The best type of insulation for basement walls is any type that stops moisture movement and prevents mold and mildew growth. Basements host the perfect location type for foam insulation products. Cellulose insulation is a great option for basements but for the sake of this article we will only be talking about foam insulation.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is one of the most popular types of insulation on the market and is the best material for insulating basements and other damp areas like bathrooms or kitchens. Closed cell spray foam insulation is great for sealing out water vapor that tries to get inside your basement walls. Spray foam has many benefits including vapor barrier, covers wires, pipes and other utilities and also provides good R values. The only downfall to spray foam is that its more expensive than other types of insulation for now but in the future it will be come for cost effective. It’s also very messy, but the insulation company that will blow the insulation in your walls should provide clean up for it as well. If you are trying this as DIY insulation installation project, good luck!
Foam Board Insulation
The 2nd best insulation for basements is using foam board insulation. This is a common type of insulation used by insulation installers but is also a type of insulation DIYers are more likely able to handle. It’s also more affordable than spray foam insulation and a little more attractive but unless you plan on leaving your walls exposed, no one will know what type of insulation is inside of them.
The only problem with foam board is choosing the right thickness. Also, sealing to create a vapor barrier is something that should be left to the experts. However, 2 to 4 inches of foam board insulation should be an adequate thickness for nearly any type of basement. Also, using a spray foam to seal up all the cracks around the bottom of the foam board and around the utilities is recommended with this type of insulation. Only a small amount will be needed though.
Fiberglass & Hybrid Foam Insulation
The 3rd and final method of insulating your basement is using a hybrid system of fiberglass and foam board. The is the cheapest possible insulation method for your basement but should only be used if your basement doesn’t have any current signs of water damage or infiltration. This method should never be used if your basement has a history of water leaks, damage, issues etc… Also, this type of insulation does not create as tight of a vapor barrier as foam board or spray foam insulation.
Basement Insulation Conclusion
Not all basements can be turned into an acceptable finsihed space. Too many time have people tried to finish a basement with insulation when it really needs major foundational work or structural repairs. If your basement has history of water problems or flooding, you might want to get an inspection of your home before adding on insulation to walls just to make sure you are the perfect candidate for insulation. The main goal of adding foam insulation is to separate the block framing from the damp concrete or old insulation products that can create mold growth.