Basement Finishing – What Insulation Will You Need?

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Having a cold, damp basement might be nice during the hottest summer days, but for the rest of the year, it makes it difficult to enjoy spending any time down there. If you're considering finishing your basement, one thing that you'll need to decide upon is how the basement will be insulated. Here, you'll find a bit of information that can help you decide the best way to insulate the basement for year-round comfort.

What are your options?

You'll have three basic options to consider—fiberglass batting insulation, foam board insulation, and blown foam insulation. You can also use a combination of the three options to come up with a great solution for even the most difficult basements.

In most cases, foam board insulation will work in every basement renovation. There are different thicknesses available to increase the R-rating of the product. The higher the rating, the better insulated the basement will be.

Is moisture a problem?

If there's any moisture issues in your basement, you will want to avoid using fiberglass batting insulation. If you do, you'll be providing mold the perfect conditions to grow. You see, when the batting gets wet, it will not dry when it's sealed up behind green board or drywall. Over time, the moisture will turn into mold and you'll be left with no option but to rip out what you've just finished to remove the mold and redo the finishing work.

Tip: If you're unsure how much moisture is seeping through the concrete, get a large trash bag and some duct tape. Tape the trash bag to the wall and leave it to sit for a day. Remove the plastic bag. If the concrete appears darker than the surrounding surface, moisture is coming through the concrete enough to avoid fiberglass insulation.

Is mold present?

If there's already mold in your basement, you need to have it treated before you begin covering the walls. If you allow the mold spores to remain in the concrete behind the insulation, it will grow as soon as the moisture levels rise. You can treat the mold on your own, but if you're unsure of how to eliminate mold and how to find it in hidden spaces, you're best to leave it to the professionals.

Talk with your basement renovation contractor to learn more about how to create a basement space that is comfortable year-round. He or she will help you choose the products that will last long and continue to provide you with the comfort you expect in your own home.