shesaidc2's air sealing new thread

energy_rater_laNovember 10, 2012

Continuation of earlier thread:

I��m just addressing some of your answers to my questions.

I��ll get off keep that in mind!

Right now lets talk about sealing walls.

Keep the wallpaper. Paint over it, of paper over it. But it is helping to keep air out of the rooms

You wrote:

Walls were blown with cellulose in 80��s and cellulose is visible in attic.

This makes me think that walls are without top plates. So the only thing slowing air movement

is the cellulose. Not stopping air movement in walls, but slowing it.

"In the bedroom where carpet was removed the gap where the toe (?) molding would go some mineral wool type insulation is visible."

This area is one of the areas that it would be worth while to air seal.On all walls.

While it may not be cost effective to try to seal air movement in walls, stopping air infiltration into the house at these areas is cost effective. To caulk, maybe using something to fill the gap like backer rods is fairly easy to do. Use butter knife or flat screwdriver to push the backer rod into this gap that will be covered once toe molding (or ���� round) is installed, will stop air from entering the room.

Just as the wallpaper keeps air movement down,moldings around doors or windows..even floor & ceiling moldings..IF they have paint that fills in the gaps then the paint is making the seal. But if the paint doesn��t fill up the gaps..then caulk.

If you stop and think about how houses were built at the date of this build, it gives you insight into where these houses leak. Individual boards nailed together rather than sheet goods like plywood & sheetrock that only have air leaks at edges or holes cut into them. By the very way older homes were constructed..they leak. Grand old homes..but leaky.

Don��t worry about making the house too could caulk for a few years before getting to that stage.

Moldings, even today, cover gaps between floors and walls at the bottom of the wall, and ceiling moldings at the top of walls. (SO & I call moldings, bath vent covers & supply & return grills hole cover uppers. ITRW..out of sight out of mind.)

IF you are removing moldings..sealing behind the moldings is best.��s a pita to remove moldings, and old moldings break easily.

So rather than remove moldings, it is easier to caulk them.

If moldings are in several triple piece ceiling moldings, then caulking in between each piece of molding is necessary. Then the top of the molding is caulked to the ceiling, and the bottom of the molding to the wall. Always.. any cuts and all corners.

Floor moldings..same thing. Caulk individual pieces, then top of molding to the wall. However, something I��ve learned the hard way..caulking the bottom of the

molding to the floor creates another issue.

Caulk is an adhesive, and it dries but still stays pliable. That is the reason it is so good. It expands and contracts with the way the materials move.but it stays slightly tacky.

If you have pets indoors, their hair sticks to the caulk on the floor/wall area. At best it is difficult to clean. So if possible, remove lower portion of molding..esp if it is toe molding or ���� round. Fill the gap, caulk filler in place & replace the toe molding. Some areas will be a judgment call.

And always caulk cuts in corners. Ceiling, floor, door & window moldings.

Any area where different materials meet is potential for air leakage.

Keeping this in mind will help you to realize that there are areas while you are caulking that you will notice, that otherwise you would not have noticed.

There are indicators of air leaks also. Spiders build their webs where air moves.

Around plumbing penetrations under sinks, in window sills, at moldings at the ceiling.

Places that leak air that passes through porous materials..carpets & even insulation batts or blown insulation, will collect dust as the air moves thru the material. Dirty insulation hides a hole below it.

Carpet that is dirty around floor moldings hide that gap you saw in the room you removed carpet from. Dirty carpet under a door is lack of return air for forced air heating & cooling.

Look for clues for air leaks.

Just as you want to air seal the ceiling & floor moldings..the same things apply to window framing..aprons, sills and individual frame pieces.

I know you feel the air at the holes where the pulleys are, but there are air leaks that you won��t feel unless the house is depressurized. This happens ��sort of�� when the wind is strong.

