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Pier & Beam Insulation
I recently bought an 18 yr old 3 seasonal lake house in PA. The house is built on pier and beams. I would like to be able to use the house during the cold winter months. The previous owner stated that I must flush out the pipes an install RV anti-freeze in the pipes so they won't freeze.
The pipes under the house are exposed with an electric tape on them.
Do you have any recommendations on how to best
insulate or enclose the pipes so they would freeze? And which products to use?

Underneath the house has foam board insulation screwed to the beams that is at least 18 years old. Should that be replaced as well and with what?

Thanks so much?
Posts: 3 | Registered: 12 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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About the only way you could use this home as a 4 seasonal home would be to install a full foundation or crawlspace beneath it and insulate the area.

One means to accomplish this is by using a treated lumber foundation for the crawlspace walls placed below the frost level and then insulating the crawlspace walls.

This would require less insulation that what is normally required if the floor joists alone are insulated.

You would also have to at minimum place 6 mil plastic sheets over the exposed soil in the crawlspace to prevent excess moisture buildup under the house.
Posts: 453 | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Could I just build a frame box with insulation
around the pipes?
Just a thought
Posts: 3 | Registered: 12 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You could but all that will do is keep your pipes from freezing and do nothing to make this house bearable for winter occupancy.

You will still effectively only have a 3 season house because you'd otherwise need to insulate your floor joists to at least an R-38 to R-49 to meet minimum insulation requirements in Pennsylvania for floors that are not over a conditioned space.

And if you don't insulate to that level, will just be throwing away your heating money with the increases in fuel costs expected in Pennsylvania this winter.

You need to address the underside of your house in a big way if you seriously plan to live there year round.

As it right now, it really is only usable for 3 seasons and would need to be shut down in the harshest winter months.
Posts: 453 | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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dlburch-First let me say that I am not in the building trade, however, I have lived for the past 5 years in a mobile home in central Wisconsin. We too have nasty winters, long, snowy and COLD. Our pipes have only frozen up twice during this entire time. Both times were because we were gone for a number of days with the heat turned down too low. We have insulated skirting around the mobile and heat tape around the water supply pipes coming into the home from our well. People in this area will tell you that when the coldest spells hit, meaning -10 or lower, that they keep the faucet farthest from the water supply source open allowing a very slow drip. Moving water does not tend to freeze. Our home is comfortably snug as are the other homes of this type in our area. You just have to make sure that your heat tape is in good working condition as you don't want to have to replace it in the bitter months ahead! I won't say that the floors are as toasty as the floors in our previous home that had a basement, but slippers in the winter help-;-} Good Luck-
Posts: 1 | Registered: 19 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Insulating skirting is an excellent idea
Our only heat source is a wood stove
and 3 base board heaters. It is a 3 season
house until we can get the right contractor
to do something. Thanks again.
Posts: 3 | Registered: 12 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The easyiest way is to use double sided foil insulation rolls. It has a layer of foam inbetween the foil sides and is quilted. HomeDepot sells it in rolls of 4ft by 25ft.

If you are installing a new floor you can place it across and over the joist and down the side of the joist a minmum of 2 inches. Over lay the next row 4 inches.

For an existing floor you'll have to staple in place like they do the mobile homes from the under the floor.

There is a pdf installation somewhere on the internet from the manufacture but I cann't recall their address. I highly recommend to search for it.
Posts: 1 | Registered: 15 December 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have a 24x20 pier and beam building that is up on 3 feet of cynderblock piers, the floor is uninsulated. There is no heat or AC. We are in Houston, TX and are now wanting to put some type of insulation or covering under it to allow for visitors to stay there in the 2 months of "colder" winter. What is best? Also, if we use a permanent insulation, will that deminish the benefit of the open air below to cool it in the warm months? If so, can we use an annually removable insulation, like perhaps styrofoam sheets between the joists that can be removed? One additional consideration is that rain saturates the clay soil below the building, and in heavy storms has standing water for a couple hours. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Posts: 1 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: 12 December 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your best bet is to place batt insulation under the floor. Then cover it with a masonite or thin plywood cover to prevent it from becoming a birds nest. This will help keep the floor a little warmer on the feet.

However if your looking to improve the comfort of the room. Your greatest heat loss and gain is from the attic above assuming you have one and the ceiling is not the roof which is common with the type of building structure you have.

Insulation in this space will help prevent any heat loss during the cooler months and prevent the heat gain during the warmer or should I say hot summer months.

Another method to keep things more comfortable is to use a reflective barrier wrap. This type of material is used to reflect the radiant heat back into the room.

Stay away from the styrofoam under the building. This material must be covered for fire safety and it also like fiberglass insulation becomes a nesting material for birds and rodents.
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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