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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto

Cold Basement

So I recently redid my basement and put in Torly's Everwood floors. We never went downstairs before but I just find it too cold when I am down there. We didn't have enough headroom to justify putting a R value layer under the flooring so I just put a vapour barrier and then the flooring. I haven't put on the baseboards yet so perhaps that is adding to the draft. I measured the temperature and it is at least 5-6 degree C colder down there with the floors basically absorbing the concrete floor cold temps.

The house has an upgraded HVAC system with a return vent in the basement. However, the basement is open concept to the upstairs. I imagine it would be naturally colder but what can I do to take the edge off and ensure my wife and child will go down there in the colder months? I was thinking of installing a thermostatically controlled fireplace. http://www.electricfireplacescanada.ca/ ... gIIWPD_BwE

What are all your thoughts?
31 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
16025 posts
17302 upvotes
Oakville
ZSupraZ wrote: So I recently redid my basement and put in Torly's Everwood floors. We never went downstairs before but I just find it too cold when I am down there. We didn't have enough headroom to justify putting a R value layer under the flooring so I just put a vapour barrier and then the flooring. I haven't put on the baseboards yet so perhaps that is adding to the draft. I measured the temperature and it is at least 5-6 degree C colder down there with the floors basically absorbing the concrete floor cold temps.

The house has an upgraded HVAC system with a return vent in the basement. However, the basement is open concept to the upstairs. I imagine it would be naturally colder but what can I do to take the edge off and ensure my wife and child will go down there in the colder months? I was thinking of installing a thermostatically controlled fireplace. http://www.electricfireplacescanada.ca/ ... gIIWPD_BwE

What are all your thoughts?
Add more HVAC vents so you get direct warm air there.
Carpet would also feel warmer.
Sr. Member
Mar 10, 2004
692 posts
231 upvotes
ZSupraZ wrote: So I recently redid my basement and put in Torly's Everwood floors. We never went downstairs before but I just find it too cold when I am down there. We didn't have enough headroom to justify putting a R value layer under the flooring so I just put a vapour barrier and then the flooring. I haven't put on the baseboards yet so perhaps that is adding to the draft. I measured the temperature and it is at least 5-6 degree C colder down there with the floors basically absorbing the concrete floor cold temps.

The house has an upgraded HVAC system with a return vent in the basement. However, the basement is open concept to the upstairs. I imagine it would be naturally colder but what can I do to take the edge off and ensure my wife and child will go down there in the colder months? I was thinking of installing a thermostatically controlled fireplace. http://www.electricfireplacescanada.ca/ ... gIIWPD_BwE

What are all your thoughts?
Are all the heating vents open? Vents that are close to floor warm room.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto
tempperm wrote: Are all the heating vents open? Vents that are close to floor warm room.
All the heating vents are open and are on the ceiling.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto
engineered wrote: Add more HVAC vents so you get direct warm air there.
Carpet would also feel warmer.
Not really something I can easily do as the room is all drywallled and painted.
Sr. Member
Mar 10, 2004
692 posts
231 upvotes
ZSupraZ wrote: All the heating vents are open and are on the ceiling.
Then i would do the same and use an external heat source.
Member
Jan 12, 2007
335 posts
176 upvotes
Your basement sounds like mine. Open concept and open to below. I also have a walkout and find it 2 to 2.5 degrees colder. I do have insulated subfloor but since cold air drops the floors still get chilly.

Use a rug, it definitely helps.
Additional heat like you posted will certainly help but at the cost of electricity.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2831 posts
1301 upvotes
Mississauga
What is the R value of your wall insulation?
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
5678 posts
3429 upvotes
A rug and a space heater
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2006
581 posts
433 upvotes
Winnipeg
Have you an air return in the basement or just heat outlets?

My basement didn't have a return so I had one installed - quite a big difference now :)
People will believe what they want to believe whether fact or fiction.
'tis most frustrating when they aren't open to see and/or learn which is which.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto
bubuski wrote: What is the R value of your wall insulation?
I think it is R12
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto
warpdwhim wrote: Have you an air return in the basement or just heat outlets?

