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BASEMENT INSULATION - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW


Do you think basement insulation can help to make your space more inviting than it is now? The thing is basement insulation can make a big difference, but you must choose the correct insulation method. Within the building boundary, basements are a part of a home. Though over the years, repeated attempts were made to disconnect the basement from the living space. Hence, basements should be constructed dry and conditioned. A crawlspace and dry basement are less likely to have termites and pests. Whether you are using the basement as a living space or for storage, you need to keep it dry to avoid mold and dust mites. The most important thing is to keep the basement dry from groundwater and rainwater. You should apply some groundwater control strategies then insulate to minimize the cold surfaces that can condense water and increase humidity. Some of the most widely and commonly used insulation materials include-

  • Spray foam

  • Fiberglass

  •  Foam board

Why Do You Need to Insulate Your Basement?


In older houses, many times the basement is left un insulated. There are plenty of reasons for which you should insulate your basement. If you add insulation on the exterior of the basement walls, then it will decrease thermal bridging as well as reduce heat loss through the foundation. You can provide your basement with some protection against moisture intrusion as well as protect the damp-proof coating from damage during backfilling with the insulation. Besides, insulation will reduce the potential for condensation on surfaces in the basement. In addition, if you don't insulate the basement, then the air from the outside will get into the border beam, exposed walls, and basement ceiling. Understanding Basement Insulation Problems There are a lot of instances where we have seen many unfinished basements with wood-framed walls against the concrete. Also, the cavities of the framing filled with fiberglass insulation in direct contact with the concrete foundation walls. When this type of details occurs, then it leads to a severe mold problem and certainly a likely risk health concern for your family. Apparently, most people don't understand the microscopic composition of concrete and most times ignore the significant moisture levels present in the concrete. People often complain that the concrete is very dry, but the fact is all concrete has significant levels of moisture present in it. If you can see the concrete under the microscope, then you would be surprised to see how many small voids or pores exist in it. Actually, those pores contain a lot of water and the concrete acts like a sponge. So a person must assume that his concrete is wholly saturated and full of water to insulate his basement walls properly. Insulation Materials Are The Key To successfully insulate the basement walls, you have to select the materials that stop moisture movement and prevent mold growth. Generally, basements are the ideal location for foam type of insulation products, and cellulose is also another option. Here we will discuss the three most commonly used basement insulation materials. Basement Spray Foam Insulation In basement applications, spray foam can be one of the better performing products if it works out well. The foam is directly sprayed onto the concrete walls, and thus it ensures an even and total protection. Spray foam has a great R-value per inch, acts as a vapor barrier and air barrier. Perhaps, it is the best possible insulation material for basements and damp areas. Usually, closed-cell spray foam is ideal for catching the water vapor. Vapor inherently wants to migrate from your damp basement walls to your finished basement rooms. This material offers various benefits including excellent vapour barrier, easily covers pipes, additional structural stability, wires and other utilities. The whole procedure is also a bit messy. Pros

  • It doesn't retain water and also doesn't promote mold growth

  • The material creates an air seal which will keep the outside air from getting inside and eventually reducing drafts near your floorboards

  • Open-cell spray foam has sound dampening qualities that will keep the noise from your basement from getting into the rest of your house.

Cons

  • It is a more expensive solution when insulating the basement

  • Install the material appropriately. Otherwise, it can lead to air leakage; thus, it will give discomfort in future.

Basement Foam Board Insulation Another basement insulation method is foam board method. Primarily, this is the method most people use and that most DIY folks can handle. It is popular because it is quite a bit cheaper than spray foam and hence a great alternative. You will find a lot of foam boards product in the market. So, you should take ideas of different foam board types and R values. The effective use of foam board materials is choosing the correct thickness and sealing it properly to create an excellent vapour barrier. If you have decided to use foam board, then you will need 2 to 4 inches in thickness depending on your local energy code requirements. We recommend you should seal all the joints with Tyvek or similar house wrap tape. To seal all-around your utilities and also bottom of the foam board, you can also use "Great Stuff" spray foam. Pros

  • Several rigid foam board products are water-resistant and can help limit moisture buildup and mold growth

  • Some foam board materials don't need to be replaced or maintained over time, unlike other materials.

Cons

  • The joints between the sheets and boards need to be appropriately taped; otherwise, it won't prevent airflow

  • The foam boards need to be cut accurately to fit the area where it will be used. The air leakage could occur if the board is not cut correctly.

Basement Fibreglass Insulation This last method is familiar as a hybrid system of foam and fibreglass. The fibreglass insulation is the least expensive and still, it performs well on basements which don't have visual signs of water infiltration. You should not ever use this method if you have a history of water, even a small amount. You will be using a layer foam board and seal it like given above. After that, you will frame a wall (it could be steel or wood) in front of the foam board. Lastly, you will install fibreglass insulation in the cavities. Again, in this method, you will have to choose the proper R-value based on local energy codes. There is another thing that you can use is a vapour barrier over the fibreglass insulation in this method. But it really doesn't matter even if you don't use it. Pros

  • This method is inexpensive in compared to other basement insulation method

  • You can use fibreglass as a DIY project if you want to tackle refinishing the basement yourself right down to the insulation.

Cons

  •  Fibreglass holds condensation, and thus in the basement, it is prone to mold issues

  • If somehow the fibreglass is disturbed then it can release particulates into the air which can be inhaled and embed in the skin

  • This method doesn't prevent warm, humid interior air from making contact with the woods because fibreglass batts are air permeable

Is Basement Insulation Cost-Effective? If you live in a colder area, then installing basement-wall insulation will always save you money through lower energy bills. There is another important side benefit, and that is insulated walls are more susceptible to mold and condensation. As a result, insulated basements stay drier and smell better than insulated ones. Cost varies depending on the basements square footage and the insulation you choose. So, depending on the construction of a home, the most cost-effective ways to save money on heating bills is to insulate your uninsulated basement. Factors Affecting Basement Insulation Costs There are a few factors likely to affect the cost of basement insulation like any insulation job. These additional factors include- 1. Size of the basement: Spray foam, foam board, and fibreglass are all calculated per square feet. Therefore, the larger your basement, the more it is going to cost you. 2. Preparation: Preparation includes removal of any previously installed insulation or clearance of junk from the basement. Though you can save both money and time by cleaning your basement or removing old existing insulation by yourself. 3. Type of insulation: We discussed three types of insulation method and the cost of these will vary depending on the R-value provided by the insulation. Using any of the three kinds, the highest the R-value, the more it will cost you. 4. DIY or Pro: Obviously DIY is better but not always easy if you have never done this before. Although, there are certain aspects of the job which can be DIY, such as preparation of the basement like we mentioned above. Still, if you want to go truly DIY, then you can save some money. Do You Need A Contractor For Basement Insulation? Some homeowners try DIY to insulate their basement, but you will always need a professional for certain tasks. Then you have to think about hiring a contractor company to fix the insulation problem of your basement.  You will have to start the project from the beginning, and that’s why you might get frustrated because of the workload. Still, if you are confident enough that you can complete the insulation of your basement, then you should go for it.  To make your work easier and successful a little help from the professional is always great. We the BCRbasements company will help you to insulate your basement successfully and make your house better.

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