The types of insulation for basement walls would determine how comfortable, happy, and confident the occupants of the house would be. Poor quality insulation can be a hazard and may jeopardize the future of a building. It is well said that “he that play the piper detects the tune,” this is to say that your house can become a place of comfort, relaxation, a weather-friendly place, and anything good you can think of if the right type of insulation is used on the basement wall.
However, specific amounts of money are required for the best type of insulation on your basement wall.
Nevertheless, house owners should always ensure that they get this right to avoid things that touch the heart and regrets at the end of the matter. It is better to get your house insulated with the best type of insulation and then get it right the first time.
Furthermore, house owners should always ensure that they get professional builders and engineers to supervise the basement wall insulation and the foundation of their house because this is an integral part of the building that determines the future of the house. Even if you intend to do it yourself, ensure that a professional sees what you did to avoid making mistakes that will cost you a fortune in the future.
Types of Insulation Suitable for Basement Walls
There are different types of insulation for basement walls, and all of them have their challenges, strengths, and weaknesses, but most of them are good. If you get your house insulated with a suitable type of basement insulation, you will worry less because they are good. There are also lots of materials used for each insulation process; this makes them look and work differently from each other.
The following are types of insulations for basement walls:
1. Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation has been considered the best type of insulation suitable for basement walls. This is due to some of the functions and features it gives to the basement walls, which other insulations don’t give, such as protecting the outside air from coming into the house.
Spray foam insulation is the best choice of insulation to choose for those who prefer to get their basement walls insulation finishing done by them with their family members’ assistance.
With the help of spray foam insulation, you will be able to install the foams together with the spray cans, just as the name implies. You are always advised to always wear a face mask while doing this kind of insulation work to protect you and your workers from being choked or affected by the strong chemicals used during the process.
There are various advantages and disadvantages of having this type of insulation in your house, and they include:
Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation
- Prevents noise from coming into the house and keeps the house at peace.
- Do not accumulate water and mold.
- Prevents outside moisture from gaining entrance to the house.
Disadvantages of Spray Foam Insulation
- Air leakage
- Discomfort issues
- Causes danger if materials are not well fixed
2. Bubble foil/ Fiberglass Insulation
One thing about fiberglass insulation for basement walls is that its material is easier to get from a nearby hardware store, and it is easy to roll out and stick to the basement wall. The materials for this type of insulation have been proven over the years to be long-lasting materials. The materials mostly used here include plastics and fine glass. In most cases, this type of insulation is found in old houses at the walls, rim, beams, etc.
Advantages of Bubble Foil Insulation
- They are cost-effective
- It’s a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of basement
- Long-lasting materials
- Easy to purchase
Cons of Bubble Foil Insulation
It does not stop warm, humid interior air from contacting the wood studs in the basement
Easily attacked by mold due to condensation
Air inhaled from the particles of the glass when they are weak can pose a health risk
3. Foam Board Insulation
Even though a homeowner can easily do it yourself with foam board insulation for basement walls, professionals often do it because they are the best to carry out this function, unlike other insulation types. The materials are polyurethane and polystyrene made. If you want good temperature control in your house and structural stability at home, then this is the best shot for you.
Pros of Foam Board Insulation
- No need for maintenance and replacement
- Supports interior air barrier
- Resists water flow and limits moisture build-up
Cons of Foam Board Insulation
- Allows air leakage if the foams are not correctly fixed
- Does not prevent airflow when the boards and sheets are not well fixed
How to Insulate Basement Walls
Basement wall insulation is very important at home, but before you invest in having your basement insulated, there are some essential things to do, and they are as follows:
Ensure there is no water leakage in your basement
To avoid having a bad experience and total waste of money on your basement wall insulation, the first thing you need to do before getting the work done is to ensure no water leakage in your basement area, meaning that the basement must be dry. Never make the mistake of insulating a wet basement because that would be waste of money, time, and energy.
Adopt the foam board insulation
The wall’s interior side is one of the most important places to fix properly while insulating your basement. The foam board insulation fits properly on the concrete. Varieties of materials are recommended for this purpose, and they are polyisocyanurate, rigid foam, EPS, and XPS. It helps in preventing interior air from getting to the concrete.
Ensure your foam is supported by a layer of gypsum drywall because this would go a long way in protecting the concrete. Also, ensure to install fire blocking at the top of your wall.
Do not use the rigid foam pattern for a basement with stone walls. The best type fit for a stone wall is closed-cell- spray polyurethane.
Ensure you frame your walls before spraying the foam if you are going for the spray foam pattern and give a gap of up to 1-1/2 cms on the wall. The gap left between the studs and concrete wall would later be filled with spray foam. If you plan to insulate your basement walls with spray foam, the best approach is to frame your 2×4 walls before the foam is sprayed, leaving a gap of 1-1/2 in-between the back of the studs and the concrete wall. The gap will be filled later with spray foam.
Using materials like cellulose, fiberglass batts, or mineral-wool batts because they are cheap might allow air from coming in, and you should not use a below-grade concrete wall on such insulation. If you use this type of insulation, it will allow air and moisture on the wall’s cold concrete surface, which would lead to mold building on the wall.
If you live in an extreme climate environment, a 2-in. layer of XPS foam (R-10) is required. If you live in a marine zone, use 3-in. of XPS or 4-in. of EPS because this meets the R-15 building code requirements. Ensure your furring strips are stuck to the concrete wall through your rigid foam.
Ensure the insulation on the interior part of your basement wall permits vapor. Your concrete wall can stay for centuries without any fault or damage on it.
Do not make the mistake of adding a polyethylene material vapor barrier. No form of poly is needed on the concrete wall and foam board insulation. Neither should you add a poly between the gypsum drywall and your insulation. If there are studs or furring strips on your assemble wall, the polyethylene would be trapping moisture, and this would in turn cause rot or mold on the basement.
Remember that the type of insulation used in your house would, in turn, determine how good and comfortable your basement walls would be. All insulation types have their pros and cons, therefore before embarking on any type of insulation for your basement walls, try as much as possible to weigh the various options and know the type of material to use on your basement walls before embarking on such a project.