Learn How to Insulate Your Basement

Learn About Basement Insulation Solutions For Your Home

Basements vary by condition. For example, some basements include conditioned, semi-conditioned or unconditioned spaces. Plus, conditioned basements vary as well. Some basements include intentionally heated or cooled rooms. Conversely, other basements include insulation on the foundation walls surrounding the space (without any insulation between the basement and the house above). Additionally, semi-conditioned basements are unintentionally heated or cooled. Frequently, these basements contain no insulation on the walls or floor. Finally, unconditioned basements include insulation in the floor above the basement without a positive heating or cooling supply to the basement space.

Regardless of your basement type, these spaces need insulation in the above floor or in the foundation walls enclosing the basement space. For example, insulating basements reduces energy use all year. Plus, basement insulation improves your home comfort throughout the year. Finally, basement insulation requires no maintenance and, if installed properly, works for a very long time. However, for most types of basement insulation to perform properly, it is critical for all moisture sources and moisture problems to be addressed in the basement space first and then the insulation installed only after moisture issues have been mitigated.

Proper Basement Insulation

Insulation performance in basements (or anywhere in your home) when measured by R-value - its ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulating capacity. GreenHomes recommends R-38 insulation in floors over unconditioned basements (or insulation sufficient to fill the framing cavity) or R-20 minimum in conditioned basement walls. For insulation to minimize the flow of heat loss, it must be installed:

  • Dry and away from moisture sources – Most insulations don’t insulate nearly as well when installed in contact with moisture sources. In basements or crawl spaces, ensure the surfaces that require insulation remain dry and free from moisture contamination.
  • Continuously with no gaps – Ensure all insulation installation occurs without any gaps, voids or spaces (and remains 100% continuous).
  • To the proper thickness – Compressing insulation decreases insulation ability and performance. Always install insulation means meeting the proper thickness thresholds set by the r-values.
  • With NO air flowing through itAir movement through insulation reduces the insulating capability. Air sealing basements before insulating stops air movement through the insulation.
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