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Basement Insulation in Etobicoke

For years, basements were just vacant space, used for the laundry room, the furnace room, the water heater, and storage. Few basements were finished, and few basements were allocated to living space. In most cases the walls were made of cement, without insulation, and without drywall. It was usually cold and wet and often musty down there. But during the last half-century, basements have become valuable spaces –finished living spaces that allow for substantial square footage beyond the upstairs.

Today, a basement is truly livable – it could be another living room; an office; another bedroom; even an “in-law suite”. But a livable basement also means having a comfortable basement, which is exactly why insulating the basement walls is necessary. These days, with heating and air-conditioning costs on the rise, an insulated basement can provide comfort and energy conservation at the same time. For homeowners thinking about basement insulation in Etobicoke, it all means reduced utility costs.

The average homeowner in North America doesn’t put enough emphasis on insulating the basement. This is counter-intuitive – in fact, the basement of the home should be as well insulated as the rest of the home. Some professionals maintain that insulating the basement walls is more important than the upstairs. Indeed, basements are unique spaces, and should be sealed, insulated and ventilated like any other space. In the end, insulating the basement does more than just reduce the utility costs.

There is much to say about insulating the basement walls properly. And there are benefits: thermal resistance is upgraded; indoor and outdoor air transfer is better controlled; and moisture buildup is limited. When a basement is properly insulated, the HVAC system (heat, air, ventilation) operates at greater efficiency; the indoor space is more comfortable; and energy conservation from one season to the next is enhanced. A well-insulated basement will deliver measurable cost savings year round.

How worthwhile would it be to insulate the basement?

Without doubt, insulating the basement walls is a worthwhile project, with visible rewards. This is a home improvement project guaranteed to reduce energy bills during the winter heating season and throughout the summer cooling season.  And in regions where weather is extreme, it’s just essential.

What do insulation professionals suggest for basements?

Canadian research confirms that the cost benefits of basement insulation are linked to the R-Value - in other words, higher R-Values deliver better outcomes. Results will also vary, based on the specific basement layout; the insulation product that is installed; and the installation method employed.

Are there actual cost savings with basement insulation?

Cost savings on seasonal utilities will be based on a number of variables: size of basement; insulation product installed; R-Value of insulation; and geographic location. The experts agree that with a good product and a professional installation, the annual cost savings will be significant and worthwhile.

Are there install specifications for basement insulation?

There may be building code specifications for insulating the basement walls, depending on where the home is located. A reliable contractor can advise on the best product choice and installation method for the project. In most cases, new home construction will have a different set of specifications.

Should basements be insulated from outside or inside?

Different contractors have different opinions. However, most agree that the physical condition of the home will dictate the methodology. Clearly, there are pluses and minuses to each approach, and the contractor can advise on these. But for most homeowners the budget may dictate the methodology.

Prior to insulating, does the basement need preparing?

Prior to insulating, it’s vital to assess whether there is any water entry into the basement. Problems related to water entry are troublesome and have to be resolved prior to any insulation work being done. Depending on the gravity of the specific problem, this could easily become a big project.

How do the hard-to-reach spots get effectively insulated?

All basements have hard-to-reach spots. They are usually difficult to access, and just as difficult to insulate. The best option here is spray foam insulation. No other product will reach or cover those hard-to-reach spots like spray foam - it seals, insulates, and creates a vapor barrier all in one install.

For those homeowners who are considering basement insulation in Etobicoke, the priority should be to make the space airtight. A reliable insulation contractor will suggest a product and application that best suits the job. To begin with, the basement floor should be just as well insulated as any other part of the home. For this, the best approach is a base of spray foam insulation, followed by a layer of concrete on top. Where the project budget will allow, this is the very best installation of all.

The basement walls must also be airtight. With an airtight envelope, airflow is inhibited, as well as the accumulation of moisture. For basement walls, the best approach includes a preliminary spray foam install, followed by the installation of fiberglass “batts”.  Together, these products will perform better than any other product combination. The spray foam will create a vapor barrier, an air barrier, and an insulation layer, while the “batts” will provide additional R-Value at an affordable cost.

Insulating the basement is about conserving energy. As well, there’s an expectation of reducing both heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Here, the very best outcomes will come with a spray foam installation. In fact, more and more installers are recommending spray foam for the basement. Because spray foam can be costly, the hybrid approach using spray foam and “batts” is a good option. The results are excellent; the benefits are long term; and the payback period is reasonable.

For many homeowners, the hybrid approach that combines fiberglass “batts” and spray foam is the ideal approach. And because insulating the basement is a major undertaking, it’s important to do it right. The results of the hybrid approach are exceptional: the basement is now airtight; an air and moisture barrier has been created; and the spray foam provides extra high R-Values. Overall, annual energy savings are realized, and seasonal utility bills are reduced significantly.

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