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Cold Room, Part 2
Posted March 29, 2004 at 11:07:25 PM by Bean in the Beer category

Took a half day Friday and headed to Home Depot at noon.  I would have preferred Lowes, but HD is on the way home.  My buddy Steve met me there to help me round up materials:

  • 4 - 4x8 sheets of 1/4" plywood
  • 3 - 4x8 sheets of 1/2" Foamular rigid foam board (extruded polystyrene, r-3)
  • 3 - 4x8 sheets of 2" Foamular rigid foam board (extruded polystyrene, r-10)
  • 2 - Rolls (80 linear feet each) of paper-backed fiberglass insulation (r-13)
  • 10 - tubes of Liquid Nails (For Foamboard type)
  • 2 - Cans of Great Stuff expanding spray foam
  • 1 - 10' 2x4 (treated)
  • 2 - 10' 2x4s (untreated)
  • 8 - 8' 2x4s (untreated)
  • 2 - Rolls of 4mil vapor barrier (25x10 each)

The total, after my 10% off coupon, was about $240.  I think they forgot to charge me for the plywood, though.  Steve and I loaded up my truck and headed home.  We took everything into the basement and set up a few saw horses.  I gathered the tools we'd need:

  • Battery powered drill
  • Hacksaw blade
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun

I snapped a few pictures (here, here, and here) of the empty canvas.  We decided to split the warm and cold sides of the closet along the 4th stud from the right.  We'd need easy access to the small warm room, so we removed a stud and put a temporary header in place (I later added a 2x10).

Now, the insulation.

We ripped down the drywall that ran along the stairwell ceiling and filled the space with rolls of r-13 fiberglass insulation.  We stapled them in place and then covered them with vapor barrier and 1/4" plywood.  We then glued 1/2" foamboard to the plywood and secured it with a few screws.  I'll remove the screws in a day or so to reduce the heat-leak along the highly conductive metal.  Approximate r-value of the ceiling: 15.

The back wall that butts up to the exterior wall of the house was next.  It already had some rigid foam board outside the house studs and r-13 rolls in between.  We ripped down the existing vapor barrier and put up a new one.  We ran the new one back along the studs to allow for more fiberglass rolls in the cavity since there were a second set of studs framed for th estairs.  I wanted the vapor barrier as close to the "hot" side of the wall as possible, to reduce the chance of condensation getting into all of the fiberglass and degrading/roting it.  Material on the inside of the vapor barrier will stay dry via the dehumidifier that will be inside the cold room (more on this later).  Before we hung anything nrigid, we wanted to go ahead and frame the divider.

We took measurements and created a simple wall with a hole cut out to fit my air conditioner.  We made the hole about 1" bigger in each dimention to allow us to move things around easily, run cords, pull out the AC, etc.  We also put a small ledge on the back to help support the weight of the AC unit.  After putting the wall in place, we secured it to the existing studs and set the AC unit in to make sure everything looked right.

It looked fine, so we began to insulate the dividing wall and back wall.  Inside the cavity left by the vapor barrier on the back wall, we hung more r-13 fiberglass insulation.  We also stuffed the divider wall with fiberglass and some 2" rigid foam board along the top.  We then covered both walls with 1/4" plywood to provide something to mount the upcoming foamboard to.  Here's a shot of the back plywood up and Steve making some measurements for the next cut.

We glued 2" fomaboard to the divider wall cold side.  I'll be puting a vapor barrier on the hot side once that room is finished.  On the back wall, we only used 1/2" foam, since there was alread quite a bit of insulation in place.  In both cases, we used a few screws to hold the foam in place wile the Liquid Nails set up.  In the end, th eapproximated r-value of the back wall (from cold room to house exterior) was 30 and the divider wall was r-20.

Once we had had everything secured on these walls, we filled the imperfections (gaps) with Great Stuff.  Here's a shot of the AC sitting in the finished divider wall.

Coming soon - Part 3: wiring (and more insulation, of course).

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