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Rigid Foam Board Works Better Then Fiberglass Below Grade
One of the most common contractor errors we regularly see are basements that have not been insulated properly. This often results in mold and mildew problems for the home owner and costly repair bills. For years home builders have used fiberglass batt insulation to insulate their basement walls but it does not take long for that batt insulation to fail. Fiberglass insulation is a great insulating material but it should only be used in dry areas of the home (like walls and attics). For below grade applications you want to use a material that won't absorb moisture. You want to use a material that won't compress, loose R-value or fail overtime. Rigid Foam Board Insulation is the perfect product to use when insulating your basement walls.
Rigid foam insulation is water resistant, air tight and adds layers of thermal resistance to your foundation walls. The best way to install rigid foam board insulation is to adhere it directly to your concrete walls. You want to do this before the basement is finished, while the concrete foundation is still exposed. Once the foam board insulation is tacked in place the installers will use special tape and spray foam to air seal all of the seams and edges. This makes an air tight seal that is impermeable to moisture.
Using Fiberglass Insulation In a Basement
Fiberglass, mineral wool or cellulose insulation should never be applied directly against foundation walls. These types of insulation products are air-permeable insulation products and will absorb moisture which leads to problems with mold, mildew and rot. You can use these type of insulation products once you have installed a continuous layer of Rigid Foam Board insulation along the exterior walls. The risk of moisture problems is greatly reduced if your exterior walls have been insulated with foam prior to finishing the basement.
Insulating Finished Basement Walls
If your trying to insulate your basement walls and the walls have already been finished then you should consider applying spray foam insulation to the exposed areas of your foundation. This will decrease air infiltration into your home and make it more comfortable instantly. Many homeowners with finished basements prefer this method because it is a more cost effective approach when compared to refinishing the entire space.
Installing your basement walls is almost always cost-effective. Do so will will lower your energy bills, and your basement more comfortable. A properly insulated basement will also help make less less susceptible to problems from condensation and mold.