Insulating basement walls is an important part of a basement renovation. Adding insulation can make a basement room warmer, as well as add some noise-proofing.
After getting the walls framed, it was time to insulate the walls of our basement.
This process was pretty simple and quick. In fact, I did it all by myself while my husband finished some small framing details.
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One more disclaimer: always check the code for where you live. It varies drastically depending on location. Canada for instance, has much stricter code about vapor barrier and requires a much higher R-value for insulation.
Insulation for Basement FAQs
What are the types of insulation for basements?
Rigid foam board insulation: This insulation is typically found at the back of your home improvement store with larger building supplies.
Typically, it’s a bit more expensive than fiberglass insulation and the R-values are much lower.
It’s best for basements that have had moisture problems in the past (although if you’re installing drywall, you should try to get all of those fixed before installation to avoid mold issues down the road.)
It comes in large sheets that can be easily cut.
Foam board insulation is installed before framing.
Fiberglass batting insulation: In our home improvement store, there’s an entire aisle of fiberglass insulation. There are different thicknesses and larger rolls meant for attic spaces, so pay attention to the label.
Fiberglass insulation is very affordable. Ours cost about $20 a roll and covered almost a 4′ x 8′ space. We needed about 5 rolls total for about 30 feet of almost 8′ walls.
Our basement has never had water issues, so we are comfortable using fiberglass batting in our walls. (Plus the walls are coated in drylock waterproofing paint for extra protection.)
Installation is pretty easy. The full instructions are below, but you basically cut to length, cut around any obstacles and push in into the space. Then repeat.
Spray in foam insulation: Spray foam insulation is the most expensive option of the 3. There’s a DIY method that involves renting a machine or you can pay a company to install it.
It’s great for basements with moisture issues or in basements with existing walls.
Which way should the paper backing on insulation face?
The paper backing on fiberglass insulation should always face towards you and away from the existing wall or ceiling.
Should you insulate interior walls?
We chose not to insulate our interior walls, but it is an option for adding a bit of soundproofing to your home.
Should you insulate basement ceilings?
For this room, we chose not to insulate our basement ceiling because we are leaving the ceiling unfinished and painted.
We have many reasons for removing the insulation from our ceiling, but our main concern was to keep mice out of the basement.
We live in the country and it’s a problem that we’re trying to solve by removing a home for them. Plus, it makes the low ceilings of the basement feel so much higher.
What R-value should I use for my basement?
Every area will have a different code requirement for insulating basement walls. But a lazy way to do it is to go to a local store and see what’s available. They’re not going to sell anything that isn’t appropriate for your area.
If there is more than one option available, go with the highest R-value you can afford (that’s appropriate for the use – read the label.)
Insulating Basement Walls
Although insulation has come a long way, it’s still made of fiberglass and is itchy stuff. Protect your skin by wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Wear gloves. If you’re sensitive to it, consider eye protection and even a mask.
- Insulation isn’t that messy, but we went ahead and covered the floor in plastic sheeting for the upcoming drywall mess.
- Measure the inside of your framing from top to bottom.
- Cut the insulation to that length using a utility knife or scissors. (I liked scissors better.)
- Cut a channel on the insulation side to allow for the electrical wires.
- Place the insulation between the studs, tucking the wires into the groove you cut.
- If there’s an outlet box or other obstacle, use the utility knife to cut around the box.
- The insulation should fit pretty well in between the studs, but if for some reason they fall out, you can use a staple gun to attach them to the sides of the studs.
- Any gaps can be filled with small amounts of cut insulation. I tried to use all of the leftover bits for this.
- Keep going until it’s finished.
Next step: installing drywall!
You might also like:
- Basement Renovation Planning
- Refinishing a Concrete Floor in the Basement
- Staining Concrete in the Basement
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