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Insulating basement


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By Jim in Winnipeg, AL on 11/17/2010


Hello:

I am puzzled as to how to proceed with the following project and thought that those here at the forum might have some insight!

I live in a cold climate. I have a two-story house with a full basement. It is a completely unfinished basement (i.e., no sheet insulation or wall framing on the basement concrete walls, nor any batt insulation in the open ceiling joists). The basement is unheated and fairly damp. But not a big deal, as I use it only for storage.

But I wanted to see if I could make the first floor of the home (above the basement) warmer, especially the floors. Here’s the twist - I will be re-selling within three years and don’t want to spend to a level that I won’t get a return on investment when I resell. I already spoke to my local building-code inspector and he said if I were to put Styrofoam sheets on the basement walls I would then have to go the two extra steps of adding wall framing and then drywall (I assume as a fire retardant). There is no way this will pay out for me as it is an unfinished basement and that’s what most basements in my area are… not an option.

So then I thought I’d put fiberglass batts in the ceiling joists and cover with vapor barrier on the cold side (facing basement) - clear plastic sheeting to keep the dampness from the basement from getting into the batts. But then I remembered that vapor barriers are typically installed on the warm side, so that might just make the warmth from above/moisture from above collect on the vapor barrier... not sure what to do there.

Any advice from the forum as to how I could do the batts-in-the-joists approach? What about doing two layers of vapor barrier to totally isolate the batts – i.e., one above the batts on the warm side to keep the warmth/moisture from that side and on the other side to keep the dampness of the basement away?

Suggestions or comments on a solution much appreciated!!

Thanks!

P.S. Strangely, my local code does not require drywall on the ceiling joists/batts – go figure.

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By Mike in Westminster, CO on 11/21/2010


Have you thought about a vinyl-faced fiberglass insulation wrap/blanket on your basement walls? It does not require any framing or drywall, and should be a cost effective solution for your situation. You can get an R-11 or 13 with the blanket, and you can use foam to seal the rim joists. Should make for a well-insulated and airtight basement, and no need to insulate the floor joists. Here a photo of the insulation blanket I have in my basement.
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By Jerry in Germantown, MD on 12/14/2015


I was doing some research on my house for that ..This article suggested R-20, but that was for Canada. That might be a little overkill but the ROI may payoff in the long run. Since your in Alabama, Jim, your considered climate zone 3. They consider it it’s cost-effective and wise to install basement wall insulation


http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/how-insulate-basement-wall

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By lauren on 2/21/2018


Hi, 


First of all thanks for your question. I have same problem of basement like you. And my best friend told me about the piling contractors and I take their services and I am fully satisfied with their work. I suggest you should also consult them.

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By jps in Indianapolis, AL on 4/23/2018


yes, basements are the very important for any building construction.
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