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Very cold and condensation(ice) in closets that are on exterior walls of house

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  • Jan 17th, 2019 3:43 pm
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Member
Jan 27, 2009
225 posts
5 upvotes
Pointe-claire

Very cold and condensation(ice) in closets that are on exterior walls of house

Hi guys, I've had this recurring issue in two of the closets on the second floor my house(built in 1975). In both cases, when we have a cold snap, it gets extremely cold in each closet, and on the floor of side wall which is facing outside, we will even get some ice(which freezes and unfreezes, which is a problem in itself). I had my roof done last year(mansard), so spraying or insulating foam from the outside is really not the best option. I am thinking of just tearing down drywall in each closet and adding insulation...this might be the most wise choice regardless, as there could be mold because of all this recurring condensation.
Any thoughts? Spray foam or just traditional fiberglass insulation?
14 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
24362 posts
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Ottawa
+1 to adding insulation.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
First off, leave your closet open to allow ventilation to prevent condensation.
Go with closed cell spray foam as it will give you more R-value, and air sealing. If you don't do foam, go for rockwool over fibreglass as it is more water/mold resistant and slightly higher R-value.
Spray foam is hard to get a hold of for a DIYer so you could do rigid foam board and seal the edges with cans of spray foam.

You likely have a 3 or 4 stud corner. If you're able to, consider a California corner or even better is a Massachusetts corner.
http://blog.armchairbuilder.com/3235/ca ... y-savings/

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Massachusetts corner
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Mar 13, 2004
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Toronto, Ontario
Best bet it to open the drywall on the problem areas. Its likely there is no insulation and possible some gaps which is letting all the cold air in. You will want to seal al lthose holes with spray foam (if you decide to go with a batt insulation) Then put whatever batt insulation you want on top of that.

Either way open it up and take some good photos & post them here, then we can provide some advice.
0_o
<_<
>_>
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Sep 8, 2007
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Way Out of GTA
Gotta open up the walls and see what’s in there anyways. But 1975, hard to say what’s in the walls in terms of insulation. Anyone know what was code at the time? Or if there even was at this time?

I’d just use some Roxul plus vapour barrier if there is none. Doubt it makes sense to go all out with spray foam for what sounds like a fairly small area.
Deal Addict
Feb 25, 2007
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my parents old house didn't have any insulation, it was double layer brick tho, man in the winter the walls on the exterior side was so cold and damp
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Nov 9, 2003
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Grimsby
cartfan123 wrote:
Jan 14th, 2019 11:26 am
Gotta open up the walls and see what’s in there anyways. But 1975, hard to say what’s in the walls in terms of insulation. Anyone know what was code at the time? Or if there even was at this time?

I’d just use some Roxul plus vapour barrier if there is none. Doubt it makes sense to go all out with spray foam for what sounds like a fairly small area.
I think that was close to the end of the R12 era, seem to think the R20 rule came in 1977
Sr. Member
Apr 6, 2008
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Owbist wrote:
Jan 14th, 2019 12:51 pm
I think that was close to the end of the R12 era, seem to think the R20 rule came in 1977
Depends on thickness of exterior walls, you can only get a R12 (back then) or R14 (now) in a 2x4 wall or R20 in a 2x6 wall. My house was built in 1989 with R12 on exterior walls.
Deal Addict
May 24, 2004
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Rip out the drywall and insulate with rockwool and vapour barrier. If there are any cracks and gaps between studs, use something like Lepage tight foam.

If there is condensation in there, chances are there's mold. Probably a good idea to rip the drywall down regardless.
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Dec 10, 2008
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Toronto
Re-drywalling a closet is about as horrible of a DIY job as it gets. It's tight, dark, and not exactly the easiest plaster or paint job.

Do you have humidity problems in the house? Mold on the drywall?

My guess if it hasn't molded yet, the problem is a lack of air circulation. Try leaving the closet doors open for a week and see if the problem comes back again.
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Aug 22, 2011
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RCGA wrote:
Jan 16th, 2019 12:45 pm
Re-drywalling a closet is about as horrible of a DIY job as it gets. It's tight, dark, and not exactly the easiest plaster or paint job.

Do you have humidity problems in the house? Mold on the drywall?

My guess if it hasn't molded yet, the problem is a lack of air circulation. Try leaving the closet doors open for a week and see if the problem comes back again.
I'm not an expert, but couldn't you just cut out a portion of the drywall and stuff the insulation in and patch it up?
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Dec 10, 2008
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vkizzle wrote:
Jan 16th, 2019 1:08 pm
I'm not an expert, but couldn't you just cut out a portion of the drywall and stuff the insulation in and patch it up?
Studs and blocking kill that idea.

You're also going to want to install a vapor barrier, although I doubt it'll be that effective given the age of the home and the size of the closet in relation to the rest of the house (which most likely doesn't have a VB (guessing).
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2009
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Have you even checked the humidity in the house ? It might be way too high. I’d address that first before ripping holes in the wall.
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Sep 25, 2003
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Scarborough
There is likely very little insulation in those walls. Plus air circulation in the closet is poor due to packing in all your closet stuff so the walls remain cold.

Consider increasing insulation and keep some airspace between the wall and the stuff in your closet.
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Oct 13, 2008
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I have an unfinished basement right now ... just the walls have been framed. They are ready for insulation at any time.

These are how my corner studs were put up.

IMG_20190117_153803.jpg
IMG_20190117_153850.jpg
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