That yellow open cell foam is junk and utterly useless.
Any house that I’ve seen that has it has had a cold room above it.
It’s almost always removed and re sprayed with closed cell foam during any renovation I’ve been a part of
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
Newbie
Oct 15, 2015
15 posts
7 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Agreed with other posters; Problem is likely from inadequate insulation. I can see the bottom of the floor joists in your picture, so that's not very much. Also, you're getting a thermal bridge along the joists.

First thing, seal all air leaks to above. If I were you I would use an infrared camera, or hire someone with one, and identify the leaks. Seal with caulking/spray foam/loose insulation as applicable depending on size of leak. Once leaks are sealed, move to next step of increasing insulation. More spray foam is an option, but I would imagine it is cheaper to go for blown in cellulose. Tidy up those wires in the ceilling (maybe run through a sleeve) and ensure ceilling framing is able acceptable for the insulation: seal any gaps that the cellulose could escape from, and ensure the drywall anchoring is sufficient for the load. If you want to access anything in the ceilling, block out that area and install a hatch insulated with bats.

Your garage bedroom will generally always be colder than other rooms, but if you increase the insulation and seal leaks, it will be comfortable temperature. I wouldn't bother with insulated garage door.
Deal Addict
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Oct 15, 2007
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I’ve never heard of or seen blown in anywhere other than an attic
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
Member
Dec 4, 2009
239 posts
153 upvotes
Waterdown
Air sealing and duct sealing should be your focus. Make sure all the heat you’re making in going into the spaces you occupy. The exposed ductwork and cold air returns are likely very poorly sealed. Get a pail of maistic and brush every seam you can get to in the basement. Pop the window casing and foam/caulk as best you can. Every little bit adds up.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1885 posts
1011 upvotes
Toronto
22-24 degrees? That's very warm for a house.

That aside, your cheapest, easiest solution is to do what you are doing - electric heat. Use one of those oil-filled silent heaters in the colder months and be done with it.

You're going to spend $1000's adding insulation to your garage ceiling and likely never solve the problem.

What is the temp of the air coming out of the registers into the room? Is there and air-return in the room? Where do the ducts run? If you're not getting warm enough air into the room to start with, insulating the floor isn't going to help much.
Member
Aug 4, 2006
495 posts
176 upvotes
GTA - Gwilly
I would not be surprised if insulation Co. missed doing a portion of a wall. You will need to use infrared gun to find cold spot. Does any section over hand the porch? Check there. Good luck.

edited: typo error.
Last edited by 2flags on Jan 23rd, 2019 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
6771 posts
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Paris
tebore wrote:
Aug 26th, 2018 2:06 pm
1. That's not nearly enough spray foam.
2. Have you checked the room to make sure there's no air leakage?
3. Make sure your vents are open to ensure adequate heat and air circulation is getting to the room. Have you checked to make sure the duct work is insulated and sealed. Check your air returns in the room too to make sure they aren't blocked. I've seen make stupid things done like air returns not leading any where or ducts disconnected.
7” of closed cell spray foam is r35 min. That open cell crap is r4 total.
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 1, 2010
62 posts
5 upvotes
GTA
I got laser pointer digital temperature reader to see drywall temperature. Outside room walls have same temp as other rooms walls during last winter.

As carpet is very cold, so it feels issue is more to do with insulation under floor.
I understand it will never be like other rooms but trying to make reasonable like if home temp is 22-24 range, this room should be 18-20 range.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 1, 2010
62 posts
5 upvotes
GTA
@tim-x:: What is approx temp difference between your above-garage-room and rest of rooms during peak winter days?
tim-x wrote:
Aug 26th, 2018 2:29 pm
It sounds as though you have an air problem somewhere else. My main bedroom is above the garage and it gets pretty cold in the winter, but not the same drastic temperature swings that you're describing. I'm certain that my problem is just a lack of insulation. The builder of my house just stuffed batts in the floor joists above the garage and covered it up with drywall. The fact that you have spray foam indicates that your floor should be a lot warmer, especially with carpet to hold the heat. I would check the front of the house, awnings, any crawlspaces, or windows for major leaks. If the front of your house is siding you may want to take it off and check for problems.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
6771 posts
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Paris
Red_Army wrote:
Aug 26th, 2018 4:58 pm
I’ve never heard of or seen blown in anywhere other than an attic
A buddy of mine did blow in into his walls in an old house in Toronto. They cut a hole top and bottom of each stud bay. I thought about it for my garage walls but... lazy.
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 1, 2010
62 posts
5 upvotes
GTA
Just feedback:
So I decided to give it try - the cheaper solution first, if that did not work then I would move to other recommended more expensive solutions next years.
Hired someone for blown-in insulation ~$500 and ask to make 2-3 cuts and fill all sides between spray foam and drywall area. I noticed a reasonable improvement immediately.
The room above garage vs home temp. difference:
Oct./fall - no temp. difference.
Nov-Dec - a minor difference in temp like 1-3 degree (e.g. home temp 23C while room 20 to 21 C).
Jan (-22 degree outside today) - a reasonable but acceptable difference 3-5 degree (e.g. home temp 23C while room 18 to 19 C).

I am thinking if I update garage door to insulated, it could be better during extreme freeze days or will simply turn on room heater during deep freeze days.

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