Porch converted to bathroom, very c-c-cold

Discussion in 'Insulation and Radiant Barriers' started by Magalee, Oct 21, 2018.

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  1. Oct 21, 2018 #1

    Magalee

    Magalee

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    We have a 1920s 4-square house. In the 40s, a small back porch was converted to a 1st floor bathroom, and wow, is it cold in winter! Below the bathroom is a crawl space with fiberglass insulation, and above it are the stairs to the attic, also insulated.

    The original porch’s 2 outer walls have square brick columns that support the second floor; the two inner walls are brick, so it’s pretty uncomfortable once all that brick gets cold!

    There are two layers of inner walls over all this brick, the first from the 40s, the second from a remodel in the 90s, so the walls are 10-12 inches thick in some areas. There’s a drop ceiling, so I can see the brick, columns, and two layers of walls. The exterior of the house has siding between the brick columns, but not over them.

    What’s the best way to fix this cold bathroom? We have a light/vent/heater combo in the ceiling and a small plug in on the floor. There’s no floor space for baseboard heat. (The rest of the house has hot water radiators.)

    Would covering the brick columns with insulation and siding on the exterior fix this? We plan to gut this bathroom soon and it would be great to have an idea how to fix it.

    Thanks for reading
     
  2. Oct 21, 2018 #2

    nealtw

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    The best if you have room is to build 2x4 walls in front of masonry and insulate that.
    perhaps you could heat the floor
    upload_2018-10-20_20-51-11.jpeg
     
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  3. Oct 21, 2018 #3

    Snoonyb

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    Welcome.

    I don't think insulating the columns will help, because brick in a structure is considered a thermal mass and reradiates accumulated thermal properties.

    There are 2 distinct types of heat-a-vent-a-light fixtures. One has a heat coil and a fan that drives the heat and will eventually heat the space. The other is heat lamp/s which only serve to warm objects, like yourself, not the space.
     
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  4. Oct 21, 2018 #4

    Magalee

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    Thanks for respond nealtw. I neglected to mention that the 1990s renovation walls are 2x4s with insulation, and while it was an improvement over the 1940s renovation, it’s still pretty cold (this was my parents’ home so I remember. It was like going outside to pee!!) I am liking your heat the floor idea! Can you heat the floor underneath the shower stall too? It’s a very small room with very little floor space. Right now there’s a vanity sink taking up a lot of the floor, so a pedestal sink would give us some more floor space to heat. Thanks!
     
  5. Oct 21, 2018 #5

    Magalee

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    Hi Snoonyb and thanks for responding. The brick certainly is a thermal mass!! Make the bathroom hot in summer and cold in winter. The heater in the ceiling is the kind with a heat coil and fan, so it does heat the area, but we can’t leave it on all the time, only while we’re in there.

    I remember liking those heat lamps from when I was a kid, felt like I was getting a suntan! Haven’t seen those lately but I guess they’re still around.

    The door to this bathroom obviously use to be the back door, and I can see from inside the drop ceiling that it had a transom window. Walls were built over it on both the bathroom side and kitchen side. Do you think restoring the transom would let some heat in from the kitchen in the winter?

    It’s such a weird layout to have the bathroom off the kitchen but there’s nothing I can do about that!

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  6. Oct 21, 2018 #6

    Snoonyb

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    Restoring the transom would help, given the comfort heating system you have and running the water will warm the shower floor. However, with the transom open you will probably have some unpleasant air exchanges into the kitchen, or visa-versa, depending upon you culinary abilities.

    Could be there was a reason that two working doorways were required between bathrooms and living spaces.
     
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  7. Oct 21, 2018 #7

    Magalee

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    Yes, I know what you are saying! I’m wondering if we can somehow tap into the radiator system, maybe run pipes through the walls to help heat the room since there’s no room for a radiator?
     
  8. Oct 21, 2018 #8

    Snoonyb

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    That question would be better posed to the CO. that services your system.
     
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  9. Oct 21, 2018 #9

    nealtw

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    This guy shows the difference on the right and wrong way to do the heat. It is a hot water system so if you hare using steam, it might not fit.
    If when you remodel you can put electric under the tile too.
     
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  10. Oct 21, 2018 #10

    Magalee

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    Great! Thanks:)
     
  11. Oct 21, 2018 #11

    mabloodhound

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    With your existing hot water heating system you could add either baseboard or a panel heat that attaches to the wall. But I think that when you do your remodel the underfloor will be your best option. And yes, you can run it under the sower floor too.
     
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  12. Oct 21, 2018 #12

    bud16415

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    First off welcome to the forum.


    You are getting a lot of great advice here and I think the ideas will help solve the problem that was started about 75 years ago. With a second attempt about 25 years ago.


    We don’t know your budget or the condition of the bathroom after the last 25 years of usage.


    If the bath is ready for another makeover it might also be the time to take it back to where it was in the beginning and do it this time with all modern materials and practices. Sounds like you have 8-10” space in the wall cavities and more above and below. Wit that amount of space you should be able to make a tight warm space needing little new heat.


    The other think would be if you wanted and it was possible to return that porch to a porch and figure a new location / new construction for a bath room in a better location.
     
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  13. Oct 22, 2018 #13

    Magalee

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    Hi nealtw, I’m liking this system and I’ve even found it can be used in walls and the water can be higher temp than is safe on floor, thereby making the room warmer. Thanks for the info!
     
  14. Oct 22, 2018 #14

    Magalee

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    Thanks for responding mabloodhound, I’ll check on the panel you mentioned. It’s a very small floor area and no room for baseboard, at least right now. Eeach of the four walls is occupied with either a door, shower, vanity or toilet, so good to know we can heat under shower with floor heat. I’m kinda leaning towards putting A system in the walls because the crawl space underneath doesn’t have good access (and is gross!!). I’ve read on another site to only do the first four feet of wall so no one accidentally puts a nail through it while hanging a picture.
     
  15. Oct 22, 2018 #15

    Magalee

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    Hi bud16415, thank you for the welcome! We (and when I say we I mean my husband lol) are just finishing our upstairs bathroom, which my husband gutted to studs. I’m going to have to let him have a break before we tackle the second bathroom!

    We plan to get back to the brick and also restore a window that was closed off during the second redo of this bathroom. I love this old house for some crazy reason! I wish we could return it to a porch, there’s just no where else to put the bathroom on the first floor and can’t afford to add on. Thanks for your response.
     
  16. Oct 22, 2018 #16

    nealtw

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    With proper insulation, I doubt you would need more that the floor. If the floor structure is good now, you could have the floor done now and see how it works.
     
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  17. Oct 23, 2018 #17

    slownsteady

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    If you can see so much of the old structure by looking above the drop ceiling, then maybe that is the place to add insulation.
     
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  18. Oct 23, 2018 #18

    vinny186

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