Insulation plays a vital role in your basement remodeling project to create a cozy and comfortable living space downstairs. However, this component needs to be done right, with the proper materials installed correctly. Ensure your basement contractor follows these tips on insulating your basement to get the most from your remodeling project. 

Why is basement insulation important?

Basement insulation is equally crucial as insulation in any other part of your home. A poorly insulated basement often suffers from compromised indoor temperature due to the area’s air movement. During warm weather, hot air will enter the basement, while the cool one will escape. The contrary happens during winter. 

The air movement in your basement due to its poor insulation wastes a lot of energy, causing your bills to skyrocket. This is because you will overuse your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to maintain a well-balanced temperature in your basement.

Moreover, the lack of insulation allows coldness and moisture to permeate your basement, making your basement an unpleasant and uncomfortable place to be in. This is because the exterior walls of your basement absorb underground temperatures. That is why it is crucial to invest in high-quality basement insulation to avoid these unnecessary problems.

Is insulating a basement worth it?

Insulating a basement is a worthwhile investment. Beyond the annual savings on your bills, because you no longer have to overuse your HVAC system, a home with good insulation has higher market value and sellability should you decide to sell your property.

Basement Wall Insulation

How to insulate a basement wall

The first step to insulate your basement wall is to repair any leaks. Be sure to have all leaks repaired and any excess water cleaned up before insulating the basement. Have a close look around the base of your walls and windows for any moisture. Caulking around wooden or plastic frames and applying concrete repair kits will help make this job quick and effective.

After repairing any leaks, you should inspect the existing wall. The insulation steps depend on the materials used to build your existing wall. Rigid foam insulation is used in basements with cinder block walls, whereas fiberglass insulation can be installed between 2x4s on a standard studded wall. A vapor barrier is used in both cases, but the existing wall’s construction dictates which type of insulation to use.

If you decided to hang drywall in your finished basement, you should use furring strips or studs to hang that drywall, and you must fit the insulation behind the strips or between the studs. The idea is that insulation is installed close to the building envelope, with drywall acting as the inside layer.

The next step is to install a vapor barrier. This thick plastic sheet hangs between the insulation and outer wall, which tends to be either cinder block or concrete. Most foundation walls are porous, and the vapor barrier keeps excess moisture and condensation away from the insulation.

Without this critical component in your basement remodeling project, your insulation can become soggy and subject to mold and mildew. Although the plastic will not block heat, it does act as a primary barrier and is taped at the seams to create a solid obstruction for moisture.

Lastly, you should cover the space between the main floor joists to complete the task. It helps to do this portion before installing the primary insulation—either just before or just after the vapor barrier goes up.

Fiberglass insulation tends to work best, as it can be cut to fit and slides easily into place. Remember not to compress the product, as insulation loses value when compressed.

What is the cheapest way to insulate basement walls?

Fiberglass is the cheapest and most common way to insulate your basement walls based on current market prices. Fiberglass insulation is made from molten glass blown into fibers, and the majority of the manufacturers utilize 40% to 60% recycled glass materials. However, while fiberglass may be the cost-effective option available right now, it is also infamous for causing respiratory problems and skin allergies.  

What is the best insulation for basement walls?

Your basement walls’ insulation will largely depend on how the walls are built. Different building materials will require various types of insulation. Vast choices of insulating materials are available in the market. However, all of these materials can be classified into five major categories, which are foam boards, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, fiberglass, cellulose, and rock wool. 

Foam boards have a high R-value per inch of thickness, which means higher resistance to heat flow, making them a good insulation material. Foam board insulation is also becoming a more popular alternative to standard fiberglass batts. It is excellent at preventing heat loss and moisture buildup in a concrete wall and safer than fiberglass batts. 

Spray foam insulation is used to control the natural inward drive-off moisture and reduce noise due to its sound-absorbing qualities. Compared to traditional insulation materials, spray foam insulation also provides additional strength to buildings due to its dense and robust adhesive attributes. It can act as an air barrier when appropriately installed. 

Fiberglass insulation is the most traditional insulation used in thousands of homes because it is cheaper than other basement insulation options available in the market. Fiberglass is an excellent option to create an air seal and help avoid moisture issues in your basement. This kind of insulation is usually utilized in batt insulation and loose-fill insulation.  Batt insulation is made up of fiberglass material designed as a blanket, while loose-fill insulation consists of fiber particles spread on the wall. 

Cellulose insulation is a type of fiber insulation made from 75-85% recycled paper fiber. This insulation type is excellent in preventing heat transfer in a concrete wall due to its high thermal conductivity. Cellulose insulation is also known for its superb ability to absorb and hold moisture, which is crucial in keeping walls dry. However, since cellulose is excellent at blocking airflow, it dries out slower than other wet insulation materials like fiberglass. 

Rockwool insulation is made from molten rocks, a binder, and some oil to prevent dust buildup.  Rockwool insulation pros include higher r-value, a solution to complex moisture flow, rodent and fire-resistant, and denser than standard fiberglass insulation. 

Related: How to Keep Basement Warm in Winter

Basement Ceiling Insulation

How to insulate a basement ceiling

Basement ceiling insulation is just equally important as that of your basement wall. Insulating the basement ceiling will help prevent heat from upstairs from entering your crawl space. 

To insulate the basement ceiling, you can use the available materials for basement walls. However, there are other things that you should consider, like the pipes in your basement ceiling, which absorb cold temperatures during winter. Insulating these pipes will help improve your hot water system’s efficiency during cold seasons.

Little things like this will come together to make your finished basement a more integral part of your home, enhancing your lifestyle.

What is the best insulation for basement ceiling

Water-resistant insulation, like polystyrene insulation panels, is now gaining popularity because of its excellent ability in preventing moisture drive and acts as above-grade wall system air and insulation barrier.  If you were on a tight budget, you might opt for unfaced fiberglass batts or blankets to insulate your basement ceiling. 

Basement Insulation Costs

The basement insulation cost varies depending on the area of your basement, its existing conditions, and the type of insulation materials used. The typical price for rigid and spray foam insulation is between $1.45 and $2.25 per sq. ft. Fiberglass insulation may cost between $1.80 – $3.50 per sq. ft.

Contact a basement remodeling contractor to help you insulate your basement.

If you want to ensure that your basement insulation project is done properly, it is best to contact a basement remodeling contractor. A basement insulation project should be carried out with the utmost care and attention because it involves working with structures and pipes. Professional basement remodeling contractors have the relevant experience and necessary tools and equipment to carry out your basement bar project safely. They also have expert knowledge regarding various design styles that serve both style and functionality. 
If you are looking for a professional remodeling contractor, you are already in the right place. Paragon Remodeling has provided top-notch basement remodeling services in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland areas for over 15 years. We ensure that our basement remodels ideas and services will make your investment worth it. The projects we work on are not just renovation projects for us. We want to provide you with the comfort, warmth, and safety you deserve.