Basement & Wall Insulation Done Right!
Adding insulation to the basement, crawl space, walls or other areas of your home are fairly simple projects, with substantial benefits. Properly insulating your home is one of the fastest ways to increase a home’s energy efficiency, and save on heating and cooling costs. Not to mention making an impact on how much we use (and waste) valuable energy resources.
Rigid Insulation Panels: R-Tech
Insulfoam’s R-Tech insulation products are ideal for homeowners and contractors looking quickly and economically increase a home’s insulating power. Available from home improvement stores nation-wide, R-Tech comes in various thicknesses, panel sizes and fanfold options (picture unfolding 100 squares insulation in under 5 minutes!) without loose insulation all over, or pesky and painful fiberglass slivers to avoid.
In addition, if you live in an area with termites, carpenter ants or other insects you’ll have to consider how insect protection will affect the choice and placement of insulation in your home. R-Tech is impervious to insects and mold growth (unlike other insulation choices like fiberglass batt which offers insects a warm environment to create homes and channels within insulation sections), making it an ideal long term choice for insulation.
Learn more about using and installing R-Tech sheathing products:
- R-Tech Interior & Exterior Sheathing Overview
- R-Tech Installation Considerations
- R-Tech In-Floor Insulation Installation Guidelines For Radiant Heating
- R-Tech Crawl Space Insulation Installation Guidelines
- R-Tech Exterior Wall Installation Guidelines
DIY Insulation Kits
The most universal of our insulation products are our “DIY Insulation Kits” which include 6 panels (kit sizes and thicknesses vary by retailer preference) that can be used in many different applications:
Cutting of the DIY packs is simple, so you can easily fit into tight spaces, corners, craft needs, etc without working about fiberglass splinters and other harmful effects of other insulation products.
Home Insulation Tips
What prep do I need to do for my walls and basement before installing lightweight R-Tech insulation panels?
Before insulating, seal any air leaks and make roof and other necessary repairs. If you are insulating in an area that is located in a conditioned part of the house, also remember to insulate and air seal your basement, wall or attic access.
Next plan and make sure you’re covering all the right areas. Insulate and air seal any knee walls — vertical walls with attic space directly behind them — in your home as well. In addition, if you’re building a new home or remodeling, make sure any area that provides additional storage space or a platform for a heating and/or cooling unit or hot water tank has enough room around them for adequate insulation. Finally, if you live in a hot or warm climate, consider installing a radiant barrier in your attic to reduce summer heat gain.
R-Tech panels easily fold over the top of panel joists without the need to fill in gaps and low spots.
What is the best choice for insulating exterior walls?
Consider using insulating wall sheathing rather than wood sheathing products. These product include foam insulation laminated to a facer or another sheathing product, providing an R-value of R-2 to R-3.5. With products like R-Tech you can choose thicker foam boards which yields even higher R-values.
Foam sheathing advantages:
- Provides a continuous layer of insulation, which reduces thermal bridging through wood studs (energy escaping through through the wood studs), saving energy and improving comfort.
- Is easier to cut and install than heavier or blown in products.
- Protects against condensation on the inside wall by keeping the interior of the wall warmer.
- Usually costs less than plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).
Basement Insulation Done Right
A properly insulated basement can save you money on heating and provide a dry, comfortable living space. In most cases, a basement with insulation installed on its exterior walls should be considered a conditioned space. Even in a house with an unconditioned basement, the basement is more connected to other living spaces than to the outside, which makes basement wall insulation preferable to ceiling insulation. In fact, up to 25% heat loss occurs through the basements of a home.
In new construction, adding insulation on the exterior of the basement walls will:
- Minimize thermal bridging and reduce heat loss through the foundation.
- Protect the damp-proof coating from damage during backfilling.
- Provide some protection against moisture intrusion.
- Make the foundation part of the thermal mass of the conditioned space, thereby reducing interior temperature swings.
- Reduce the potential for condensation on surfaces in the basement.
- Conserve room area, relative to installing insulation on the interior.
In an existing home, adding insulation to the exterior of the basement walls is impractical. Interior basement wall insulation has the following advantages:
- It is much less expensive to install than exterior insulation for existing buildings.
- Almost any insulation type can be used, some are easier and safer to install than others.
- It eliminates the threat of insect infestation.
What else should I consider when installing interior basement wall insulation?
- Many insulation types require a fire-rated covering because they release toxic gases when ignited. Be sure you’re choosing one that complies.
- Interior insulation reduces usable interior space by a few inches, the thinner the product the better.
- It doesn’t protect the damp-proof coating like exterior insulation does, so choosing insulation with a protective facer is a good choice.
- If perimeter drainage is poor, the insulation may become saturated by moisture weeping through foundation walls, be sure to choice an insulation that doesn’t retain moisture.
How much insulation should I add?
Insulation levels are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist air (hot or cold air) flow. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. R-Tech offers a huge range of sizes and thicknesses to meet the insulation needs your project requires. All with fast and easy insulation. To determine appropriate R-values for basement walls in your area, use these R-value recommendations.
Which side of the R-Tech Panels should face inside?
Either side of the R-Tech panels can face inside. Generally people prefer to have the metallic faced side face the inside of a structure, but there is no advantage one way or the other.