Insulating Basement Walls With Spray Foam

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Spray Foam Insulation for Basement Walls

Basement Spray Foam Insulation 300x200 Insulating Basement Walls With Spray FoamI’ve written quite a few posts on Insulating Basement Walls using rigid foam board insulation. In this article I’d like to share several other sites that discuss using spray foam insulation for basement walls. Spray foam insulation is in my opinion the best option for basement walls if you can afford it.

Evaluating Insulation Options

Fred over at One Project Closer is preparing to insulate his basement in preparation for a new finished family area. He has written all about his Basement Insulation Options including his selection of spray foam insulation.

Spray Foam Insulation Examples

Two of the house blogs that I read have both featured recent basement insulation projects that used spray foam. Shane over at Shane and Casey has been working on insulating his basement with spray foam. Shane is using a hybrid approach of 1-inch spray foam to seal things up followed by fiberglass insulation. He’s got some great photos and advice based on their experience. Over at groogsblog Greg recently had his basement insulated using spray foam as well. He’s got some great before and after photos and shares his experience with the process as well.

Spray Foam Insulation Cost Analysis

Finally I found some an interesting spray foam insulation cost analysis that Josh put together over at Bungalow Twenty-Three. He compares the price of spray foam to fiberglass insulation based on several contractor bids. If you’re trying to get a better understanding of the price comparison I suggest you read his article.

Photo Credit: Shane & Casey

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16 Comments »

  • Shane says:

    You should have shown Greg’s photos! I think he has to have at least another foot of height in his basement. But I definitely agree with you, spray foam insulation is wonderful. Good article for those who aren’t familiar with it.

  • Chris says:

    If you use spray foam insulation, do you just spray it directly on the concrete walls with no preparation? Any condensation or mold concerns?

    • Todd says:

      You definitely just spray it directly on the concrete or block. You need to repair any large cracks prior to installation but that’s it. Foam actually locks out moisture and prevents warm moist air from hitting the cold concrete therefore preventing condensation.

      • James says:

        Can it be sprayed on to damp walls or do they need to be dry for the foam to stick?

      • James says:

        If you use spray foam to lock out the moisture, is there any chance of a block wall foundation having structural problems because it can’t dry properly? Or, can it dry properly without drying to the inside?

        Thanks,

        • Todd says:

          James – Block walls don’t need to “dry out”. All concrete products are actually in a more favorable structural “state” when wet as water is a key component in making cement hydrate to create cement (I know…way too technical).

          However, block walls sometimes have trouble with water being trapped inside the open cells (when the cells are not 100% grouted). In that case it’s sometimes better to get the water out (weep holes) than to hold it in the cell where it slowly permeates through the thin concrete walls of the block. By sealing it up with foam it really does alleviate this issue but you HAVE to use closed cell foam.

          I hope that helps.

  • Derek says:

    Is spray foam and polycel insulation the same? What is the R-value?

  • Peter says:

    When you framed your walls, how far did you keep the studs from the foundation? It is hard to tell from Greg’s pics, but I would assume that you kept at least an inch so the spray foam could provide a barrier between the foundation and the studs. By the way, this site is great!!!

  • jerome says:

    I have a house that is around 90 years old. The brick seems to have cracks in some of joints, and was recently sprayed for mold after I had some work done. I am looking to frame a room up, and am curious what the best type of insulation would be, and if there is anything else I need to do to prepare the wall for this. As far as I can see there is not a major water issue it is just a very old basement.

  • Jeff says:

    This is a pretty great site – I’ve learned a lot about insulation already – thanks for all the great content Todd!

    I’m looking to finish my walkout basement this year, which has both concrete walls and stud-framed walls (currently with R19 fiberglass batts). It was so cold/drafty this winter in the basement, that I’m considering re-insulating the stud-framed walls, but the cost of spray foaming both concrete & stud-frame is pretty high.

    If I could choose to foam either the concrete walls or the stud-framed walls, which would be more beneficial? Are there other strategies to use both spray & rigid to help keep overall cost lower?

    Either way I go, I plan to also frame off the concrete walls and add R13 fiberglass batts to help insulate.

    Thanks again!

    • Todd says:

      Jeff – Thanks for the kind words. Before you do anything I suggest you read this: http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/how-to-insulate-basement-walls/
      The trick is effective air sealing and vapor barriers. You should also read this so you understand the reason for the foam: http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/vapor-barriers-for-basement-insulation/

      If it were my home, and I was being careful about budget, I’d spray the existing stud walls and rim joist. Then I would insulate the concrete walls with foam board as shown in the articles above. Good luck.

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks so much for the reply Todd.

        I read those articles again & something you said got me thinking: The trick is effective air sealing and vapor barriers.

        My basement has poured concrete, molded to have a faux brick face, so the surface is bumpy and has grooves in between “bricks”. I haven’t found much information on how to create a good seal on that type of surface. Some YouTube videos show rigid foam being placed on that type of surface, but they don’t talk much about how the surface contacts the foam.

        Is it important to have a good seal against the cement, or are you talking about getting a good seal between foam boards with tape & spray-foaming at the top/bottom?

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