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Basement Wall Insulation Options

Heating and HVAC
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Keeping one’s basement warm in winter can be a challenge, especially for homes in cooler climates. Insulating basement walls in cold climates is an excellent way to save on monthly energy bills, as it causes the heater to not work as hard to keep one’s home warm during winter months. In addition, basement wall insulation is an excellent way to keep the entire home free of excess moisture and mold growth. There are several options for proper basement wall insulation, including horizontal and vertical installation.

Preparation

Before installing basement wall insulation, make sure to check the exterior drainage to make sure excess moisture is draining properly. In addition, it is a good idea to have a professional inspect the basement for dampness, as insulation can exacerbate this problem. During this process, have the contractor check for any leaks that could raise moisture levels in the basement. It is important to get rid of any unwanted dampness before installing wall insulation.

Best Insulation Materials

Basement walls should be insulated with materials not sensitive to water. This prevents warm interior air from coming into contact with cold basement surfaces, which can cause condensation and excess moisture. The areas in greatest danger of this are rim joist areas, which remain cold throughout the year. To prevent this, it is necessary to install insulation materials as airtight as possible.

Described below are a few popular insulation materials for basement walls:

  • Fiberglass batts: the least expensive means of insulating basement walls is with fiberglass batts. This process is best done by a professional, and some contractors prefer to use a vapor seal against the cement wall to prevent excess moisture from soaking into the batt.
  • Rigid foam: this type of insulation is glued to the wall and includes wood strapping slots, to which the drywall attaches. Rigid foam is typically not affected by moisture; however mold can grow behind it if it is not sealed properly.
  • Spray foam: this foam is sprayed between the studs in the wall and expands into all pores and crevices, which seals the wall. The R value for spray foam is very high, and it effectively stops water from entering the basement.

Because up to 25 percent of heat is lost through poorly insulated basements, it is essential to properly insulate one’s basement. Doing so not only makes the basement a more comfortable living space, but also enables homeowners to save on energy bills. Basement wall insulation may require an initial investment, but lowered electricity costs will prove its value over time.

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