When you have an unfinished basement you realize what a mother lode of unused space you have beneath your feet. A finished basement can give you extra living space for a media room, entertainment area, teen or kidís hangout, or even an extra bedroom or two. Before you begin your remodeling project however, you should insulate the basement walls. Since basements tend to be naturally cool, this will make the space more comfortable and will also help reduce your energy bill.
There are two ways to insulate basement walls: Insulation can be added to the stud walls or it can be installed with furring strips. The method you choose depends on the scope of your remodeling project.
Rigid Foam Insulation with Furring Strips
Installing rigid foam insulation with furring strips is an economical way to insulate basement walls if you donít need room behind the finished wall for electrical wires or plumbing lines. Use rigid foam insulation that has fire rated certification and cut the furring strips to needed dimensions. Align and install your furring strips directly on the basement walls every 24 inches. A hammer drill will be needed to install the furring strips, so it is essential to wear protective eye goggles. Once the strips are installed, cut the foam board to fit as needed and slide it in between the furring strips; you may glue it to the walls if desired. The final step is to staple 6 mil thick plastic to the furring strips as a moisture barrier.
Insulating Stud Walls
Framed stud walls give you a deeper space for insulation and also allow room for any electric wire or plumbing lines that may be needed for the finished renovation. A framed stud wall is also a good method to use if your concrete walls are not square, as you can square the finish walls during the framing process. Once the studs and insulation are in place, you can attach drywall right to the finish framing.
Before adding insulation you must correct any moisture problems in the walls or the outer perimeter of the floor. Use 2Ēx4Ē lumber to frame all components of the walls, including the top and bottom plates and the vertical studs. In most cases you can build the wall on the floor of the basement then raise it into place against the wall. Caulking should be used to fill any gaps along the top or bottom plates. After the walls are secure, insulation can be added: Keep in mind that fiberglass batting insulation is more likely to absorb moisture and may not be the best choice in a basement.
Rigid foam board insulation, on the other hand, is moisture resistant and it has excellent insulating properties; it also has a narrow profile which means that it will take up less space inside the walls. If you do install fiberglass batting, use only one layer of insulation. With foam board, install two layers, overlapping any seams with the second layer. Always add a moisture barrier by stapling sheets of 6 mil thick plastic onto the studs.
Now go ahead and finish your walls as desired with drywall, paneling or modular basement wall material.
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