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Basement Walls Insulation Basics

Be sure to insulate your basement as you finish it. Insulating your basement quickly could help you avoid some problems down the line. This article will give you the basics on how to insulate your basement. 

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®

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As you work to finish your basement area, keep insulation in the plan. You can use a variety of types including rigid foam insulation planks or soft blankets or batts. It all depends on where you live and the space available to add it.

R-values help tell you the degree of insulation. Mild winter climates can use an R-value of 7, while colder areas need to shoot for R-11 or so. To reach these numbers with blankets or batts, you must frame out 2 x 3 or 2 x 4 stud walls over you masonry walls. The insulation is then stapled between those built-in wall studs. Then you can continue on, covering the surface with drywall or paneling. Your walls are nice and snug now.
 
Rigid foam insulation planks let you keep a new wall's thickness to a minimum because their R-values per inch are higher. Simply line the walls with furring strips, then glue or friction-fit planks between the furring. Because of foam's combustibility, building codes require you to cover it with a minimum of 1/2-inch drywall -- even if you're planning to install wood or hardboard paneling as your final finished surface.

Solve moisture problems before you begin. Seepage or leaks render insulating materials useless. Don't worry about mild condensation; insulation and a vapor barrier usually will eliminate this issue.

Insulation is less critical below ground level. To save money, you might insulate only that part of the wall the extends above ground level -- although insulating the walls' full height will provide additional value. Either way, pay special attention to spaces above the sill. As with crawlspace walls, these insulating techniques could cause frost-heave problems in extremely cold regions. Check your local building codes for approved insulation procedures.

Step-by-Step

For batt insulation

1. If you choose fiberglass batt or blanket insulation, frame up new stud walls.
Basement Walls Insulation Basics 

2. Staple insulation between the studs. Don't skimp on the staples. Drive one every 10 or 12 inches.

Basement Walls Insulation Basics

3. Above the sill, fit in small pieces of insulation. Secure with tape, staples, or wood strips.

Basement Walls Insulation Basics

For rigid insulation

1. For rigid foam insulation, make a grid of 1x2s or lx3s.
Basement Walls Insulation Basics

2. Use pieces of batts or blankets for spaces over the top of the sill. Vapor barriers always face inside.

Basement Walls Insulation Basics

3. Cement planks to the walls between furring strips. Measure as you go to ensure tight fit. Cover with drywall.

Basement Walls Insulation Basics

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