Basement Insulation

basement insulation, insulation r value, attic insulation, blown attic insulation, cavity wall insulation

Basement Insulation

Basement Insulation: Insulating this often overlooked area of our homes can reap big energy safety if installed properly and properly analyzed.

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The typical picture that comes to nearly all people's minds when we talk about insulating a residence is rolls of insulation being placed in the attic or in walls. This does make total sense in that these areas are basic areas to place insulation, and you can take the biggest swings at energy savings in these areas.

Basement Insulation Applied To Interior Surface of Foundation Wall

Basement Insulation Applied To Interior Surface of Foundation Wall

Often an area of the house that receives very little interest on the insulation front, particularly when you are considering an upgrade to your existing residence insulation are the basement walls.

The basement walls are usually either totally or at least partially ignored from insulation consideration during the home planning and construction process. But when you think about it, the basement foundation walls can have a considerable heat-loss exposure.

Imagine this: An un-insulated concrete basement foundation can account for 25 percent of a residence's total heat loss, even in a residence that is well-insulated in all other areas. The R-value of a typical 8 inch thick un-insulated concrete foundation wall is only 1.4.

If you consider the mass of the foundation wall and combine that with low insulation value, you have found a prime candidate for supplementary insulation placement.

By including the residence foundation wall within the thermal envelope by adding insulation to the basement walls, will afford the homeowner meaningful energy savings, while also adding a measure of moisture resistance and waterproofing qualities to the basement walls, as we will address in more detail below.

Also it is frequently used in upgrading concealed cavities, such as stud walls and ceiling spaces.

Basement Insulation Applied To Exterior Surface of Foundation Wall

Basement Insulation Applied To Exterior Surface of Foundation Wall

What Are The Pros and Cons of Exterior Basement Wall Insulation?

During new home construction it is an easy matter to place basement insulation on the exterior of the basement walls, as the walls are exposed and yet to be backfilled with soil.

If there are any suspicions of water table problems or potential surface water infiltration, it is best to apply a membrane waterproofing to the concrete basement walls prior to installing the rigid insulation.

Also installation of a drain tile system around the home's perimeter, below the basement floor level my be in order.

How Much Basement Insulation Do You Need?

Although applying basement insulation to your new or existing residence will undoubtedly save energy, the amount that is most price effective will vary by the area of the country where you live.

The International Energy Conservation Code has the following recommendations for proper amount of basement insulation:

Organic Garden

Basement Insulation Recommendations By the IECC

Basement Insulation - The Insulation of Choice:

Usually, the insulation of choice that is selected for exterior basement wall insulation is closed-cell polystyrene insulation that will not degrade when exposed to moisture.

There are other choices, but they need to be very thoroughly checked out for moisture infiltration resistance as moisture in your rigid board with severely compromise the insulation R-value.

A rigid foam insulation on the exterior foundation wall will also protect the foundation from the effects of free-thaw cycles in extreme climates, by minimizing the potential of water damage on basement finish walls and floors.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Exterior Basement Insulation?

Exterior basement wall insulation does have some drawbacks. It can be very expensive to install on an existing residence, and usually requires a perimeter drainage system to be installed, further driving up costs.

Some basement insulation products are prohibited with some building codes or local zoning ordinances, so you ought to check this with your local building department.

Also some of these insulation products are susceptible to insect damage. If you encounter these problems then you should consider the placement of your basement insulation on the interior surface of the basement walls.

Closed Cell Polystyrene Insulation

Closed Cell Polystyrene Insulation - Dow Corporation

Interior Basement Foundation Insulation: Pros and Cons

Wrapping this up, adding insulation to the interior of basement walls of an existing home is most often much less expensive than adding the basement insulation to the exterior of the walls. Placement of the insulation on the interior of the basement wall will also make it immune to bugs.

When rigid insulation boards are placed on the interior of your basement walls, it is normally placed directly against the was surface, between wood or metal furring strips. The finished wall material is then applied over the furring and insulation board.

Keep in mind that by placing basement insulation on the interior surface of basement walls, you are not improving water infiltration through the walls.

It will however, minimize or eliminate any condensation problems that can come through the exterior walls in severe climates.

DOE Recomended Levels of Insulation

Department of Energy Recommended Insulation Levels Map