Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
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To most people, the basement is just a room for storing things. Therefore, not much thought is put into it. Many tend to ignore this underground space when it comes to insulation and instead concentrate on other rooms in the house. So the question is: should every basement be insulated?
Every basement should be insulated. Doing so comes with several benefits, such as cutting down moisture problems, regulating temperatures so that it’s not so chilly, conserving energy, and also saving on the cost of energy bills.
Keep reading to get more details about why you should insulate your basement and other related topics such as types of insulation suitable for the basement, where to install it, and whether you should install the insulation yourself or involve a professional.
Reasons Why You Should Insulate Your Basement
Here are the reasons why you should insulate your basement:
Regulate the Temperature – Insulating the basement ensures it doesn’t get too cold, especially during winter. That means the room can be useful all year round and even serve as an extra living space for the family.
Insulation also keeps energy bills low since the home conditioners don’t have to work too hard to regulate the temperatures.
Keep Away Moisture – Imagine a basement full of mold and rotten wood due to moisture accumulation. It’s disgusting and feels kind of creepy, right? If you happen to store something in such a basement, it can get damaged very easily.
Insulation will keep the amount of moisture down to prevent all these problems.
Get Rid of Weird Smells – Have you ever gotten into a basement, and there was a musty smell? Many basements have this weird smell due to the moisture absorbed by the concrete walls.
When the basement is properly insulated, no moisture will get absorbed, and it’ll always smell fresh.
Keep Out Allergens – Mold, mildew, and dust may form in the basement, especially if it’s been turned into a storage area and hasn’t been insulated. They can spread to other rooms in the house, interfering with the air quality. These substances may cause allergic reactions to some people hence affecting their health.
By insulating the basement, you’ll be able to keep away these allergens.
Best Insulation Options for Basements
There are several types of basement insulation options available. You can choose which one to go for based on the moisture levels in your home and whether you’ll be installing it yourself or getting a professional to do it. Your budget will also determine which type of insulation you can afford to buy.
Here are some of the most common types of insulation:
Fiberglass – Fiberglass is very common in the market since it’s not expensive and is easy to install. The only problem is that it’s prone to molding since it doesn’t resist moisture. If your basement is damp and you’re worried about mold, fiberglass might not be the ideal choice.
However, you can reduce the moisture issues by first covering the concrete using a layer of rigid foam instead of putting fiberglass directly on the wall.
Spray Foam – Spray foam is the best material to use when insulating your finished basements. It may be costly compared to fiberglass, but it’ll be worth it since you’ll save more on energy bills in the long run.
This Loctite Tite Foam Spray foam from Amazon.com has a superior R-value and impressive moisture resistance, reducing heat loss and preventing moisture infiltration, which can be very problematic in the long run.
Additionally, it does well in damp environments so that you don’t have to worry about mold growth and decreased performance. It also seals up the leaks and makes your home more airtight.
Foam Board – Foam board is another option for your basement insulation. Rigid foam boards such as the Owens Corning Pink Insulation Boards from Amazon.com are available in different R-values and several sizes depending on what you need.
In addition, foam boards do very well in moist conditions and are very easy to install. Another good thing about them is that they don’t have demanding maintenance needs. However, you should be ready to dig deeper into your pockets when installing them since they’re expensive.
Where To Put Your Insulation in the Basement
Now that you know the reasons why you should insulate your basement and your insulation options, let’s go over where you can put your insulation.
Walls – Insulating the basement walls is very effective as it greatly reduces energy loss. The walls are the ones in contact with the environment outside and also the foundation. When insulating them, you can insulate either the exterior or the interior.
If you’re constructing your basement, it’s advisable to insulate the exterior as it offers optimum energy efficiency and leaves more space in the interior. If the basement has already been constructed, you can only insulate the interior. However, both options are effective.
Floors – Basement floors are mostly cold and chilly and greatly benefit from insulation.
When insulating the basement floor, make sure your floor is moisture-free and not susceptible to flooding, as this may lead to mold growth, a major health concern. After that, build a subfloor that’ll give space to put your insulation. Your floor is now ready to be insulated.
The best type of insulation when it comes to basement floors is rigid foam boards. A radiant floor heating system may also be a good option as it‘ll heat the space efficiently and save energy.
Ceiling – While insulating your walls and floors might be helpful, you should also consider insulating the ceilings. Insulating your ceilings prevents heat from escaping into the lower and colder areas of the rooms above your basement.
However, you need to fix any moisture problem before insulating the ceiling, such as cracks in the wall or clogged drains.
Insulating ceilings keeps all the heat upstairs where it’s most needed. But ceiling insulation can be complicated because there are wires and tubes and ductwork to be considered. That’s why you should never do it as a DIY project but involve a professional instead.
Should You Install Your Basement Insulation Yourself or Involve a Professional?
Having decided on the type of insulation you want, you have to determine whether you can install it yourself or look for the services of a professional.
You can install your basement insulation yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools. However, involving a professional is usually the best idea, as they have the experience and tools required for the job. You can also avoid costly expenses for fixing mistakes when you call the experts.
Insulating the basement comes with several advantages, such as saving on costs of energy bills and keeping your home free from harmful substances like molds and mildew.
There are several insulation types, and you only have to consider a few factors to decide which is best. You can also involve a professional if you’re not sure of what to use.
Whether you’re constructing a new home or already have one, you should consider insulating your basement. It might seem like an expensive project, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
- Energy: Where to Insulate in a home
- Building Science: Info-511: Basement Insulation
- Medline Plus: Allergic reactions
- Home Beautiful: 10 ways to prevent heat loss at home
- Wikipedia: Indoor mold
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