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Author Topic: Shack insulation  (Read 3779 times)

Posts: 720


« on: December 28, 2004, 09:47:35 AM »

We recently moved and now my shack is a 6x10 ft corner room in a walk-out basement...2 nice dry painted concrete walls, 2 particleboard walls, and concrete floor (I've got carpet over that).  The problem is the concrete block of them is completely exposed on the outside, and the other has about 2 feet of exposure (the rest being below grade).

Last night it was a whopping 47 degrees F in my shack.  The concrete block has so much thermal mass, all the heat emitted by a heater goes to heat the block.  I'm going to put in insulation, but don't want to build the walls out too much--3 1/2 inches of stud and another 1/2 of drywall will take a sizeable chunk out of the room...maybe to the point my desk won't fit.

Has anybody tried that reflective insulation with the two layers of bubbles sheathed in aluminum foil?  Lowe's sells it (Reflectix is the brand name), and I was just wondering if someone had tried it.  Better or worse than fiberglass?  I've read a lot about it on the internet and it seems like most pages pushing it have the tone of snake-oil salesmen.  Does it really work?

(Of course, anything would help at this stage...I can't get on the radio at all because it's too #$@% cold.)

Thanks in advance.

Posts: 2008

« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 12:30:56 PM »

Your best bet is to talk to an insulation contractor. He will know what will and won't work in your situation.



Posts: 1819

« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2004, 02:52:00 PM »

Go with the studs and normal insulation - it works!  Otherwise, check the R value of any of the other insulation materials you're looking at and compare that to the R value of the fiberglass behind studs (don't forget to add the R value of the wallboard).  The real answer to your problem, of course, is a large amplifier!  It's amazing how much heat a pair of tube filaments can generate.  Here's another option that I've used in the distant past when faced with a similar problem: old blankets or moving pads hanging from the floor joists against the walls.

Here's a list of common material R values from our power company website:

Insulating Material Avg. R-Value Per Inch
Batts or Blankets
Mineral fiber (rock, slag or glass)  3.25
Loose Fill Mineral fiber (rock, slag or glass) 2.2
Cellulose (milled paper and wood pulp) 3.4
Vermiculite, exfoliated  2.13
Perlite, expanded  2.7
Rigid Board and Slabs  
Expanded polystyrene, extruded (cut-cell surface) and molded bead-type  4.0
Expanded polystyrene, extruded (smooth-cell surface)
Expanded polyurethane, refrigerant 31 exp.
Building Board Sheathing, regular density  2.64

Posts: 1006

« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2005, 03:41:42 PM »

 Check this link for Thermax Insulation:

 This is a fairly new rigid insulating system that uses brackets to hold the rigid insulating "board" to the wall and probably to keep it away from the concrete to allow for any condensation.

 73, Chris


Posts: 74

« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2005, 03:31:53 PM »

Might want to try a radiant heater instead of a space heater.  Radiant heaters (you can get 'em at Wal-Mart or Lowes/Home Depot) heat just you, not the room or the items in it.  I use one in my bedroom (w/radio room side room) when it's just me here (when it's just me at home for a couple of days, I turn the house thermostat down to 60 degrees) and it works great.  Much cheaper to use elec. radiant heat than heat the whole (unoccupied) house with oil.  Anyhow, you may find that a radiant heater does just fine, and you won't be wasting $$$ trying to heat the concrete walls.  That said, also do the insulation.


Posts: 173

« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2005, 11:44:12 AM »

I have had a similar situation.  I installed 2" thick hard foam - without the aluminum, and spaced it about 1/4" from the concrete.  I glued one inch wide, 1/4" thick hardboard to the back of the foam - about every two feet.  I just rested the foam on the floor, and used long skinny nails to tack it into the "plate" (2 X 6) atop the foundation walls, for a quick and removable job.  This was in Saskatchewan, about 10 years ago.  I raised my shack temperature about 12 degrees F by doing this.  I later installed a raise floor, by laying 2 X 2 strips on the concrete floor every 16", putting in what little bit of fiberglass would fit, then laying OSP (OSX?) sub-floor material on top of it.  I only used a few nails on the OCX, again so it was removable.  This action further increased the shack temp another 5-8 degrees F.



Posts: 66

« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2005, 02:14:57 PM »

This was 30 years ago, but worked very well then in a basement "rec room" in NW Missouri.  Technology has probably advanced since then.

We used 1x2 boards on 16" centers, secured to the concrete walls with "Liquid Nails" paneling glue.  This included a header and footer board.

Between the 1x2" boards we put 1" thick (actually slightly thin - they matched the lumber) styrofoam sheets.  IIRC, these were about R4, and came to match the lumber - just over 15" wide by 4' long.  They fit snug between the 1x2's and two would reach floor to ceiling (with some left over, the basement wasn't full height).

Over this, we glued/nailed pre-finished paneling (as well as on the partition walls separating the room from the rest of the basement.

I'm sure similar systems are still available (and probably improved).  Vapor barriers and total R value will vary by application - for that ask your insulation contractor or someone at your insulation supplier or home store.


Posts: 2

« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2005, 11:14:55 AM »

first paint and seal the walls with UGL or kiltz primer with a mold inhibitor, the 1/2" foil covered polystrene 4x8 sheets are recommened for your type of walls,put the insulation up then secure them with construction grade 1x4's, you can then use 1/2" sheet rock. total space used will be 1 1/2" thick....

Posts: 720


« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2005, 09:07:39 AM »

Well, construction is complete.

I went with the double-layer aluminum sheathed bubble wrap as an experiment.  It was very easy to work mess whatsoever.  The hardest part of the whole project turned out to be the drywalling.

The walls were painted with DryLock already so I put up a grid of 1x2 inch furring strips using a ramset gun.  Over top of this I stapled up the insulation and taped the seams.  Over top of this I screwed another grid of furring strips and then topped it off with sheetrock.  Total R-value is about R-7 in about 2 1/2 inches with a 100% vapor barrier and insulation that's impervious to moisture--I never have to worry about wet insulation mildewing behind the drywall.  Plus, I now have a shack in an aluminum lined box...don't know if that helps or not in the RF department.

The temperature change has been drastic.  The room maintains its temperature much better and is easier to heat.  Total installed cost was about $175 for about 125 sq. ft. of wallspace.

I may eventually end up doing the floor as well.

Posts: 29

« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2005, 02:03:36 PM »

If you just want a cheap way of insulating the walls without any real construction efforts try this. Go to a carpet store and get a piece to fit your walls from floor to ceiling (ask for end of the roll peice). Probably cost you about $50. If you want a bit more "insulation" get some underlay as well. Just tack it up nice an neat looking. It will keep your shack warmer and will deaden sound like you won't believe. By the way it should only use about 1" of space.
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