Homeowners face lots of problems when insulating the basement. This area faces problems like condensation, fluctuating water tables, rotting walls, heat loss, thermal shock, radon gas infiltration, surface flood, water leakage from damaged pipes, mold and mildew. These conditions make the basement area unlivable and uncomfortable. It poses serious damage risk to the structural materials of the house. Moisture entering the concrete can damage the walls and ceiling. Plaster, wood planks and other materials are at risk of damage due to the water seepage. Insulation for damp basements should be done only by trained insulation technicians.
Understanding the Risk of Moisture in Concrete
Many people think concrete as a hard and non-porous material. However, it has microscopic voids that retain water coming from moisture and condensation. Even when the concrete surface is sealed and given a smooth finish, there is still some risk of water entering the concrete due to condensation and cracks here and there. It can pull up moisture from the ground due to capillary effect. This makes it difficult to apply the insulation material in this area properly. The insulation job must be handled by an experienced insulation installer or the problem will persist.
Selecting the Right Insulation Material Is the Key
The success of the basement insulation depends on the type and quality of insulation material selected for it. Any insulation material selected for this project must be installed properly by trained insulation technicians. The materials selected for this purpose must prevent mold growth and stop moisture movement. Foam insulation is preferred for this purpose. Cellulose is also a good option. Spray foam is preferred because it locks out water vapor. It prevents water entering from the basement wall to the finished surface facing the interior side of the room. It offers high structural stability, high R value and a great vapor barrier. It fully covers wires, pipes and other utility items.
Using Foam Board Insulation for Damp Basements, it is the next best solution after the spray foam. This cheaper alternative is suitable for places where the house owner does not want to invest a large amount of money in the insulation project. It does its job of insulation well but the owner has to ensure foam boards of correct thickness are installed. Foam boards with 2-4 inches thickness are sufficient for most basement insulation. The right sealing material should be used to seal all joints. Some amount of spray foam can be used here to cover the utility items and seal all gaps completely.
Other insulation options for damp basements include hybrid foam and fiberglass. Basements with no obvious signs of water seepage are perfect for this insulation. However, these insulation materials should not be used for basements that face a high risk of water seepage.