What’s going on down in the basement?

So, is spring is around the corner?  Here in northern Vermont the temperatures have been rapidly climbing across most of the north country.  Much if not all of the snow is gone.  Let’s not forget that today it is the first of March and spring has not arrived!  This is still a great time to be thinking and working on keeping your home here in Vermont warm and comfortable in winter.

Many older homes have not done anything in the basement as far as insulation is concerned.  Newer homes are required to insulate and increase Energy Efficiency of the basement area.  The following things are important

  • Preparation is critical and needs to be done carefully so that drywall can be installed:
    • Moisture control – The foundation needs to have been properly water proofed on the outside, that would prevent water/moisture from coming into the basement. 
    • When concrete is poured the forms are held together with “Ties” that are typically made out of a low-grade steel and they hold the forms together as the concrete is poured.  Some of the “Ties” if they are not properly waterproofed on the outside will allow water to penetrate the concrete wall and come inside.  If that is the case it is necessary to drive the tie outward creating a small in-dent in the concrete wall
    • Using Hydraulic Cement, the “holes” created by leaking ties are filled and the Hydraulic Cement expands as it dries and seals everything.
    • Now we have completed the preparation of the cement wall
  • There are many types of insulation that can be used but today we will limit this conversation to the use of Polystyrene Foam.  The R-Value of Polystyrene Foam is typically R-5 per inch. 
    • Foam panels that are available in virtually every lumber yard usually are a 2’ x 8’ panel that they go together and foam a tight seal.
    • The Foam panels are secured to the concrete wall with an adhesive that is specifically designed for this single application.   Note – be sure to always use the correct adhesive so that you do not harm the foam.
  • How do we attach Drywall / sheetrock to the foam?  An easy but very effective way is to use 1” thick lumber installed horizontally; typically 4 or 5 rows.  There are several ways to “nail” the lumber through the foam and on into the concrete, you can seek advice on the best application for you house from your local lumber yard.
  • Using the horizontal “strapping” it is a good idea to attach another layer of strapping that goes vertically, all installed 16” on-center.  Those Vertical pieces of lumber are what you will attach the sheetrock to using everyday common techniques.

This scenario of rigid foam, strapping, and sheetrock is one of the quickest and easiest ways to insulate your basement whether your home is in Grand Isle or Greensboro.  If you properly insulate your basement your home will be a lot more energy efficient.

Let us know what you have done or what you plan on doing, we’d love to hear from you.  Give us a call at 802.985-5855 or join in the Facebook conversation.

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