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Basement Insulation in Markham

Basements used to be vacant space for the most part.  The laundry room was down there; the furnace and air conditioner were there; and the water heater was tucked in somewhere. Very few basements were actually finished, and very few basements were set up as living space. In fact, the walls were bare, without any insulation, and without any drywall. But in more recent years, the basement has become more and more used, and we now consider that space as additional living space.

Today’s basements are now livable - perhaps a second living room; a home-based office; a separate bedroom; even an additional in-law suite. The fact is, those basement spaces must now provide some comfort. That’s why insulating the basement walls is such a necessity. And with heating and cooling costs always rising, a well-insulated basement will conserve energy from one season to the next, and will contribute to lower utility costs, especially during the extremes of winter and summer.

The typical homeowner doesn’t give much focus to insulating the basement. This is wrong because the basement should be insulated to the same degree as the rest of the house. One might even say that insulating basement walls is more important - after all, the basement is a unique physical space. For those who are considering basement insulation in Markham, there is much benefit to properly sealing, insulating and ventilating the space, and it goes well beyond reducing heating and cooling costs.

Properly insulating the basement walls has a number of advantages - thermal resistance is improved; the transfer of indoor/outdoor air is better regulated; and the accumulation of moisture is better controlled. A properly insulated basement allows the entire HVAC system (heat, air and ventilation) to operate with more efficiency - it will make the space more comfortable - it will contribute to energy conservation - and it reduce seasonal utility bills.

Would it be worthwhile to insulate the basement walls?

Insulating basement walls, when done properly, is worthwhile. This is a practical home improvement that can reduce energy bills during summer and winter months. The benefits are wide ranging, but would certainly be more evident in those regions where seasonal weather is more extreme.

What do the professionals recommend for the basement?

In Canada, research has shown that the cost-benefit of insulating the basement is directly linked to the R-Value installed. Research results vary with basement layout, insulation product installed, and installation technique – but bottom line, the higher the R-Value, the better.

What are the cost savings when insulating basement walls?

Needless to say, annual savings are relative to the size of the basement space; the R-Value of the insulation; and the geographic location of the home. Without exaggeration, insulation experts agree that when the product is good (and installed professionally) annual energy savings are substantial.

What are the product specifications for basement insulation?

Depending on the region, there may be a building code requirement for insulating basement walls. The best is to rely on a reputable contractor to advise on a product and installation that is best suited for the project. Clearly, new construction will be governed by different rules and regulations.

Should the basement wall be insulated from inside or outside?

Contractors have differing opinions, although most would agree that the physical set up of the house would dictate the approach. Indeed, there are pros and cons to insulating from the inside or outside. For the homeowner, budget may dictate the appropriate course of action.

Before insulating the basement, is preparation required?

Before insulating the basement, it’s important to establish whether there is any water entry. Water entry problems are troubling and must be solved before insulation work is commenced. And subject to the severity of the problem, a solution may well turn into a project with some scope.

How do the hard-to-reach areas get properly insulated?

Every basement has hard-to-reach areas, and these are always difficult to insulate properly. The best option for these areas is spray foam. There are no other products that will effectively reach and cover these areas.  With total coverage, spray foam will seal, insulate, and create a vapor barrier at once.

For homeowners considering basement insulation in Markham, the project should always start by making the space airtight. Based on this premise, a good contractor will make recommendations for the right product and install for the job. Ideally, basement floors should be properly insulated – just like other parts of the home. Here, the very best approach is a preliminary coating of spray foam, followed with a concrete layer on top. Where a project budget will allow for this, it’s the best install.

Basement walls also require an airtight envelope. This will restrict the movement of air and inhibit moisture from collecting. Here, the best application by far starts with spray foam coverage first, and follows with the installation of fiberglass “batts”.  In combination, these two products will perform far better than other products. The spray foam coverage will create a vapor barrier PLUS air barrier PLUS insulation layer, while the “batts” provide additional R-Value that is effective and affordable.

The basic idea for insulating the basement is to conserve energy. At the same time, the expectation is to reduce heating and cooling costs. Here, the best results are derived with spray foam insulation, and insulation experts are endorsing the product more and more. However, a spray foam application can be costly, so the combination approach of “batts” AND foam has become an excellent alternative. The payback period on project costs is very reasonable, making the overall endeavor worthwhile.

Insulating the basement is a home improvement project for the long term. For many, combining the fiberglass “batts” with a spray foam application is the ideal. And the results are superb: the basement becomes airtight; there’s an effective air and moisture barrier; and the spray foam envelope brings an R-Value that’s higher than any other product. For a typical homeowner, annual energy savings are considerable, and utility bills are significantly reduced.

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