Options for Insulating Your Basement


?During the winter does your main floor feel cool? Do you often find yourself turning up the thermostat to keep your home comfortable? The cause of your problem could be just below your feet in your uninsulated basement.

According to the US Department of Energy, you could be losing as much as 30% of the heat in your home through an uninsulated basement. When it comes to insulating your basement, there are three proven methods, which are insulating the ceiling, insulating the exterior of your foundation walls, and insulating the interior of your basement walls.??

Insulating the Basement Ceiling

Insulating the basement ceiling is by far the easiest, quickest way to insulate your basement. Simply install fiberglass bats between the floor and ceiling joists in the basement. Since floor joists are commonly 16-inches on center and made from 10-inch lumber, you can install up to 10-inches of fiberglass insulation (approximately R-30) between the joists. Fiberglass bats can be cut to length and then pressure fitted between the joists to provide insulation on the underside of your main floor, keep it warm and comfortable.

The downside to this method is primarily the cost. Covering the entire floor with 10-inches of insulation can be pricey; furthermore, by insulating the basement ceiling, you are effectively eliminating potential development of your basement space in future.

Insulating the Exterior Foundation Walls

Insulating the exterior foundation walls is a highly effective way to insulate your basement; however, it's usually done when a home is under construction. It becomes a major project in an existing home, since it is time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive.

Insulating your basement exterior requires digging a trench around your foundation, applying rigid glass fiber or polystyrene boards directly to the walls, and carefully back filling the excavation.

Once the job is complete, you will not only have a warmer basement, but your basement will also be much drier and healthier since the exterior insulation blocks moisture intrusion through the walls of the foundation.

?Insulating the Interior Walls

Insulating the interior walls is by far the most popular way of insulating a basement because it is a job any confident do-it-yourself homeowner can tackle. It’s relatively inexpensive and allows for future development of the basement space for a home office, bedrooms, or even a media room.

Insulating the interior basement walls involves building stud walls (wood or metal) around the exterior of the basement, installing insulation either between the studs or directly on top of them, and covering the insulation with a plastic vapor barrier and drywall.

When insulating the interior basement walls, it's important there is no moisture getting into the basement. You must install proper drainage around the perimeter of your home if the insulating method is to work well.