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How to Build Frost Walls

I recently moved into the basement of a house and was faced with cold living conditions. The thermal properties of this house were really bad (the house was dated back to 1940's) I knew I had to install some frost walls to heat up the basement and provide some insulation through out the house.

After I finished this job I thought I would write a tutorial on building and installing them. When I did a search for information on this topic I came across a lot of contradicting methods so I thought I would clarify some of these common misconceptions with a highly detailed tutorial.

What is a Frost Wall?

Most basements are brick or cement that is not insulated. Frost walls are walls that have no structural integrity but offer great insulation value to your home

Materials Needed

  • vapor barrier plastic
  • insulation
  • 2x4's or 2x3's (2x3's are a bit cheaper)
  • tap cons(concrete screws)
  • a box of 2 1/2" #8 screws
  • tuck tape
  • staples
  • sealer paint
  • >brick fixer (mortar or a type any type of concrete patch)

Tools Needed

  • paintbrush
  • stapler
  • drill with concrete drill bit>
  • saw (hand saw or circular saw)
Wall Preparation

If your basement foundation was built with cinder blocks you'll have to patch any gaps in the mortar with brick filler. If you have poured walls you'll just have to use crack sealer on any cracks in the foundation.

Seal the wall with paint sealer, this is a special type of paint found at your local hardware store, this paint will prevent moisture from coming in.

Scrape any flaky surfaces off the brick and start painting(it doesn't have to look fabulous its eventually going to be covered by a wall. While the paint is drying you can start building the wall, or clean up and start fresh the next day

Building the Wall

When constructing your wall you will have a top plate and a bottom plate with the studs running vertical.

Time to Measure

Measure your wall from both sides for the height and width (I have yet to come across a house with square walls to work off of). remember to account for the top and bottom plate when marking your vertical studs for cutting. Top plate will be 1.5 inches and bottom plate will be 1.5 inches for a total of 3 inches subtracted from the height of the room. Your top and bottom plate will be cut to whatever horizontal measurement you made. Your studs should be spaced every 16 inches. So with a bit of math I'm sure you can figure out how many vertical studs you will have to cut.

Cut you 2x4's or 2x3's which ever you used, and be careful using power tools, safety should always be taken in high regard.

You will need a lot of space for assembling your wall so make sure the room is empty that you are working in, its a lot easier. Screw your walls together. If you find your screws aren't going in very easily or are splitting the wood, then try drilling pilot holes for the screws.

Mounting the Wall into Place

Provided your measurements are correct, the wall should fit. Leave a 3/4 of an inch space between the brick and your 2x4's. This can be done by placing tiny bits of 3/4" wood behind the wall when you are drilling in your tap cons. (this is to allow air to breath behind the wall).

Insulating

Your insulation will fit nice between the studs with minimal cutting. Try to crown the insulation away from the concrete wall

Vapor Barrier

This is the most common mistake made when building frost walls. The vapor barrier goes on the inside of the wall NOT the side that faces the brick. Install the vapor barrier by staling it to the studs and cut off any access around the edges.

Tuck Tape

This tape is almost like packing tape. It is to be put over the staples in the wall to reseal the holes in the plastic from the staples.

Now you have finished the tutorial on building a frost wall. You will most likely want to drywall over top of the plastic but I will save dry walling for a future tutorial.

Now thanks to installing your house insulation, you will notice a significant saving on your heating bill this winter. I hope this tutorial was of use to you and would like to wish you good luck on these and any other future home renovations you may do.

Suggested Reading
Landscaping Landscaping Your Home
There are lots of advantages for proper landscaping around the home, some of these include preventing foundation leaks, improving thermal properties of your home, increasing the value of your property and improving the look of your house.
Blackouts Prepare Yourself for Energy Blackouts
Prepare yourself for energy blackouts as we experienced in the summer of 2004 in Ontario and surrounding Provinces and United States.

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