By any measure, basements present a challenging environment for insulation. It’s no wonder – basements typically have high levels of moisture; they are completely surrounded by cool ground temperatures; and they present significant potential for air leakage. These are all challenges that must be addressed when insulating, and preferably by a professional insulation contractor. The downsides of a do-it-yourself approach can lead to poor results and the need for re-installation.
Basement walls have high levels of moisture, regardless of the building structure. And because moisture compromises insulation value, it’s critical to select a product that will effectively stop moisture from collecting. As well, it’s equally important to stop air movement. So the idea is to select an insulation approach to “lock out” water vapor and prevent undesirable air movement. For this, many insulation professionals have been recommending the Spray Polyurethane Foam.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is an installation that offers many benefits in a single application. This is why more and more professionals have been suggesting this application as an ideal option for basements. It creates an excellent vapor barrier and air barrier at one time – it makes a space completely airtight – and it actually adds structural stability where installed. More importantly, SPF will provide exceptional R-Value for the basement, and far better than any other product.
Probably the only downside to Spray Polyurethane Foam is the cost of installation. It’s a premium product and therefore more costly. And although cost has improved in recent years, SPF may still not be right for every budget. In terms of cost-benefit, however, this type of project provides long term cost savings on summer and winter energy bills. In fact, the annual savings can often allow for a “payback” period that is quite reasonable. Where possible, SPF is the ultimate insulation.
For homeowners who want to benefit from an SPF application but who also want to maintain a specific project budget, the “hybrid installation” may be the answer. With this approach, SPF is combined with another insulation product in an application that delivers excellent results within a cost-effective budget. And with a professional installation, the basement comprises an effective vapor barrier and air barrier, superior insulation value, and a price tag that fits into the budget.
One of the “hybrid” options available from Great Northern Insulation incorporates SPF insulation with fibreglass insulation batts. This is particularly effective when insulating basement walls. The SPF product is applied initially, and followed with a methodical installation of the fibreglass batts. The products compliment each other well, and together provide optimum results. As for energy savings, the annual savings on heating and cooling will significantly offset the overall project cost.
Basement insulation, done properly, is a big undertaking. And although money can be saved with a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach, the best outcomes are achieved with a professional contractor. The experts do it right the first time: they work according to the building code; they observe local bylaws; and they install based on the manufacturer’s product specifications. In this way, a reliable contractor can guarantee the efficacy of both the product and the installation.