Author Topic: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)  (Read 704 times)

pasadenafr

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Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« on: January 28, 2022, 01:57:48 PM »
Let's start by saying that I rent my house, so anything I do should be absolutely non-destructive and easy :) Yes, if that doesn't work, I'll ask my landlord but I'm guessing this could get a little expensive, so I'd rather try first.

Also warning, I'm in the US but English is not my first language, and handywork isn't my best skill, so I don't know a lot of the right terminology.

So my kitchen is freaking cold. There's a big draft coming from under/behind the cabinets. The whole house was remodeled 3 years ago, but since it's a rental, they didn't exactly take good care of doing things well.

Today I removed the under-sink cabinet's back to check what was going on (it's the only one that is removable. All other cabinets have their own, real backing, This one is just a few planks of cardboard nailed together. I will aso have to pull out the dishwasher). There's a big-ish space between the cabinets and the exterior wall, due to the shape of the house.

There's a couple hoses going in the wall creating gaps - I can fill those up with spray foam, no problem.

But the worst of the draft is coming from the floor. It's just a couple of planks above the crawlspace, and there's a big gap between them. See pics. My question is, what would you use to fill that up or cover it and stop the draft? What material?

(Next step would be to get into the crawlspace to see if I can plug the gaps from there, but it's going to be tough since it's not a full basement).

I obviously don't care what it looks like.

OR, should I just give up and call my landlord? For those of you who are LL, would you care enough to do something if one of your tenants called you for that kind of things?






« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 02:16:11 PM by pasadenafr »

Sibley

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2022, 07:58:38 PM »
To be honest, if you were my tenant I'd probably want to kick you out. You took apart a cabinet and are talking about uninstalling the dishwasher. You rent, you don't own.

However, since you apparently don't seem to care about that risk, get some spray foam, fill the gaps with it, get a piece of hard foam insulation and put it down. It'll help a bit, won't be destructive, and won't be noticed by your landlord. I don't recommend removing the dishwasher though, if you cause a leak you will be liable.  No, it's not actually the 100% correct way to handle this, but that would likely involve removing all the cabinets.

If you happen to have a landlord who is more amenable to you doing stuff, then you need to talk with them FIRST. As for whether or not your landlord is going to be willing to do anything about this if you ask, that's highly dependent on the landlord. Look at the unit as a whole. If it's minimally cared for, not a chance.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2022, 08:43:27 PM »
Yeah, if nothing sits directly on top of this spot, then fitting a sheet of rigid foam insulation as thick as you can get will be the easiest. It can be cut with basic tools to fit that area. It does a great job at stopping air movement. And it has a decent R value per inch of thickness. I'd look for the blue or pink XPS type at a local hardware store. Not sure I'd even bother with spray foam between the cracks as that's more work, and is much more of a permanent modification than just cutting out a foam board and setting it on the floor.

sonofsven

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2022, 11:00:24 PM »
You could use the same spray foam to fill that gap in the floor boards. Go easy as it has a tendency to really expand
If you wanted to go in the crawl space you could stuff some unfaced insulation batts under there, too.

pasadenafr

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2022, 08:21:13 AM »
To be honest, if you were my tenant I'd probably want to kick you out. You took apart a cabinet and are talking about uninstalling the dishwasher. You rent, you don't own.

OK, i get that. I wasn't clear - I did NOT take apart a cabinet, the backing on this one is removable (I knew that because a guy came to fix the disposal unit a while back and removed it to access the plug)).

As for the dishwasher, you're right and I didn't touch it. I thought it would be easy to pull out but it's attached to the countertop, and I realized I might cause a leak.

I ended up foam spraying the holes in the wall that I could get to, putting down a piece of hard foam on the floor and some removable foam tape along the edges of the toe kick (on the kitchen side).

Kitchen was a whole 3 degrees warmer this morning.

nereo

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2022, 10:07:18 AM »

OR, should I just give up and call my landlord? For those of you who are LL, would you care enough to do something if one of your tenants called you for that kind of things?


Sounds like youv’e done the easy and easily-removable things.
If you wish to go further I strongly urge you to contact your landlord, as you are already getting into a sticky situation with regards to what you are legally permitted and liable to do.

It’s hard to be 100% certain based on your description, but the “correct” way of going about this is most likely going to be from underneath in the crawl-space, and encapsulation is typically the best option. If your landlord doesn’t want to go the complete encapsulation route, there are a few other options, including spray-foam.  But that is NOT something any renter should do - it’s up to the landlord

If you want to make it a more palatable option for your landlord, check out your state’s energy efficiency options.  Many offer substantial rebates on insulating rental units.  There are also incentives for low-income housing. S/he might be more receptive if you do the legwork to find out what can be paid for by someone else.

But really, I would not go further than you already have (and I’ll DIY almost anything) without permission.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Stopping drafts behind kitchen cupboards (floor)
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2022, 10:17:09 AM »
Looks to me like you could just caulk that gap in the subfloor boards, caulk the gap between the sheetrock and the floor, caulk the pipe penetrations, and be done.

I don't like spray foam because it doesn't always create an airtight seal and can be messy.

You'll have to vacuum first regardless. Probably a lot of mold spores back there if moist air is blowing in from under the house.

I wouldn't involve the landlord because there's near-zero chance of damaging anything and all the landlord is likely to do is obstruct you from having a warm house.

 

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