The biggest mistake of homeowners is to have finished basements framed with wood walls in direct contact with the concrete foundation walls and the cavities of the framing filled with fiberglass insulation. This type of basement always leads to a serious mold problem and has a potential risk for family health. If you look at concrete under a microscope you will be amazed to see how many small voids or “pores” exist in it. Concrete acts like a bad sponge whose pores contain lots of condensed water. The concrete in your basement is fully saturated and full of water, therefore, there should be done proper insulation of your basement walls.
The key factor of successful insulation of your basement walls lies in the correct choice of insulating materials that stop moisture movement and prevent mold growth. The perfect option for basements is certainly foam type insulation products.
- Spray foam
It is the most appropriate insulation material for basements and damp areas, perfect for locking “out” the water vapor that wants to migrate from your damp basement walls to your finished basement rooms. It has several advantages including great vapor barrier, additional structural stability, besides, it easily covers pipes/ wires and other utilities and provides exception R-values. The drawbacks of spray foam include its high price and a mess during installation. If you can afford both the cost and mess then this is the most effective insulation product.
- Foam Board
This method is used the most frequently and perfect for DIY. It is more affordable than spray foam. As there are a great variety of foam board products it is important to choose the correct thickness depending on local energy code requirements. This kind is useful for adding not only temperature control but structural stability to a home as well.
- Hybrid system of foam board and fiberglass.
The least expensive method that can be used only in finished basements without visual signs of water infiltration. It can be easily installed with nails or an adhesive. The key factor here is to choose the proper R-value based on local energy code.
All of these methods are actual in case if your basement does not have any serious water problems. The goal of foam insulation installation is to separate the damp concrete or block from framing and insulation products that promote mold growth.