When most people think of insulating their homes they think of attic insulation. After all, a poorly insulated attic can cause much of your home's heat loss, while in the summer, the brutal heat seeps in through the attic. However, that's not the only place where heat and cooling loss can occur - the second place is your basement. Whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, we're answering some of the frequently asked questions we receive about basement insulation.
Should I Insulate My Basement?
Whether you use your basement as an extended living space or it's an unfinished space, a lack of insulation means your home is less energy efficient and will cost more to heat and cool. In the winter, cold air seeps in through the walls and keeps the basement chilly, so warm air will radiate into the basement and out through the walls.
In the summer, the energy loss can be even worse. If there's no insulation between your main floor and your basement ceiling, cooled air is seeping down into your basement, and again, if there is no insulation in the walls of the space, that air is going to leave your home.
An insulated basement can help you easily regulate the temperature of your whole home while reducing your energy bills, so whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, insulation is a wise investment.
How to Install Insulation in a Basement Ceiling
While spray foam insulation is ideal for basement ceilings, f you wanted to insulate your basement ceiling as a DIY, you're in for a difficult task. Here is a general overview of the steps involved in a DIY basement ceiling insulation project.
- Because most basement ceilings are cluttered with wires, pipes, and cross-bracing, maneuvering the maze while unrolling batts of insulation can be difficult.
- Staple the paper-faced vapor blocks to the lower edge of your joists.
- Insulate your rim joist - that's the floor framing that circles the perimeter right above the foundation wall.
- Insulate your duct work and hot water pipes - this is especially important for an unfinished basement you don't want heated.
What Kind of Insulation is Best for Basement Walls
Insulating basement walls offers two benefits - it improves energy efficiency while blocking moisture and mold. While foam board or fiberglass batts can be used, they are far from ideal. Not only do many basements have cinder block or concrete walls which makes installation difficult, but if there is any kind of moisture or water coming in, these types of insulation don't hold up.
Spray foam is the only kind of insulation for basement walls that we would recommend. It provides the ideal moisture barrier to prevent dampness in your basement as well as properly seals your walls so cooled and warmed air can't seep out. While it must be professionally installed, knowing that it is effective, near permanent, and safe can make it a worthy investment.
What R-Value Should My Basement Insulation Be?
When you're looking at insulation, you'll probably see something called an R-value. This is the rating that shows how well your insulation can resist heat flow. With a higher R-value, your insulation will prevent heat from leaving or entering a space, meaning it's more effective.
Raleigh is considered part of climate zone 4, so it's recommended that the walls should be insulated to a minimum value of R-10, though R-15 is preferred. This means you need to look at the R-value per inch thickness of insulation.
Fiberglass batts have an R-value of around 3.5, meaning it would take 4-5 inches of insulation to achieve the R-15 rating. Polystyrene boards have an R-value of around 5.0, while spray foam has an R-value of around 6.5, meaning just over 2 inches of spray foam can exceed the needed value.
Should I Choose Faced or Unfaced Insulation?
Faced insulation referrs to a roll or batt of insulation that has one side covered in a vapor barrier. This keeps the moisture from going through the wall into your drywall. The important thing to know with faced insulation is making sure there is only one layer of faced insulation against the drywall, rather than a layer of insulation on top of a second layer of faced insulation. This will trap moisture and cause problems. Also, faced insulation must be covered with drywall because it's flammable.
Unfaced insulation doesn't have a vapor barrier and in the case of cellulose or fiberglass, unfaced rolls can add thickness before adding the final faced layer. Spray foam and foam boards are also types of unfaced insulation, with spray foam offering "built in" moisture barrier.
Contact Us for Basement Insulation in Raleigh
Whether you want to turn a damp, chilly basement into a pleasant living space or you simply want to improve your home's efficiency and stop losing your cooled or heated air to your basement, we can help! With our basement waterproofing services along with our spray foam insulation and mold remediation services, we can keep your basement dry and draft free, making your home more comfortable and your energy bills lower. Call us today at 919-847-7072 or fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation estimate today!