What is the best way to install insulation when basement finishing?

Basement finishing can be a rewarding experience. A space that was once used for seasonal storage and decorations can be brought to life with fresh carpet, fixtures and appliances in the form of a secondary living space or rental apartment. The dreams of a fully furnished basement renovation start with the foundation and how you install the insulation. Basements in Toronto can get cold during the winter and tend to stay cooler in the warmer months which can contribute to condensation. This is a killer for basements. Depending on your level of handiwork, you might consider bringing in a professional contractor like The Reno Pros to create some insulated walls in your basement, but if you elect to do the work yourself, you have to consider the following steps to ensure the work is installed properly and will effectively keep moisture out.
  1. Moisture barrier – This is an inch thick polystyrene panel that you will use industrial strength adhesive to glue to the concrete foundation walls. It will effectively prevent moisture from entering the space between the drywall and foundation wall as you proceed with the project.
  1. Sole and Top wall plate installations – These 2×4’s will run parallel along the bottom and top of your foundation walls and you will glue down the sole plate and nail it in with special concrete nails. The Top wall plate should be attached to the ceiling joists from the upper floor. These will provide a solid point for attaching your wall studs.
  1. Wall stud framework – The next step is gluing the vertical wall studs in place with adhesive. Heavy duty adhesive along the edge adjacent to the moisture barrier and at each connection between the top and sole plates will hold the studs in place while you nail them in. They should be spaced 18”-24” apart to ensure stability. Some homeowners find it easier to build this framework on the ground and then place it on the wall in one piece which makes it easier to nail together but may require two people or more to position it.
  1. Electrical boxes – You will need the assistance of an electrician for this part. Sit down with them and plan your switches, outlets and fixtures so this can all be incorporated before you go any further. Wiring this space will take a day or so and the electrician should be able to install breakers on the breaker box with relative ease.
  1. Insulating the space – When all studs, electrical boxes and wiring is in place, you can begin the process of applying insulation on top of the moisture barrier. The ideal material is fiberglass, and generally comes in rolls. Always remember to where protective goggles and a mask for preventing the inhalation of the fiberglass particles – they can damage your lungs. After filling the vertical space between the studs, you can begin sealing the space.
  1. Drywall – This is an easy step, but general requires a partner. The reason for this is that drywall can be cumbersome and heavy, so having an extra set of hand to hold it in place while you screw it in will speed up the process. 3/8” drywall is standard and provides a final barrier between you and the elements.

At this point all that is needed to complete your basement finishing insulation project is to apply tape and mud to the walls along the drywall seams for sanding, priming and painting. Basements in Toronto will definitely feel warmer with nice insulated walls over the cold exterior foundation. Basement renovations would never be considered complete without this necessary part of the project.