My basement didn't have a return so I had one installed - quite a big difference now :)
Yes it does have a return. Do you keep upstairs vents closed to force more air to the basement?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
16025 posts
17302 upvotes
Oakville
WindowGuyLarry wrote: I got one of these for my master bedroom (It's quite a large space). Its highly efficient and has a timer built in with automatic shutoff. Does the trick

https://www.amazon.ca/Delonghi-TRRS0715 ... 456&sr=8-6
What do you mean by "it's highly efficient"? It's just as efficient as any electric heater (radiant, ceramic, resistant, etc). They all convert 100% of electricity to heat and all consume their rated power. Oil heater like this are just slow to heat up and slow to cool down.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9968 posts
5250 upvotes
Paris
engineered wrote: What do you mean by "it's highly efficient"? It's just as efficient as any electric heater (radiant, ceramic, resistant, etc). They all convert 100% of electricity to heat and all consume their rated power. Oil heater like this are just slow to heat up and slow to cool down.
also nearly silent, but otherwise bang on.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2831 posts
1301 upvotes
Mississauga
ZSupraZ wrote: I think it is R12
Three issues that I feel keeps your basement cooler.
1. Your floor does not have thermal break (insulation) to stop the cold transfer. Your vapour barrier only prevents moisture transfer.
2. R12 wall insulation is not sufficient. Most cities require a minimum of R20 and net zero home even aim for around R36.
3. No baseboards yet could have soem draft but adding the baseboard wont solve #1 and 2.

The wall and floor insulation is critical if you want a space that feels just as comfortable as your main floor. Yeah you loose a couple of inches on the floor and wall but then your smaller finished space will become comfortable and well unitized rather than a cold space where no one want to hang out.
I finished my basement in December and didn't think twice about adding the extra insulation since my kids would be using the space most. The temperature is now right in line with the rest of the house.
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2006
581 posts
433 upvotes
Winnipeg
ZSupraZ wrote: Yes it does have a return. Do you keep upstairs vents closed to force more air to the basement?
No, I didn't need to adjust anything. The increase/improvement in flow from the return alone was noticeable to me.
Is the return in the ceiling or at floor level? In my case it's in the ceiling but some HVAC people say it's better to have the return at floor level.

Do you have windows (Good windows?) in the basement. Are your basement walls properly sealed with vapor barrier from upper floor to bottom?
Have you tried/can you run just the fan on your furnace to circulate the air in your house more often than just when the furnace is in heating mode?
People will believe what they want to believe whether fact or fiction.
'tis most frustrating when they aren't open to see and/or learn which is which.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 20, 2005
168 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto
bubuski wrote: Three issues that I feel keeps your basement cooler.
1. Your floor does not have thermal break (insulation) to stop the cold transfer. Your vapour barrier only prevents moisture transfer.
2. R12 wall insulation is not sufficient. Most cities require a minimum of R20 and net zero home even aim for around R36.
3. No baseboards yet could have soem draft but adding the baseboard wont solve #1 and 2.

The wall and floor insulation is critical if you want a space that feels just as comfortable as your main floor. Yeah you loose a couple of inches on the floor and wall but then your smaller finished space will become comfortable and well unitized rather than a cold space where no one want to hang out.
I finished my basement in December and didn't think twice about adding the extra insulation since my kids would be using the space most. The temperature is now right in line with the rest of the house.
Thanks what did you use as your thermal break?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 26, 2005
16934 posts
1784 upvotes
Thornhill
Our basement has Dricore R+ and carpet. Heat vents on the ceiling. Roxul Comfort Batt and Comfort Board in the walls. No windows. Cold air return is in a separate room though. Still feels colder than the rest of the house.

Might try an inline booster or something, but we only play down there.

bjl
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Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2831 posts
1301 upvotes
Mississauga
ZSupraZ wrote: Thanks what did you use as your thermal break?
I actually do not recall the product name but it is similar to the link below. Mine was installed under Laminate flooring.

The company that did the install mentioned that the product cannot be used with vinyl by itself. Vinyl above a thermal insulator required a more solid base utilizing OSB boards or an all in one product like Dricore. We didn't like the hollow feeling of vinyl or the additional cost of the subfloor so crossed it off our list.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/thermo ... 1001066320

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