As the wind blows against the feel where it enters. Some of the areas anyway. Homeowners usually tell me about windows and weather-stripping of doors..because that is where they think to check. Just as the wind is pushing air into the house on the side the wind is doing the opposite on the opposite side of the house from the wind. If it is blowing in on the north side

it is sucking out on the south side. If you were outside on the south side, you��d feel the air exiting the house.

so things to use to you start weatherizing, you'll probably get inventive..I have. and discovered some great products.

here are some of them.

Backer rods are great..and caulk finishes the seal. Backer rods are round foam ..rods..pieces that come in a roll in a bag. Usually in the weatherization section of HD & Lowe��s. Grey foam that comes in different widths. ���� ���� etc.

The great thing about them is if the backer rod is too big..cut it to size with scissors. Stuff it in the gap, caulk it on both sides of the hole you are sealing.

At $3.00 a can do a lot. In my house, in the winter I stuff it between the window sections. When the weather is nice (early spring..early fall) I take it

out and open the windows.��

If gaps are too big say over ���� use backer rods. After caulk 24+ hours go back and look to see that it didn��t dry & shrink. If you caulk too big of an area the caulk will shrink as it dries. that��s ok..just check your work and recaulk.

I caulk with a wet washcloth because I��m a finger finisher with caulk. Wet finger run it along caulked area, wipe off excess. Just remember to rinse the wash cloth often or you��ll leave a caulk sheen on the area you are working on.

always invest in caulks with a long life. 25, 35 & 50 year caulks are a good investment. My go to caulk is Dap brand Alex caulk. Water based, easy clean up, Crystal Clear. Goes on white, dries clear.

Personally I think the person who invents a matt finish caulk will be a millionaire.

As it is, caulk is shiny when it is dry. Start in an area where you can determine if you are ok with the caulk. Don��t use colored or white caulk unless you are absolutely sure they match. Alex is paintable..just so you know. Buying contractor cases are the best price in my area.

Some areas you can��t fit a caulk gun into. HVAC supply stores sell Thumb Gum. This is a rope caulking. This works well around plumbing penetrations under sinks.

If you are really getting into the caulk journey having pieces of foam sheathing, like ���� dow blue board or cornings pink board work for larger areas.

These are easy to cut into sizes you need tap into place & caulk to seal.

Different holes will require different sealing methods.

Great Stuff..hardly ever use it. No control over how it goes into place. As it dries, it shrinks. As it gets shrinks more. I think the only place I��ve used it recently was in a tree that the branch broke & a section rotted. Worked well there..after I caulked where it shrank to keep the water out of the tree trunk.

If you have an area where electricity or heat is rated caulk or foam..if you are so inclined. Fire rated caulks are higher cost and the caulk is orange..same with fire rated caulks. Never use foam boards or backer rod & regular caulks at these electrical or heating areas.

I use a lot of ductboard..another HVAC product. Like foam sheathing boards it is easy to cut with a razor knife. Sometimes in a tight spot you don��t have room to maneuver to cut sheetrock, so ductboard is a good alternate. Doesn��t burn, just itchy to work with.

I use a razor knife with extendable (break off pieces when it gets dull) blades.

There are always places that leak that you wouldn��t think of. For instance,in my house, the false boxing above the kitchen cabinets were a big leakage.

They installed the boxing before finishing the ceiling, so behind the boxing was just leaky t&g ceiling. While I took some of the cabinets down, the rest presented two problems. To seal the air leaks, I caulked the trim moldings

top & bottom, then the sections of the boxing before painting.

Then I blower door tested (again) and found that the leakage was inside the cabinets at the top of the cabinet where the false boxing met the cabinet top.

Thumb gum that I mentioned above doesn��t work well in long stretches. Gravity works against it.

So I used a product also from HVAC supply. Hardcast #1402 brand mastic tape.

This stuff is GREAT. I can��t say enough good things about it. If surfaces are clean and sticks to everything. Well except stone and concrete. Metal to wood

glass to is worth every penny of its somewhat expensive cost.

I pay about $21.00 a roll. 3�� feet long. Great for ductwork too.If you can't find it, shoot me an email & I'll give you the phone number of the place I order it.

