Inside Foam Job cont’d

6 02 2011

When we decided to foam the basement walls, we had to make a decision about whether to put in a perimeter drain. Liane’s basement is generally fairly dry (except when there’s a plumbing leak). But in this era of climate change, extreme weather, and biblical floods–even in Somerville–we decided that the responsible thing was indeed to install a perimeter drain. We would connect it to the foundation walls by means of a drainage mat which could send any moisture coming through the walls–down along the perimeter drain. A pump in a sump at the low end of the basement could pump any accumulated water out if necessary (whatever its source). So that’s what we did.

The diamond blade that cut along the perimeter of the basement

Diamond saw marks

A little (actually a lot) of drilling

Abi putting up the Cedar Breather, which actually worked as a more affordable approach to a drainage mat.

Rick and Abi with the Cedar Breather--and note that the electrical panel has been moved inward temporarily

Laying out the filter fabric wrapped, perimeter drain line which was installed deeper than what is shown here. Btw, the foundation walls are fieldstone with brick above.

Concrete covering the perimeter drain. Yes, we had to go around the Pheonix because of the switch in how to deal with the basement.

We did decide to cover the basement windows and to later foam over them. Liane only uses her basement for storage and the building systems. If she wants to have windows in her basement at a later time, they can always be cut out through the rigid and the spray foam from the outside.

and there's the sump...

No, we haven’t seen any closed cell foam in the basement yet–but it’s coming in the next post. Just wanted to let you know what we needed to do before we could foam. Dealing with moisture is probably one of the most important things in any retrofit–deep or not.





Inside Foam Job–the Attic

6 02 2011

In all fairness to the foaming guys, the HVAC fellows took a while, so the inside foaming also took a while to get started.  We had to get the HRV supply runs done in the attic for the 3rd floor apartment, before we could foam the rafters.

Foaming guy for the open cell spray foam at the attic and dormer rafters

HRV return run exhausting from the 3rd floor bathroom (supply runs are at the furthest ends, for good air mixing)


After foam job in attic--buckets were to protect vents yet to be connected

Interior view of air bypass where sidewalls meet rafters

Yes, had we been a bit better coordinated, we would have sequenced the cellulose between the attic joists after the spray foam at the rafters.  As it was, we just did the best we could from the exterior, as shown in the previous post.

Openings at roof sheathing 'before'

Another thing we would have done, and can still do, is to acoustically seal the ducts venting through the attic to the outside. Right now the big one (where a number of vents are gathered) acts like a trumpet, and Liane can hear music heralding community events such as 5K races–through her stove hood!

‘Trumpet’ inadvertently created by the venting