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February 14, 2018
No one likes stepping out of bed in the morning, only for their feet to hit an ice-cold floor; yet that is exactly what many Mainers experience all winter long. Some flooring materials such as tile and marble naturally feel cool on bare feet. You know you have a problem on your hands, however, when your floors become especially cold, or when cold-resistant flooring materials like wood begin to feel chilly. If you have chronically cold floors, now’s the time to resolve the issue once and for all.
Common Causes of Cold Floors
Floors on the first story of a home tend to be the coldest. The reason: they are situated directly above the basement or crawl space. Many basements and crawl spaces have poor, if any, insulation, making them unbearably cold in the wintertime.
Air Leaks & Drafts
Poor insulation isn’t the only cause of cold floors; air leaks and drafts could also be the blame. Hot air tends to rise in the home, and that creates a vacuum or stack effect which pulls cold outdoor air inside. Cold air enters through tiny leaks in the home’s exterior, especially down low around house foundations, basement windows, and sill plates.
Solutions for a More Comfortable Home
Sometimes the first step to warming up your floors is keeping surrounding moisture from leaking into your basement or crawlspace, which creates damp conditions and poor indoor air quality. Encapsulation dramatically reduces moisture in the basement by installing an airtight vapor barrier along the floors and walls. You may also choose to pour a new concrete slab if you have plans to convert your basement into a living area in the future. Encapsulation will keep the outdoor elements from infiltrating your basement, making your home healthier and more comfortable overall. Encapsulation can also be done on crawl spaces.
In many instances, basement insulation is likely the most important step. Insulating the foundation walls will keep the outside cold from lowering temperatures in your basement or crawlspace. A warmer basement or crawl space means warmer floors — it’s as simple as that!
Air sealing will not only eliminate air leaks but also increase the effectiveness of your insulation. You may be tempted to focus on air sealing only the basement or first floor, but don’t forget to address air leaks on the upper floors and in the attic as well. Whole-home air sealing is essential if you truly want to eliminate drafts, control air flow, and stop the stack effect in your home.
Stop Putting Up with Cold Floors
Tired of having to wear your slippers everywhere you step in your home? At Evergreen Home Performance, our specialty is making homes feel comfortable, no matter the time of year. Whether you live in Rockland or south of Portland, our experts will diagnose your home and design a solution that will put an end to your cold floors. It all starts with a free consult!