Save Money and Stay Warm With Basement Insulation
Cold basements seem to be a fact of life, but proper basement insulation can turn that huge amount of extra livable space into a desirable and comfortable floor. Sadly, heat naturally rises and on top of that, older homes with historic insulation standards and poor windows lead to uncomfortable settings.
Basement insulation can solve all these issues and more, including lowering your energy bills. Read on to learn more about the pros that come with basement insulation, the costs associated with insulating a basement and how you can choose and install the most appropriate insulation material for your basement.
Why Insulate Your Basement?
Basement insulation is important because it can:
- Keep your basement cool in the summer
- Keep your basement hot in the winter
- Reduce energy costs
- Provide cleaner air in the home
- Prevent mold
According to HomeAdvisor, the biggest issue with basements that are not insulated involves moisture in the air. Moisture can seep through your walls and get trapped in your insulation. If no insulation or the wrong insulation is installed, this process can lead to condensation, which can then lead to mold, rot, and reduced insulation performance. All in all, little or poor insulation isn’t healthy for you—or your wallet.
DIY or Hire A Pro?
Basement insulation is almost always a professional job as it is one of the trickiest places in the home to insulate. However, some of our more active homeowners have installed basement insulation themselves. As always, there are some safety concerns with DIY installation:
- Make sure you cover your mouth and nose
- Wear goggles, gloves and a hat
- Take a shower in cold water following the DIY project, as cold water helps remove fibers that can aggravate the skin
Note that while most homeowners assume professional installation comes with a bigger price tag, the men and women who concentrate on basement insulation can take precise measurements for insulation materials, know how to apply or get around building codes, and finish the job as soon as possible. In the end, it could actually be cheaper to hire a pro.
Types of Insulation
There are various types of insulation. Much like wood for a lodge or flooring for a room, certain choices are better than others.
The most popular type of insulation is fiberglass, which can be purchased as batts or loose fill. Batts are generally easier to install, as they are essentially blankets of insulation that have been woven together. Although fiberglass is relatively inexpensive, it’s very resistant to water damage and is non-flammable. However, due to condensation that can then lead to mold, many professional basement insulation companies avoid fiberglass. More often then not, the pros go with a closed-cell foam or spray foam insulation. Spray foam mixes two chemicals and is applied within the walls with a hose. While it tends to be the insulation of choice, it does not come without its installation issues. Serious problems like smell and health can come up if the job is done incorrectly.
Where to Put Basement Insulation?
At first glance, you might think that basement insulation only applies to the walls. But as you learned in science class years ago, heat rises. Therefore, it seems logical to add insulation to your basement ceiling, as it will keep the hot air in the basement as it tries to seep through to the first floor.
Nonetheless, if given the option, many basement insulation pros prefer wall insulation because:
- Ceiling insulation is harder to install
- There are ducts, ventilation and other units in the ceiling that can help insulate your basement ceiling without professional insulation
- Wall insulation separates your basement from the outside temperature, which tends to much higher or lower than a desired temperature in a home (the difference between your basement and first floor is not as high)
- Wall insulation will save you more on energy costs
All in in all, if you have to pick one, go with wall insulation when insulating your basement.
Window Caulking: Another Alternative
The average price to install insulation is relatively high. Of course, this price will fluctuate based on the room and amount of insulation needed. However, a much cheaper alternative would be to repair or caulk your windows. Of course, window caulking is not as effective as regular basement insulation when it comes to preserving that comfortable temperature or lowering energy costs, but it’s a relatively fast and inexpensive project you can do yourself.
The Costs of Basement Insulation
Like any home remodeling project, the total project will largely depend on the basement at hand. For example, older homes will have to remove old insulation materials, which of course, inflates the price. Additionally, if your basement had a flood or condensation made its way into your old insulation, that material will have to be removed. In the end, the average price to install insulation is $1,363. Bear in mind that this price incorporates all insulation types and areas of the home.
Basement insulation will not only keep the required heat you need to enjoy your basement in the winter, but will also lower your energy costs and give you that extra square footage you wanted when you first purchased the home.