How to Insulate a Basement Ceiling

  • 3-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-400
What You'll Need
Staple Gun
Face Mask
Safety Goggles
Utility Knife
Tape Measure
Spray Foam Insulation (optional)

When it comes to a quick and easy way to lower your monthly utility bills, look no further than your basement ceiling. If it is not insulated, there is no better time than now to do so. Insulating your basement ceiling can drastically cut utility bills, as well as give you a warmer surface to walk on. You will also find the basement to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. For anyone who knows how to work a staple gun, this is a project you can do yourself if you follow these steps.

Step 1 - Select the Insulation

The type of insulation you should use depends on the purpose of the space being insulated. If it is an unfinished basement in North America that you wish to insulate, then an R-value of 12 or higher is recommended. R-value is the insulation's ability to resist heat flow.

For basement ceilings, batt or blanket insulation is the insulation of choice. As for material, faced formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation is the safest for your home, health, and the environment. Insulation can be purchased at your local home improvement retailer.

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Step 2 - Measure the Area and Prepare the Insulation

Before handling fiberglass insulation, you will need to put on your gloves, face mask, and goggles. It is best to wear protective clothing as well as; many people complain of itching after touching fiberglass insulation.

Measure the distance between each ceiling joist. If the ceiling is broken-up by wires or pipes, measure around those areas with the intention of leaving them exposed. Measure an equal amount of insulation and make a straight cut using a utility knife.

With the faced side (the side with the paper) touching the ceiling and the open side facing you, securely staple the insulation into place by applying staples every 3-inches. It is extremely important to lay the insulation with the proper side facing up. If you fail to do so, moisture will become trapped in the insulation. It will become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and putrid smells that you can only eliminate by completely replacing the insulation. Continue until all areas have been insulated.

Step 3 - Take Care of Pipes and Wires

Wedge the insulation between the ceiling and the pipes. Do the same around wires. If that is not possible, apply spray foam insulation on and around the wiring and pipes. Take care to not cover the wiring and piping to the point where accessing them will be impossible. You don't want to have to insulate all over again after you do some minor pipe or electrical work.

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Now reap the benefits of using less energy, having lower utility bills, and enjoying warmer feet in the winter when walking barefoot on the exposed flooring of the lower level of your home.

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