Considering that basement walls account for up to 25% of heat loss, you realize how important basement wall insulation really is. Whether your basement will be transformed into a recreation room or used for storage, it is vitally important that it is properly insulated to make your entire living space comfortable and energy efficient. Here are some tips that will help you ensure that your basement will not suck the heat from your home.
Check Local Codes
Before planning and buying materials for your basement insulation, check with a local house inspector or your building codes office to determine if you will require any special materials or techniques to install your basement insulation. Some codes require that insulation in basements be covered by a wall for fire safety. Determine the laws to get the right information about what type of insulation you need.
Adjusting for Climate
If you are insulating a cold climate basement, install a vapor barrier on the heated side or within the insulation. If you live in a warm climate, doing so may not be necessary, although in some areas it may be suggested to use a vapor barrier on the outside surface. Check your local codes for mandates and recommendations regarding vapor barriers before you begin your project.
Fiberglass Batting for Insulating Tight Places
Exposed joists in basements need to be insulated. Use fiberglass insulation to fill these holes where the wall and the floor meet. Snugly place the fiberglass batting here, but not wrap it so tightly that it is compressed. Wear a face mask, gloves, and long-sleeved protective clothing when working with fiberglass.
Use Different Types and Densities of Insulation
Either use higher density insulation in places where more cold or hot air will enter, such as exterior walls and cathedral ceilings. There are 4 main kinds of insulation all of which are available in various densities:
- Rolls, Batts and Blankets - A flexible insulation specifically useful for wall studs and floor and attic joists.
- Loose Fill Insulation - Comes in the form of loose fibers or pellets, installed using special pneumatic equipment.
- Rigid Foam Insulation - Very effective in places with space limitations, though it is also more expensive.
- Foam-in-Place Insulation - Also installed by blowing it into the walls, very effective in cracks around door and window frames.
Plan accordingly and use different types and densities to complete the insulation in your basement.
Recessed Lighting and Insulation Compatibility
A large amount of heat can be lost through recessed lighting fixtures. Be very careful to place insulation at the recommended spacing to avoid a fire hazard. Insulation suitable for contact with lighting will be marked IC for direct contact with insulation.
Wear Proper Protective Clothing
Be very careful to follow all manufacturers’ and product warnings regarding wearing protective clothing while installing your basement’s insulation.
Use these tips to successfully plan and install insulation in your basement so that you will not only feel more comfortable in your home, but also experience a great cost savings for just a little investment of your time and money.