Basement Insulation 3 - General Preparation

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Dust mask
Pencil and paper
Hole saw
Trouble light
Extension cord
Spackling knife
Circular saw
Steel tape measure
Ramset (rental)
Utility knife
Caulking gun
Staple gun and heavy-duty staples (An alternative tool would be an compressor with a stapling attachment.)
Blowing machine (rental, if you choose air to blow in your insulation)
2 x 4 boards
Tar paper
16 penny nails
Sheet metal flashing
Flexi-vent material
Drain pipe
Duct tape
Fiberglass insulation
Vapor barrier (6 mi. visquine)
Waterproofing sealant
Long, straight board
Closable vents
Rigid foam panels (regular or closed Drain files cell)
2" x 2" furring strips
Sump pump
Soffit ventilation plugs
Shim material
Sheet metal, louvered and screened vent
Continuous ridge vent
2" extruded foam panels
Wind turbine
Construction adhesive (for exterior use and foam panels)

When planning your basement insulation project, there are three key areas that you must include. They are the local zoning codes, the design and layout of your home, and mistakes to avoid. Read this article to fully understand how to plan your basement insulation.

Permits and Codes

Codes for insulation requirements will vary in different parts of the country. A permit may be required in some areas if the cost of the work exceeds $100. Check with your local building inspector. Codes also will indicate required R-factors.


Choose the most effective insulation for a particular situation. The climate, existing insulation, and design of your home will affect your decision.

Most Common Mistakes

Perhaps the most fundamental and often overlooked mistake do-it-yourselfers make when insulating is to neglect determining the most efficient R-value for their area and insulating accordingly.
Not providing for good air circulation between the roof and the insulation is another common pitfall, as is installing fiberglass batting with the paper side (vapor barrier) facing toward the outside instead of toward the heated area.

Do not omit a vapor barrier. It prevents accumulation of moisture between the batting and the underside of the roof or wall. Puncturing the vapor barrier unnecessarily, or neglecting to puncture the vapor barrier of the top batt when installing two layers, must be avoided.

Do not distort, compress, or squeeze the fiberglass batt insulation out of shape, or use paper-faced batting against a heat source like a chimney or heating duct. You must neither neglect to apply the insulation to all of the small spaces and corners, nor should you cover eaves or vents with insulation. Doing so blocks ventilation.

Avoid making unnecessary trips up and down the attic stairs during installation. Assemble all tools and equipment in your work area prior to beginning the job. Be sure to use closed-cell (waterproof), rigid foam insulation panels below grade installations.