Insulation a critical factor in converting garage

Cut Your Utility Bills

April 06, 1996|By James Dulley

My son and I plan to convert our garage into a fourth bedroom. It will need to be insulated, heated and totally finished with paneling.

Please give me some tips on making it efficient.

The type and quality of the insulation job is most critical to the efficiency of your remodeled garage.

Window selection and the type of heating system are also important considerations.

If you have ever seen signs of moisture in your garage, you should apply a waterproof coating to the walls.

In fact, it is always a good idea to waterproof masonry, block or brick walls anyway.

If you are familiar with hanging drywall, consider it instead of paneling.

Using drywall allows installation of thinner, high R-value rigid foam insulation to save floor space. Most building codes require rigid foam insulation to be covered with 1/2 -inch thick drywall for fire safety.

Rigid foam insulation sheets are easy to install. First, nail or glue furring strips either horizontally or vertically on 16-inch centers.

Install short perpendicular strips between them on 24-inch centers. Lay the foam insulation in between them and nail the drywall to the furring strips.

Using paneling requires 2-by-4 framing to provide space for fiberglass batt insulation. Special high-density batts faced with a vapor barrier are most effective and easy to install.

For a better moisture seal, staple plastic vapor barrier film over insulated framing before covering with the paneling.

As a rule of thumb, about ten 4-by-8 sheets of paneling are needed for a room with a 40-foot perimeter.

For each standard-size door, deduct one half panel. For each standard-size window, deduct one quarter panel.

If a small garage conversion is made very efficient, your existing heating and cooling system should be able to handle it.

Do-it-yourself add-a-duct kits with flexible ducting are available. The dampers in all the room ducts will have to be readjusted to balance the heated and cooled air flows.

Attach this kit to the duct from an adjacent room. Installing a new suspended ceiling is usually easiest and gives the most finished appearance.

This also makes running the add-a-duct simpler and provides room for more insulation.

Install good quality low-e, argon gas-filled windows.

If you open windows for natural ventilation, select a casement style. Opened casements catch even mild breezes, yet provide the most airtight seal when closed.

Write for Utility Bills Update No. 709 showing do-it-yourself instructions and diagrams for installing insulation, paneling and a suspended ceiling, and manufacturers of add-a-duct kits, high-density batt insulation, and a required materials chart.

Please include $2 and a self-addressed envelope. Mail to: James Dulley, The Baltimore Sun, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.

I built an air-type solar collector myself. Does it make sense to attach it to the exposed foundation and brick wall near the ground?

As long as the solar collector is not shaded by trees or adjacent buildings, a ground location is great.

This allows you to clean it often and provides easy access for the ductwork or electric blowers. A large vertical collector, mounted against a wall, works well with no blowers.

Make sure it is attached snugly to the masonry foundation and wall.

These will act as heat sinks to capture some of the heat that is normally lost out the back of a collector.

Steel sleeve anchors are the best method to attach the collector.

With a percussion bit, drill the hole, the same size as the anchor, into the concrete.

Pub Date: 4/06/96

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