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Barndominium Frost Protection | Hitz Halter Insulation

We are going to be going through the process of installing frost protection insulation. We build most of our barndominiums on piers unless the client requests a continuous footing wall. In that case, we have to install frost protection insulation between the piers. Typically, we dig this in by hand, but it's been really dry, and I have to do it by myself. It's about 300 feet, so I rented a mini excavator. We dig all of this out with the mini excavator.

Barndominium frost protection

I was only about 5 minutes into the project when I realized that no matter what I do, this is going to be a tough job. The ground is so hard, so I'm going to try to dig as deep as I can with the excavator. I need to be careful not to hit the outer c-board. I'll probably have to dig the last few inches with a shovel to ensure I don’t hit it. Ideally, you should do this before building your structure. However, the problem with that is if it rains, the trenches fill up with water. So, you have to consider that.

I'm going to be honest with you. I've done this many times, and it still feels really overwhelming to me. So, what we have to do is take it one step at a time. Before you know it, you'll have it done. If you look at the whole project as one, you'll get overwhelmed. I got the first one dug in, and we're going to use a couple of cap nails to hold it up there. Then I'm going to backfill from both sides. Make sure you put a little backfill on both sides, so it butts up nicely to the insulation below the concrete.

Hitz Halter insulation

For the digging, I first went in with the excavator and then did the remaining digging by hand. I took a 2 x 4 and marked it with the depth I needed, so then I had a reference to use all the way around. I had one wall with the versetta stone all the way down. So I needed to do a bit more hand-digging on that wall. I tried to stay away from the side to avoid accidentally bumping the grade board. If I bump it, it could break. Once the insulation is nailed in, we take canned foam and fill in any gaps. It probably won't make a huge difference, but it's one of those details I like to do.

DIY frost protection and insullation

Typically, in the past, I've always had at least two other guys helping me, and we'd knock this out in a day without any issues. Doing this by yourself can be a bit more overwhelming. I rented a mini X excavator with a 17g and an 18-inch wide bucket. They only had tooth buckets, which I did need for some of the project, but I also wanted a smooth bucket to clean it out a little bit more. I was able to get it to the right depth but there's a curve where I couldn't get it due to the teeth. I have to dig that part out by hand. If you have a few guys, it's not a big deal. A mini excavator is a good option, but be careful and have someone with experience. You don't want to hit the walls. You could also leave your grade board off until this is done.

If you could get the whole structure up and leave the grade board off, you'd have 3 feet to work with. That would make it easier to dig out to the desired depth, install the insulation, and then backfill. But it depends on timing and weather. If you leave these trenches open and it rains, they'll fill up with water and the piles of dirt and gravel will be in your way. It's a bit tricky, and you have to figure out what works best for your situation. There's no perfect way. You just have to get it done.

We use Hits Halter insulation, which we'll use on the whole floor and install floor heating. If you're interested in this insulation, we have a specific video with more information. Hopefully, you learned something from this.

Thank you,

MR Post Frame

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