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Insulating Exterior House Foundation

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Is there a cheap/temporary way to insulate an exterior stone foundation? It's a 110 year old house, it has cold floors and drafts! We will be insulating the house in the future but for right now we need to keep out the cold. Our house temp is currently 17'C and dropping, the room temp is 21'C. The outside temp is -28'C with the wind chill. Our winters can drop to -45'C with wind chill! We need help now!

The windows were upgraded in the past 5 years and I have noticed no drafts around them. I've stuffed towels/rags in the drafty spots I could fit them into and have rolled towels at the doors.

I was thinking of wrapping some foam board or rigid foam insulation around the STONE foundation outside but I don't know how to adhere it temporarily. Then piling the snow around it ("banking" the foundation)? I have no idea what this would cost and don't have a lot of money right now. I know they used to bank these old houses with straw bales in the winter but that's just not an option for us. Please help if you can. Thanks!

Thing2of2 from Manitoba, Canada

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Recent Answers

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By shawn [1]12/09/2009

Your thoughts about using hay bales isn't a bad idea.Even garbage bags full of leaves might be a good idea stacked against your outside foundation wall.But the best method in keeping your house warm is to insulate your basement walls.Just make sure your basement walls don't leak from the outside in.Spray foam insulation is a fairly new method to insulate residential homes.Having an old foundation like yours it might be advantageous to spray foam your joist ends and walls to completely seal your drafty joist ends.
PS.small world
I'm from MB. Too!

By denise (Guest Post)12/08/2008

What about using big bags of leaves? Then in the spring put the leaves in the compost.

By Connie Vowles [3]11/28/2008

Insulating the outside might be a problem because of the vapor barrier issue. Banking snow around might be a problem in the spring when it melts. That could be a lot of moisture right at the foundation or could be a problem with the freeze and thaw issue as well. Sorry I can't help. Just pointing out some possible problems to look into.

By lesley [1]11/25/2008

Good Morning Manitoba......

This is pioneer insulation. It works and it is inexpensive.

Hay bales (rectangular ones). They have very good insulation value (straw bale houses are incredibly well insulated).

Set the bales all around the foundation, butted up against each other. If you feel the need, set another row on top. They will not shift, as they are too heavy. Once you have had a good snow, you are set for the winter.

This will work for you, and you should see and feel a huge difference in the warmth of your home.

Good Luck, and Stay Warm out there in Gods Country!

From Me in Ontario

By Sherry [1]11/24/2008

When my double wide was set up several years ago it was set on concrete block foundation BUT they forgot the fact that there was a wooden porch on half of the front! We didn't think much about it until the pipes froze the first winter. We got foam board and installed it the crawl space just behind the porch. This is still in place and served well. We did later fill in the cracks between the porch floor boards with a caulk and have had no problems since. (We also keep a light under the house trained on the needle valve of the pressure tank for use in extremely frigid weather.) If you have room enough to get in the crawl space and do this (and if $$ allow you to do this to a space of this size) it should solve a lot of your problem. The foam board could be put up temporarily and then used again when you do get around to permanently insulating your home. If this is not an option, could you get a roll of plastic and wrap it around the foundation? This would have to be sealed rather well to keep the winds from tearing at it.
Hope this helps. :-)

By Eeyore1950 (Guest Post)11/24/2008

Wow. That is cold! There was a man I know here in Washington State that used to use hay bales against his bathroom wall to keep the pipes from freezing. Not sure if it would help with your foundation or not.
Also, I used to live in an apartment that kept a light bulb burning in the crawlspace so the pipes wouldn't freeze in the winter. I wish you all the best and hope you get some excellent tips soon!

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