Insulation between 1st and 2nd floor?

tetwin11August 27, 2012

We recently moved into a cape cod style home in NH. It was built with a finished 1st floor, and unfinished 2nd floor, so they insulated the 1st floor ceiling. When the 2nd floor was finished, the insulation was not removed. I'm thinking that having this insulation between 1st and 2nd floors will cause the 2nd floor to be cold come winter time. Now (in the summer) the 2nd floor is much hotter than the 1st. I'm thinking this might be because of that insulation as well. Any thoughts on whether I should remove it, or keep it there?

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I'd spend the resources on balancing the heating and cooling rather than ripping up the floors or ceilings. If the heating and cooling are working well, the insulation between upstairs and downstairs should be meaningless for temperature. If there are just a few degrees difference between up and down, the insulation is functionless from a heat transfer standpoint because heat transfer is very slow when the gradient is shallow.

Keep in mind that the insulation might be making the house much quieter as well by muffling the footsteps on the upper level floor.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Lived it and loved it, with young children in the house an insulated ceiling/floor was a godsend.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:27PM
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If there happens to be an air leak between the floors, insulation will slow it down and keep the desired temp.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:07PM
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If the second floor is properly insulated -- walls and ceilings -- then the presence of the insulation between the two floors is a non-issue. If the second floor is not properly insulated -- or isn't insulated to the same level as what's between the floors -- then you need to deal with the inadequate insulation. In no case is it necessary to remove what's between the floors. Presuming the insulation is adequate, you have an imbalance in the air flow between the two floors: not enough heating and cooling air is getting to the second floor.

You have properly diagnosed the existence of a problem, but the treatment is something other than removing the insulation between the floors.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Your second floor is likely too hot now because of inadequate insulation between it's ceiling and the roof and you're getting a lot of radiant penetration. It's really difficult to get R-40 in a Cape without doing spray in foam. That should have been done as a standard part of the second floor conversion if the conversion is recent. If the conversion isn't recent, then it's likely underinsulated for modern standards and would be well worth the time and money to retrofit it to modern standards. It will be much more comfortable to live it, although the payback costs will be fairly long term. But, spending extra on insulation so you won't have to wear a parka to bed this winter or worry about pipes bursting pretty much is a no brainer.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Keep the insulation, and get to the real heart of the problem.

Technically, between-floor insulation should be rockwool which is more of a fire/noise insulator, but I've seen the regular stuff used frequently.

Unless you use underfloor heat, heat transmission through the floor is very inefficient, and you have other issues causing the imbalance, as mentioned.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 3:46PM
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