A common home design for Midwest single family homes is a room over a garage. This maximizes living space, but creates an uncomfortable room if not insulated with special considerations. Homeowners call Green Attic to solve this problem. Here are the three most common.
Common Problems With Bonus Rooms Over Garages
Drafty Bonus Room
During the winter, when the rooms over a garage are heated, they can be drafty around the baseboards and trim in winter because the heat is escaping to the attic and the lost air pressure from heat rising creates a sucking effect from the garage to replace lost heat above.
This cold air intake is often mistaken for “ drafty windows”, and is not to be confused with cold air coming into the room from the window trim. Cold air comes into the window trim and baseboards, as shown in this photo using a flir thermal imager to identify air leaks.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose on the garage ceiling to reduce air pockets in the garage ceiling / bedroom floor by air leakage reduction using high powered cellulose dense packed to capacity between framing.
Difficult To Cool Bonus Room
During the summer when rooms over the garage are cooled by air conditioning, they can’t cool down enough, because the cooler air is being siphoned down into the garage through gaps in the pressure barrier of the room over the garage.
Reverse Stack Effect. This air conditioning is being leaked at the bottom of the room through seams, while heat from the attic is coming down to the drywall of the room over the garage making the room impossible to cool to the desired temperature.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose on the attic floor over the bedroom ceiling to significantly shield the drywall from heat.
Bonus Rooms Are Noisier
Rooms over the garage are louder. A bedroom over the garage is more likely to absorb sound from the garage door opener system and garage door, so if one family member leaves the house earlier, they make the occupant in the room over the garage door. Noise and vibration are much too noticeable. Smoke, fumes, and noise are common complaints to occupants above the garage ceiling.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose for sound vibration absorption and noise reduction.
Green Attic Solution : Bonus Rooms Over The Garage Need More Insulation
The solution to reducing drafts in the winter and shielding against heat in the summer is a well insulated attic. Boosting R-Value with cellulose insulation in the attic protects in both seasons. Attics are where insulation pays off the most.
Once the attic has been air sealed and insulated properly, the room over the garage will be much more comfortable. The final step is to insulate the bedroom floor from the garage side.
Holes are drilled into the drywall of the garage ceiling and a hose is inserted into the gap to fill the stud cavity to maximum capacity with loose fill blown in cellulose insulation.
Pro Tip: Ventilation is crucial to the summer attic heat, check to make sure your power fan is still working. If the attic is not pulling fresh air from the intake to replace the hot attic air out and away from the living space, it will be difficult to rely entirely on the R-value of insulation, particularly loose fill fiberglass insulation, which performs poorly as a heat barrier in the summer. Make sure there is a power fan to move air through the attic, either solar or electrically powered. This room being built over the garage will need special consideration for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. Cold outdoor air is drawn into the bedroom over the garage through seams, gaps and cracks in the framing connecting the two spaces. One is conditioned, one is neutral ( unconditioned).
The insulation installers will staple netting to the garage ceiling before drywall, or drill holes in the drywall to fill the garage ceiling with cellulose insulation.
Once the studs are filled to capacity, the holes are patched, sanded and ready to be painted. The room over the garage has been insulated thereby reducing heat escape in the winter through the cold floor, and cool air escaping to the garage ceiling in the summer. There are several types of insulation used to insulation the garage. In retrofitting homes around Chicago, cellulose insulation densely packed between the garage ceiling and the bedroom over the garage floor makes the most sense. Some insulation is flammable and must be covered with at least ½ inch of gypsum wallboard for fire protection. So, keeping the drywall in place and filling the stud cavities with cellulose is the perfect solution.
Do you need helping keeping your Chicago bonus room hot or cold? Contact Green Attic today to get a free estimate.