Saturday, September 12, 2009


My sister gets mad at my brother-in-law because he starts projects and doesn't finish them. I find it really hard to side with her on this - at home I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects. It's actually quite funny tho', because when it comes to work or something that I am doing for someone else, I have a Type A personality. I need to get things done, done fast and done right. I don't think many people have been disappointed in a task I've done for them.

At home it's a whole 'nother story. I'm very well known by my family and friends to take on all kinds of interesting projects which take a long time - if ever - to get done. And as much as I want all my projects to be done and I love the sense of pride when I have finished something, I just can't stop myself from procrastinating.

A case-in-point is my radiant floor heat project. When the furnace in my fixer-upper went into it's death throes, I wanted to try something different. I grew up with forced-air heating at my parent's house and I've had water baseboard heat at my last house. Neither was that fabulous at keeping me warm in the winter. I heard a lot of great things about radiant floor heat and I wanted to give that a go. With a lot of expertise help from my Uncle and a bit of muscle help from Randy, last winter we managed to get most of it installed and running (I still have one room left to go!). I really wanted to get it all insulated before this winter so that not only will my house be toasty, but I can really save on my oil bill. Well here it is September and... well let's just say I have a lot of insulating to do :)

Part of the problem was that I couldn't find a way that I liked to secure the insulation to the basement ceiling. 'Experts' say to use wire hangers or furring strips. I didn't like the furring strip idea - it would cost too much and, I don't know... I just didn't like that idea. I think with all the pipes and wires going on, it would be a trial in logistics to get them to work right. I tried using wire hangers, but that was the biggest pain ever. The wire I had came in a roll, so not only did I have to cut it to length, but I also had to straighten out each piece. Hundreds of these pieces would be needed, and the whole process was just awful. And then securing the wire to the joists was another matter - if they weren't stapled just right, they would slide around. I found that 1/4" staples worked well, but I had to be super-accurate with the staple gun to attach each piece. It took way too much time and way too many staples . It's stuff like this that makes me procrastinate.

Fortunately I came up with a new plan and tried it out today - and it worked marvelously! Don't you just love it when that happens?

I tried using polypropylene strapping. I got a good deal on some on the internet and it finally arrived. This stuff is a dream to work with! I got more done this afternoon than I did in days messing around with the wire. A pair of scissors and my trusty staple gun with 1/2" staples was all I needed. It looks really good and I'm very happy. It will be interesting to see how it holds up. I don't have to worry about rust and the stretch is supposed to be minimal with polypropylene. Plus, if for some reason I ever need to get under the insulation, the strapping will be really easy to remove and replace.

It was hard to get good pictures, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what's going on....

The above picture shows the ceiling of my basement. You can see the aluminum plates attached. Under them is the PEX tubing that carry the hot water from a water heater throughout the floors of the house.

Here you can see that I am putting a sheet of aluminum reflective material between the insulation and the aluminum plating. I want all that heat to reflect UP!

And here you see the finished product. The thin black stripes you see are the pieces of strapping material. In the picture it looks like the insulation is sagging, but that's just the angle - the straps are actually quite tight and the insulation is flush with the joists... it looks great!

I am really excited to see if I can get the whole basement done before the cold weather hits. But for now, I need to do some baking - tomorrow is Grandparent's Day and we are going to make a big deal out of it for my Mom :)

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