House foundation

norar_ilJune 28, 2014

We live in a house built around the turn of the 20th century -- essentially an old farm house. Most of the foundation is brick, but the kitchen/downstairs bath were built on sometime later. They have no brick under the edges of the rooms -- just open to the air. Since we're in the Midwest and the open foundation is on the north side, it is not a good thing. A few years ago we did have someone supposedly fix the situation, but all they did was put a blue foam insulation around the area. That is now knocked askew, so there is essentially nothing between our floor and the elements.

After last year's horrible winter and water pipes freezing several times, I need a permanent solution. When we first moved here, we put straw bales around that part of the house. It worked, but I'm not really into that look!

How do we fix? I know it needs to be closed in but I don't know how it needs to be done. Should it be dug out and concrete blocks installed with insulation behind them? Can that be done?

I know there are a lot of old house people here and am hoping some of you have faced a similar dilemma and can give me some ideas.

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Trebruchet

How large is the distance from the dirt to the bottom of the floor joists?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 3:29PM
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norar_il

I went out and measured and it's about 6 inches.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:14PM
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worthy

Pics would help. For instance, I don't understand how there could be any plumbing in the space you describe. I've seen some low crawls--but not six inches!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:35PM
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atmoscat

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I have essentially the same problem with a couple of added rooms on my house. In my case there's also no foundation and minimal space below. The siding comes down to soil level. The floors are COLD and it seems like a rot/insect problem waiting to happen. I'm interested to hear what folks would recommend.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:07AM
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worthy

So this would be a house on piers. If there's any access at all, foam board or spray foam under the flooring would be effective. But the foam should be at lest six inches above the ground, to prevent it from serving as a hidden route for termites.

This post was edited by worthy on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 16:00

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:49AM
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norar_il

In my case there is nothing down to the ground. The ground is dug out a bit beneath the rooms to allow space for the plumbing. However that dug out part isn't even deep enough to call it a crawl space.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:42PM
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atmoscat

Insulating below the floor is a good idea. But if the space is open (as norar_il has, or if we were to remove the siding that's in contact with the ground), then animals could get in, too. I was hoping someone would have suggestions on how to enclose it with brick or blocks or something. Any advice?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:53PM
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renovator8

You need to first put a strong vapor retarder over the earth and then close the gap at the perimeter. There are many ways to do that but the material should resist rotting (Azek, etc.) Insulation would help but it is not as important as air sealing. Perhaps 1" styrofoam glued to the back of the closure panel. Perhaps the bottom edge of the closure panel should be buried an inch or two in the ground. It might not last forever but the only permanent solution is to jack the house up and add a foundation.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:52PM
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