Here's a question for you that doesn't involve any of IMM's infinite wisdom
on heat loss through attic space! How do I insulate my ground floor better
without spending a fortune? In my main room, which also goes through to the
kitchen (via an arch and round a corner - but it's still essentially the
same room), there are two double rads under the bay window (I guess someone
didn't want to pay for a curved one at the time!) and one small single rad
near the dinning table. Apart from that there is a double rad in the hall
at the bottom of the stairs. I can't really put any more in as there isn't
free wall space!
The kitchen is a problem though. It has no heating of it's own and appears
to have very little insulation. The brickwork under the kitchen sink looks
very messy (mortar messily slopped everywhere). Should there be something
on the inside of it to insulate rather than bare brick? I can feel cold air
blowing around when I open the ground level cupboards! It's also quite damp
feeling in there so I'm not sure whether completely sealing it up is a good
idea. The entire kitchen is an extension onto the back of the house, so
it's not to the same standard as the rest of the building (1930's ... back
when thing's were built solidly!). I do have another problem with the UPVC
rear doors - one of them doesn't press up against the seal fully when closed
and the air can effectively blow straight through from the outside. That
needs to be fixed by getting the door re-hung :(
Amnd heat gain! It keeps the upper rooms cool. Take heed of my wisdon.
Firstly see if damp is there. If so get it sorted. Get it airtight too.
Then try a Myson Kickspace kitchen heater whch runs off the CH system, that
goes in the kickspace of the kitchen units.
Dimplex do them too - they fit in the plinth part of the floorstanding
cupboards (beneath the doors). They're basically fan heaters. There's an
all-electric one (possibly cheaper installation costs but higher running
cost) or an electric fan operated hot-water fed one that connects to the
central heating system.
No idea about cost though.
Not sure what to look for to qualify if it's damp or not - everything kind
of is in this weather if it's not fully insulated indoors. The heater thing
makes me a little nervous - sounds like a good idea from the point of view
of the issue at hand, but also sounds like a bit of a fire hazard.
I saw an add a while back for some spray-on white stuff that was meant for
the inside of your roof tiles in the attic to insulate it if you didn't have
a lined roof. Would that kind of thing be a good idea here?
It would have been nice, but didn't happen. You don't say what
type of property, but on an older one, the kitchen was typically in a
rear extension and has a large outside wall area which is normally
solid brick two deep or sometimes even single brick. Considering
tha age, it's probably double but will still leak heat considerably.
50mm of Celotex or even as little as 25mm would make a substantial
It's important to find the cause of the damp. WIth this age of house
there should be a DPC and it should be functional. A very common
problem is that the ground level outside gets built up with paths etc.
and bridges it. The solution is to dig the area down, or even just
make a trench about 25cm wide next to the house and fill it with
gravel. It could be penetrating damp due to faulty bricks or gutters
etc. Look out for those. In a kitchen it could be a leaking waste
pipe or other plumbing. At any rate, do fix this first.
If you look on the Celotex web site, there are application notes on
how to add insulation to a solid wall using pressure treated timber
battens and an air gap behind the sheet. Then you would plasterboard
Celotex and Kingspan will cost you ฃ15-18 for a 2440x1220 sheet but
this also includes a vapour barrier, which you need anyway. Also,
this material has a very good insulating factor so you get a good
result with minimum depth.
That certainly won't help and does need to be fixed.
It's hard to tell as I can only see on my hands & knees with a torch, but it
looks to me like single brick. The house is your typical London 1930's end
terrace, but the extension that is the kitchen was probably added in the
last 30 years (wild guess!).
How does one normally attach that? Drill through onto the brickwork?
There is a DPC around the outside - this separates the house from the patio,
which is about 1 foot higher than the grass (which slopes away down the
garden). The reason I state that is that is should give good drainage. We
did have a blocked drain about a year ago (we're at the top of 6 houses ..
the block in that case was 3 houses down, but we land up with the smell of
sh*t!!), but everything seems to be flowing as it should now. The cold
water tap in the garden is outside the kitchen window and that certainly
pours straight down on the DPC, as the drain is about 6 inches to the left
of it, but then I haven't really used it in the last few months!
When I say it's damp, it feels like an attic when it's cold and wet. Might
be normal, I don't know :(
Ahh ... that answers one of my previous queries ... however that also makes
me think that to do this I'd have to remove all the kitchen units along that
wall, along with the sink and dishwasher :o((
I did think of looking at it myself, but I don't see how I'd be able to fix
it when it's not wood. Anyway, I'm no master carpenter when its come to
hanging doors in the past!! Could this mean I'd have to get a new door or
is there reasonable scope to adjust such things?
If it was in the last 30 years then I would be surprised if it were
single brick, but more likely an uninsulated cavity.
If you have that, then the game changes because you could get the
cavity filled with insulation, which would be a lot less trouble.
If it's single brick, then I would think rather older, unless it's a
bodge job and building control weren't involved.
Do check though, because if there is a cavity then that is the thing
Take a look at their web site. The essence is to make a wooden frame
with space behind and fit the sheet into the frame. Then
plasterboard on top. The Celotex can be friction fitted into the
frame and then there is a metallised tape which you use to cover the
edges and seams. The idea is to prevent room air from reaching the
cold outside wall.
It could simply be that the weather at the moment is cold and damp.
In a kitchen you are going to get condensation on the walls from
cooking because they are a cold surface. This is going to encourage
a certain amount of mildew, which even if it doesn't show up as black
spots will produce a dampish smell.
You could go around them, and take the backs out of the kitchen units
and put some insulation at the bak of them. It would be a bit of a
bodge, though, and you would be better off doing it properly. The
problem is that any cold areas that you leave would be like moisture
magnets and you would get condensation problems still.
Moving the kitchen units etc forward would not be that horrendous a
job. You could re-use pretty much everything apart from the tiles.
The construction of this type of door varies a bit, and they fit in
non-obvious ways. There usually are adjustments, but they may not be
obvious Is any latching/locking mechanism loose or anything? That
will cause a door not to seal properly.
I'll have to have a closer look tomorrow. I'll try measuring from a facing
wall and projecting out to the window to see how thick it is.
It's only a mild smell and I can't see any growth. May just be normal for
the time of the year.
The second door (the one that won't seal) is the one that's normally locked
in place. The bottom lock goes into the hole, but the top one barely
reaches and thus flaps about in the breeze! It's like it's dropped down a
half inch or so. If it were higher, I think the bolt would pull it into
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