Exterior Wall + Insulation


Live in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.
Was there a time (20 or so years ago), when it was normal not to isnulate an exterior wall? Or use poor insulation (our electrical closet in the basement has a little bit of foam board against the wall. I don't know if this is indicative of the rest of the home though. I am planning on poking a hole in the wall).
Living in a Condo (row home, side walls adjoin to neighbors home, front and back are exterior) where the bedroom wall seems to get extremely cold depending on the temperature outside. At one time we've even seen what appeared to be frost building up on the wall. (however, no mold has been seen).
The other bit I'm wondering about is this was 2 bedrooms at one time, and the dividing wall was removed to develop a grand master bedroom. The floors were hardwood, and are now carpeted with french doors. (very nice looking, I must say)
The doors meet snuggly to the carpet, and I'm wondering since there is no return air vent would this prevent sufficient air flow to keep the room warm enough to prevent "cold wall syndrom".
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Justin,
If this is a one or two-story wood frame condo/town house built in the early to mid '80s, any exterior walls should be insulated to at least R12; in the case of 2 x 6 frame construction, it's more likely to be R19 or R20.
For exterior brick and cinder block construction, I would still expect a minimum of R12.
It's been many years since I've looked at the Ontario Building Code, but I'm reasonably sure these numbers are correct.
Cheers, Paul

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Twenty years ago, the 1980's they probably would have been insulating outside walls in most areas. That was after the big energy crisis of the 70's and most areas were writing codes that required some level of insulation. If you place is older, perhaps built in the 1960's or before, than it is entirely likely that it has no insulation in the walls. Before poking holes in the wall, try pulling off a couple outlet covers and see what you can see around them or perhaps thru a hole in the back of the box.
What you describe with the tight fitting door and no air return could very well lead to condensation build up on the exterior walls, even if they were insulated. Keep in mind that condensation forms when moist warmer air comes in contact with a cooler surface. Try leaving the door open a crack, ensure that all vents in the room are open and clear of all furniture or anything that might restrict the air flow. If you thermostat has a 'fan' setting, you might leave it set to 'on' to help circulate the air even when the heat is not on.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.