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Making the Basement Livable, Comfortable and Energy Efficient

June 10, 2015

In any home, of any size, the basement space is far too valuable to go to waste. It can easily be used as an additional living room, an extra bedroom, a home office, even a fully self-contained "in-law suite". The important thing is to make it functional and usable. But at the same time, it must be comfortable. And the key to comfort is good insulation - a properly insulated basement is cozy and comfy in the heat of summer and in the cold extremes of winter. Energy conservation is also part of the mix, and with ever-increasing utility costs, saving energy and saving money goes hand-in-hand. With this in mind, insulating the basement has become as critical as insulating other parts of the house. In fact, a basement insulation project might well deliver more in terms of return-on-investment than other, more aesthetic, home improvement projects. The benefits are countless and the payback is meaningful. Insulating the basement with a high quality product is key to conserving energy. A good install will enhance thermal resistance; inhibit indoor/outdoor air transfer; and prevent the accumulation of moisture. The well-insulated basement will also allow the HVAC equipment to operate with greater efficiency, both winter and summer. Bottom line, it means improved energy conservation, and cost savings on seasonal utilities around the year. For the ultimate in basement insulation, the professionals recommend spray foam. It's an application that will encase the basement entirely and serve a number of purposes with one single installation. Properly applied, spray foam acts as an all-in-one air barrier, vapor barrier, and insulator. No other product can seal as well, and no other product can deliver such a high R-Value. It's no wonder that so many experts are recommending spray foam. When it comes to basement insulation, the focus should be on creating an airtight space. And here, the very best outcomes derive from spray foam insulation. Nothing on the market provides the same benefits in one installation. Spray foam is a premium product with a premium installation, and may not suit every budget. But in terms of cost-benefit, the payback period is quite reasonable, and the annual savings on utility bills are significant. Another excellent option for basement insulation is the so-called "hybrid" approach. This is an install that combines the spray foam product and fiberglass "batts" in one application. Here, the spray foam product is installed first, followed by an accompanying installation of fiberglass "batts". The two products compliment each other, and provide excellent long-term benefits. Most important, this "hybrid" approach is very cost effective. Insulating the basement is a major undertaking. That's why it's so important to do it right - with a high quality product, and an expert installation. And while spray foam insulation is undoubtedly the best approach, the "hybrid" approach is an ideal second option. The spray foam provides the sealing and insulating, and the "batts" provide enhanced R-Value. Together, these products deliver superb value, and excellent return-on-investment.

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Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.

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