I know we still have crawlspace & attic to deal with. But we will get to that too.

Its been a long mulching day for me. Three truckloads & still not done. Done for this weekend anyway!

Hope my rambling still got some information across.

Happy Vets weekend everyone.

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Thank you so much! My DH and I will be sitting down and going through this and tackling things!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Invest in a high quality caulk gun, with a smooth quick release. Try a mason's supply store, not a BigBox or neighborhood hardware store. Expect to pay $20-35 bucks for it. Maybe more by now, I bought mine 20 years ago and it's worked like a champ ever since. Take the time to keep it cleaned up between jobs - no letting little bits of caulk harden on its parts.

If you're new to caulking and fussed by it. Practice. Once you've got the hang of it, it's like riding a bike - you'll just know how to do it forever more.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:32PM
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sorry I haven't gotten back sooner, a bit under
the weather lately. (think I overdid it with the mulching)
can you post any attic pictures?
I'm still thinking over the basement pics...not something
we have here in La.

I'm the $6 caulk gun girl...always forget to turn the
thing & caulk keeps on comming with higher end caulk
guns. the one thing I look for is that the gun has
the sealant puncture..that would be the $4 gun.

different strokes and all that.
my SO likes the higher end caulk gun.
he just likes to spend more on tools than

and for insulating the attic...
would your budget include foam insulation?
air seal and insulate all in one step comes
with a price..but might would be a consideration.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Sorry, I went away for a couple of days for work. I took pictures up in the attic, just incase it helps, and will be getting them off the camera and online tonight :)

we got a not cheep caulk gun that actually stops when you let go and some other nice features but I have not given it a go yet. My plan was to get to the calking this weekend but we may have had a small house emergency come in the way. The ceiling in our bedroom is caving in... so we will see.

our plan for the attic is to eventually turn it into a finished space for a studio with foam and venting, but that was probably down the road from a $ standpoint. It seems like me our best bet is to wait and save up for that instead of doing some more short term solution, but mostly because I can't see a short term solution that is not also a lot of work. The energy audit guys wanted me to pretty much wall off the whole thing leaving a small room (without windows) for storage and blow in insulation to the rest.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:50PM
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in looking at your pictures of the basement...
see where the band joist/foundation wall that
rests on the stone/rubble walls?

that is one place to air seal that is worth the
time & effort to do so.
there are different approaches..

less expensive in materials but more time:
would be to caulk tops of joists to floor above
and bottom to rubble/stone below. caulk any cracks
or penetrations. install 1" or two layres of 1"
dow blue board (or corning pink board). use roofing
nails, button cap nails ..something with large head
to hold foam sheathing in place. use construction
adhesive to hold it tight to the wall.
caulk edges of foam sheathing to floor at top of
joist, and again at bottom of wall to stone wall.
do this in all areas of band joist.

more cost material..less time to install
would be froth pack of closed cell insulation.
this is diy.
tiger foam is what we have used a few times on
small jobs.
the site he is what I am calling
the band joist of your basement.

third option..most cost
would be to hire the foam sealing out.

in the floors large air leakage sites
would be any areas where pipes run into the house.
under tubs around piping for radiators.
plumbing accesses.
a mixtue of methods to seal these areas would be
pipe insulation around radiator pipes. cut to
fit around pipe & into hole in floor. caulked to
under tubs..usually a large area. depending on
where the tub is located..either metal flashing
cut to fit over hole & around pipe. caulked into
place & screwed to floor. then caulked around edges
of flashing to floor.

btw..the radiators you have are really attractive.
don't think I've seen such nice looking ones before.
of course..radiators are uncommon in this area.

I know you are dealing with the ceiling issue
right now. hope that goes well.
whatever you decide is the fix...seal any gaps
between new ceiling & walls of room before
reinstalling moldings. this will eliminate any
need to caulk moldings to walls & ceiling.

will give some more thought to attic later.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:36PM
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