Home & Garden

Cold Bedroom above Garage - Insulation Question? (2018)

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  • Jul 6th, 2019 7:31 pm
Deal Addict
Apr 10, 2009
1610 posts
684 upvotes
Hamilton
Jerico wrote:
Aug 27th, 2018 3:40 am
7” of closed cell spray foam is r35 min. That open cell crap is r4 total.
Honestly if you want it done right this is the answer. I did it in my old house and it worked well. It will also seal the ducts likely getting cold as they get to the regoster.

Open cell is crap and useless. Tear the ceiling down and do it with closed cell to notice a difference.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2007
712 posts
43 upvotes
Red_Army wrote:
Aug 26th, 2018 4:04 pm
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
Agreed. That builder foam is junk. I had the same gotnit resprayed and now have one of the hottest rooms above the garage
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Oct 13, 2008
3227 posts
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Oshawa
I have the same issue in Oshawa ... detached home was built in 2006.

We have ONE bedroom (used as a guestroom with a queen sized bed and a cathedral ceiling in the front) above the garage as well ... it has two vents (also located in the front below the large window). It too is bloody cold even when we have the heat at 21 degrees.

The garage measures 14'6" (wide) x 19'10" (deep) with no door entrance to the house (which is a great ... no wasted space because of the stairwell ... no door for the heat to escape from the inside of the house).

The garage is already dry-walled and it has a side window ... I am actually quite confident to say that the walls were NOT insulated ... basically studs up for the garage frame ... holes drilled through the studs for the electrical wiring ... and then the drywalls were put up. Call it DONE!

I had to foam up the cracks between the drywall and the frame of the window.

The garage door is still original ... thin metal ... non-insulated.

The only thing that I can think of is changing my garage door. However, the solution would still not solve the issue. Ripping down the drywall and insulating it properly ... but that would been way too much work and realistically would rather channel the costs in doing that to the unfinished basement.

Another major issue is that I had put up shelving all around the garage when we moved in ... it utilizes the entire back wall on 8' studs from the ground up ... 5' deep ... three levels ... too much of a hassle and headache to tear down ...
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Feb 4, 2015
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Canada, Eh!!
OP: So added more insulation in garage ceiling only or walls as well? @a3dview Thanks.

My often mentioned and delayed project [one of many] is to better insulate garage so two bedrooms above it are more in line with temps in rest of house... Did top up attic insulation last year so that helped.

Would say temp diffs are like 2-3F.

What does not help is that back of house gets much more sunlight then front where garage and two bedrooms are. Plus it's a small house however there is a cathedral ceiling at front of house [1/2 space of great room] so as hot air rises probably lose more then usual as roof above cathedral ceiling not well insulated in all likelihood based on experience.

Back to my question... wondering if better insulating garage ceiling and sealing joists ONLY will help two bedrooms above?
Else, much more work to insulate garage walls [one side facing outside and not sure if insulated].

Not interested in warming up garage space but rather keep cold from garage getting into house so kind of like what did with adding more attic insulation. Separate living space from heat loss in winter and keep summer heat out.

Once open up garage ceiling will see what is there and check what damage the vent that opens up into garage ceiling has done [neighbours have told me our houses have vent in garage ceiling]. May repurpose this vent and redirect to bedroom where existing vent not supplying enough heat/cool.
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Oct 9, 2010
2389 posts
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Windsor
a3dview wrote:
Jan 11th, 2019 1:09 pm
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.
Good to see a followup! You mentioned you added new carpet when you were looking to start this project, but does that room have an air return? If it doesn't, when you added carpet, you might've reduced the gap under the door, which will not allow the room to stay as warm (when the door is closed).
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Oct 13, 2008
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Oshawa
I was just curious as to the temperature of my coldest bedroom ... it measures 11'2" wide x 14'5" long ... has a vaulted ceiling with a large window. The entire bedroom sits above the garage.

14°C!!! It has two duct vents ... one directly below the window and the second to the right of the window. That definitely doesn't do any good!!! You sometimes really wonder why the builder does that.

IMG_20190117_132224.jpg
IMG_20190117_132256.jpg
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Jun 26, 2009
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GTA
torontotim wrote: 22-24 degrees? That's very warm for a house.
even igloos get warmer in the winterGrinning Face I would say 23 is perfect
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Sep 8, 2007
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Way Out of GTA
AV-Fishing wrote:
Jan 17th, 2019 3:50 pm
I was just curious as to the temperature of my coldest bedroom ... it measures 11'2" wide x 14'5" long ... has a vaulted ceiling with a large window. The entire bedroom sits above the garage.

14°C!!! It has two duct vents ... one directly below the window and the second to the right of the window. That definitely doesn't do any good!!! You sometimes really wonder why the builder does that.
Why do builders do it like that? Because they can. It really comes down to that. I’m of the believe that code needs to get tightened dramatically for above the garage type rooms. And they are not comfortable in both winter and summer.

