You can install foam insulation board on the walls of a basement to keep it cool or to warm it up. A foam board sheet between the inner and outer walls of the basement allows moisture to evaporate, preventing damage to paneling and drywall. Foam board has various thickness and R values. It is easy to install and does not need any special equipment. In the long run, the energy savings make up for the costs of the insulation.
Foam insulation board is available in several different types. One’s choice depends on the R value needed and where it will be installed. The least costly is called MEPS. It has the lowest rated R value and is difficult to work with sine it distorts and breaks quite easily.
The foam board that is easiest to work with and that has the highest density is XEPS. It does not soak up moisture as quickly. There are many requirements on how to use and install foam board because of moisture and fire concerns. Before you install it, check your local building codes.
Step 1 - Connect the Screws
Use masonry screws to place furring strips around the floor of the concrete wall on the basement. Twist the 3-inch side to the wall and leave a space between the screws of at least 6-inches. Connect furring strips at the top of the wall with the same spacing of the screws.
Step 2 - Connect Furring Strips
In a corner, fasten two furring strips. Connect them to the top and bottom strips. There should be one strip on every wall, shaping the corner. From the corner, measure 16-inches and mark them with a vertical chalk line.
Continue this procedure all along the wall to the next corner. Connect a furring strip to the wall making the chalk line as the midpoint. Connect using masonry screws and continue until every wall has the furring strips installed.
Step 3 - Cut Foam Insulation Board
Gauge between the furring strips and cut the foam board to fit tightly in the middle of the furring strips. Use a straightedge and a sharp knife to make clean cuts.
Apply construction adhesive to the wall between the furring strips using a caulking gun; make a curve line from top to bottom. Push the foam board into the adhesive, putting pressure securely down the face of the board to assure proper adhesion. Spread the adhesive until every vacant spot between the furring strips is covered.
Step 4 - Cover the Walls
Wrap the walls in construction plastic taut and staple it to the furring strips. The plastic creates a moisture barrier and is needed prior to installing the paneling or drywall.