Properly Insulating the Basement Has Important Benefits
May 19, 2015
North American basements were originally allocated for additional storage space, the water heater and furnace, and maybe a small workbench area. As it turned out, the basement also became a dumping ground for everything that wouldn't comfortably fit upstairs in the house. We seem to be smarter today, realizing that the basement is actually very valuable space. For many of us, basements are fully finished - adding living space that is roomy and comfortable. Seasonal comfort, especially in the northern climes, is something entirely different. And most of us don't understand how essential it is to properly insulate the basement. It's as important as the rest of the house, and with just as many payoffs. A properly insulated basement space can reduce heating and cooling costs measurably; can better balance the heating and cooling cycles from one season to the next; and can avert the formation of mold and mildew. There are various insulation products that can be installed in the basement, although spray foam has quickly become the "product-of-choice" for professional contractors. Spray foam has been used in attics and roofs for decades, but has proven itself equally for the basement. For a number of reasons, basements have challenges that are unique to the space. As it turns out, spray foam insulation addresses those challenges much better than any other product. Spray foam does more in one single application that any other product on the market. It provides better R-Value insulation; it prevents moisture collection; and it effectively inhibits the movement of air. Most importantly, a proper spray foam application seals the basement walls completely - it prevents heat and cool loss; it allows for the HVAC unit to work more efficiently; and overall, it reduces energy consumption, and therefore reduces energy costs. In the basement, effective insulating is dependent on effective sealing. And to make sure the space is totally airtight, the most effective application is spray foam. An expert installer can seal up all the walls, the crawl spaces, and every little opening and hole. Even the hard-to-reach spaces can be sealed tight. Quite simply, there's no other insulation product, or mix of products that can compare with the effectiveness of a good spray foam install. Spray foam insulation is truly multi-purpose, which is why professional contractors are so impressed. It performs as an excellent air barrier, a superior moisture barrier, and the top-rated insulator. There is no requirement to pre-install a freestanding vapor barrier, which saves both product and labor costs. Finally, spray foam adds structural strength where its applied, adding to the many benefits when used for the basement walls. Although spray foam insulation is a more costly undertaking when it's compared to other applications, the benefits (both short-term and long-term) far outweigh the upfront cost. This is a home improvement investment: it lasts a lifetime; it requires no maintenance; and it never needs to be replaced or replenished. Professionally installed, spray foam insulation will deliver years of seasonal comfort, along with impressive energy cost savings.