Features of these room typically that contribute to heat loss in winter

- 2-3 exterior walls
- furthest room from your furnace
- unconditioned space below (ie garage isn’t heated)
- cathedral ceilings....heat loss from larger window and who knows what on the ceiling of the cathedral drywall...probably not getting the full R50 of attic spaces on the rising part

So as we see in your case the “solution” was to put two vents which might work simply on paper but in real life not even close to equalizing the heat input needed to offset the heat loss vs the rest of house.

So you’ve mentioned some of the fixes...I’d consider these passive:

- bump up insulation r value, in the room around, below and above....use the best and most you can
- keep doors open to rest of upstairs as much as possible to help the room circulate air
- upgrade garage door and r value, insulate garage again with the best stuff that’s practical
- inspect HVAC system for possible blockages, improvements to that particular duct run that services the room, potential dampers to equalize. Not all hvac contractors are created equal in assessing these and coming up with creative solutions
- Black out blinds for the window during the day in the summer

Mechanical intervention is also of consideration
1) duct boosters....if the duct run is too long vs the rest of your house and can’t be equalized via passive methods....and these are debatable at best
2) a bit more radical but install a mini split/ductless heat pump to service that room. Then heating and cooling can be set in the room. Because you have exterior walls and can run the lines into and out of. Because you need it mostly for extreme cold conditions...make sure it’s a “cold climate” unit.
3) electrical space heaters....cheap...but safety and efficiency is a concern and it does nothing to cool the room in the summer

My master bedroom while not over a cold garage is on the second floor and furthest from the furnace. The issue wasn’t heating in the winter but cooling as it was much hotter in summer....south facing also. So I installed a ductless just for that room and it’s been a game changer to equalize the cooling and reduced the need for my main ac to run to try and cool that one room.

The optimal solutions for everyone will be different. The amount willing to spend to get to a comfortable level will be different. But until code is changed for above garage rooms, the issues will persist.
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Oct 13, 2008
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Oshawa
A beautiful sunny day like today, the room wams up to 18°C ...


IMG_20190120_125248.jpg
IMG_20190117_132256.jpg
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Sep 14, 2007
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Aldersyde, AB
From what I can see:

• Wrong type of foam
• Skimped on the depth
• No air sealing

A really important step that requires attention when spray foaming joists in this type of location is to create ~1½" space between the bottom of the subfloor and where the spray foam begins. It brings the transition temp away from the floor surface. Thicker cardboard or ¼" ply stapled under top chord works well.

Closed cell foam sprayed to a thickness of at least 8"-10"(I fill the rest of the joist cavity) and all duct work sealed and on the warm side will ensure optimal temps.

I do this to all bonus rooms/bedrooms over garages in my builds and trust me........it works extremely well.
Member
Mar 1, 2011
436 posts
101 upvotes
Stoney Creek
I also have a bedroom above the garage that was cold. I did the following.
1. I used a stud finder to mark all studs in garage including horizontal cross studs. Take a hole saw and drill approx 2.5" hole near top of each cavity. Rented machine from Home depot and blew in insulation. Total time was about 2 hours.
2. Original garage doors were not insulated. I insulated them myself first with 2" blue Styrofoam, then later I also added fiberglass garage door blankets. Years later I replaced the doors and bought insulated doors. My original doors with Styrofoam and blankets were actually better.
3. When I pulled up the carpet to install hard in the bedroom I also pulled up the plywood. What I had was approximately 16" of airspace right below the sub floor then another 6" of fiberglass bats that were resting on the garage ceiling below. I rented a machine again this time from Lowe's which was much cheaper and blew in insulation and filled the cavities, then reinstalled the plywood subfloor.

Each of these steps was an improvement. The biggest difference was properly insulating the garage below.
Newbie
Mar 19, 2006
45 posts
10 upvotes
Hello,

I have similar situation as the OP. The builder installed the open cell spray foam in the garage ceiling underneath the bedroom. My insulation contractor suggested just applying closed cell spray foam over the old open cell foam.

My concern is that this may not provide the most effective solution compared to removing the old foam first. Also can there be other implications like the new foam bit bonding to the old in the future?

Have any other members done this and provide input?

Thanks.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
6771 posts
3046 upvotes
Paris
zinger1 wrote:
Jul 5th, 2019 4:59 pm
Hello,

I have similar situation as the OP. The builder installed the open cell spray foam in the garage ceiling underneath the bedroom. My insulation contractor suggested just applying closed cell spray foam over the old open cell foam.

My concern is that this may not provide the most effective solution compared to removing the old foam first. Also can there be other implications like the new foam bit bonding to the old in the future?

Have any other members done this and provide input?

Thanks.
One of the members on here is a spray foam guy but off the top of my head putting closed cell over open cell should be an issue so long as you get proper coverage and depth of the new foam. I would worry about spots that the new foam can’t reach that the old has filled, but not sure you could clean it out anyway.

My guess is taking it all off would cost 3x the price too.
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