Friday, April 9, 2010

Construction update #35

There's a lot to be said for doing a job the hard way: 1) you figure out at least two ways to get a job done, 2) you get to enjoy the experience much longer than most people do, 3) you get more exercise and burn more calories, 4) you get a lot more time to contemplate the necessity of doing the job, 5) you aren't nearly as tempted to brag about how efficiently you completed the job, and the list goes on. When we poured the floor for the barn, (since we eventually hope to heat that floor) we put rigid foam insulation under the concrete to reduce the amount of heat that would go into the earth beneath it. At the time, I didn't think there was much need to insulate the sides of the floor. I've changed my mind.

It may shock you to know that I have not yet calculated how much heat would be lost through the block foundation around the floor. I don't need that calculation to know that it would almost kill me to see snow melting around the foundation knowing that I was paying for that kind of wastefulness. So instead of spending an hour and putting insulation on the inside of the foundation walls before the floor was poured, I get to spend days insulating the outside of the foundation.

The first step is to remove the dirt around the foundation. In our case, the foundation is only two blocks deep, so I didn't have to dig down very far. It was necessary to scrape the dirt off the blocks and brush it clean when dry so the adhesive would stick to the blocks.

I cut some sheets of 1.5" rigid foam insulation so they covered most of the block, but were easy enough to manage in the ditches. I had bent some aluminum cladding sheet into a drip edge that fits over the insulation and under the siding since the insulation is thicker than the siding. The metal curlicues on the left are the result of a little field modification to the drip edge. Construction adhesive held the insulation in place on the foundation, where I hope it will remain until I backfill the ditches.

Eventually the insulation will be coated so it lasts longer in the elements, but I'll have to show that in another post since I don't have all the insulation installed yet.

This is how the project looked from the roof of the house on Wednesday evening. Stay tuned for more updates soon!


  1. "It may shock you to know that I have not yet calculated how much heat would be lost through the block foundation around the floor."

    Actually I am shocked... but just a little bit;-)

    And that is one fine looking building, I must say. Have you all decided what paint treatment you prefer for the doors? I think you should do the solid white, then add a bit of trim with a wreath or something cute on the doors:-D Cuz, I know you have been just dying for my input on that issue, right?


  2. Now here's an interesting post!!!

    So.... If you don't mind me asking, what are you planning to use it for that would require a heated floor?

  3. Diane -- thanks for the compliment. I've been hoping to do a "door comparison" post, but I need to add the handles to the second door before I do. Although our family has all but decided what they want to do with the doors, I'm curious to see what the blog world thinks.

    Emil -- thanks for the compliment. "Require" is a big word. There's really nothing that requires a heated floor, but the car would be more comfortable, and experience less thermal stress in the winter if it was nestled in a cozy garage. An additional advantage would be a comfortable working area for car maintenance or repairs in the winter.

  4. We are impressed with your insulation installation abilities. (Say that three times fast!) We also believe a heated floor would be important should you ever decide to change the oil in your car in your socks! :) Also we want to commend you on your efforts to give us a great view of the project! Not many people are brave enough to stand on the roof! :)

  5. I think you have a great looking barn. Having once lived in Wisconsin, I can certainly appreciate a warm barn!