The Challenges Of Insulating A Basement

Posted on: 18 August 2021

If you want to finish your basement, you need insulation. However, insulating your basement is different than insulating other parts of the home. If you don't insulate it with the right material, you could have potential future problems. You could end up re-doing all the hard work you put into your walls. Here are some reasons why insulating your basement is different from other rooms. Also included are the materials that are usually the best choice for a finished basement.

Why Insulate the Basement?

While you don't have to insulate the basement, you should for several reasons. For one, it is a good idea to insulate your walls if you plan to use the basement as a living space. You should especially insulate the walls if the basement is going to be heated; otherwise, you are wasting money heating the basement. Even if your basement is unheated, you could be losing heat from the rest of the house through the basement. Properly insulated basement walls also help control moisture.

What Challenges Do Basement Insulation Pose?

Because the basement is below ground, it can pose several insulation issues. Many basement walls are made of concrete and stone. Each handles heat and moisture differently. On top of that, the soil behind those walls can affect those materials exponentially. For example, concrete, and the soil behind it, contains a lot of moisture. Moisture could infiltrate the wall and the insulation. Even other materials, like stone, can allow moisture to pass through. As a result, any insulation you use must not be prone to mold. This requirement may limit your choice of insulating materials if your basement tends to be humid or damp.

What Materials Work Best for Basement Insulation?

The type of material you can use in your basement depends on the wall construction. For example, foam boards are one of the most commonly used insulation for basements with concrete walls. These boards act as a good moisture barrier and do not have materials that contribute to mold.

Fiberglass insulation is not recommended for basements with high moisture. This material tends to get wet and moldy more easily. However, if your basement has always been dry, you may be able to use a combination of foam and fiberglass. Some walls, like stone walls, do better with spray foam because it can penetrate cracks and uneven surfaces better.

If you want a finished basement that is temperature and moisture-controlled, then you need insulation. In many areas, the type of insulation you use is regulated by the government. Therefore, talk to a professional about which insulation you need based on your basement wall construction and local area.