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Insulating Basement Walls

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Insulating Basement Walls

An insulated basement makes the space more comfortable and helps keep upper floors warmer too. Rigid foam is available in both urethane and polystyrene (plastic foam) in thicknesses from 1/2 inch to 2 inches. Urethane is more expensive but is easier to work with and is the better insulator. Both are flammable and must be covered by 1/2 inch drywall. If you like the look of wood paneling, apply it over the drywall. If you don't want to install drywall, build a regular 2x4 stud wall and insulate with fiberglass between studs.

7 Steps

  1. INSULATE BETWEEN THE JOISTS
  2. TAPE PLASTIC VAPOuR BARRIER TO WALL
  3. NAIL FURRING STRIPS OVER VAPOuR BARRIER
  4. CUT PIECES TO FIT BETWEEN HORIZONTAL STRIPS
  5. CUT THE PANELS TO FIT BETWEEN THE STRIPS
  1. CLAMP JIG IN PLACE WITH WIDE EDGE
  2. SECURE, TAPE AND FINISH DRYWALL
Show all steps »
INSULATE BETWEEN THE JOISTS

Step 1

INSULATE BETWEEN THE JOISTS

Before you insulate on the walls, insulate the spaces between the joists above the foundation. Wearing a mask and protective clothing, use a utility knife to cut fiberglass insulation to fit between the joists; pack loosely in place. Compressing insulation will reduce its ability to do its job.

TAPE PLASTIC VAPOR BARRIER TO WALL

Step 2

TAPE PLASTIC VAPOuR BARRIER TO WALL

Tape a plastic vapour barrier to the wall to keep out moisture that may seep into the basement. The furring strips you will add in the next step will hold the plastic in place permanently.

NAIL FURRING STRIPS OVER VAPOR BARRIER

Step 3

NAIL FURRING STRIPS OVER VAPOuR BARRIER

Nail 1x3 furring strips both horizontally and vertically over the vapour barrier. The horizontal strips bridge irregularities in the wall; the vertical ones support the edge of the drywall. Nail or screw the horizontal strips in place first, spacing them so that the foam insulation will fit snugly in between.

CUT PIECES TO FIT BETWEEN HORIZONTAL STRIPS

Step 4

CUT PIECES TO FIT BETWEEN HORIZONTAL STRIPS

Between the horizontal strips, and position them so that they will support the edges of the drywall. Check the grid of 1x3s with a straightedge, and shim as necessary to make sure the 1x3s form a flat surface. Also use a level to make sure the furring strips are plumb.

CUT THE PANELS TO FIT BETWEEN THE STRIPS

Step 5

CUT THE PANELS TO FIT BETWEEN THE STRIPS

Cut the panels to fit between the 1x3s. Make a jig to simplify the job. Begin by screwing a wide board to a narrow board. You'll guide the saw edge away from the blade along the narrow board's edge, rather than trying to follow a drawn line.

CLAMP JIG IN PLACE WITH WIDE EDGE
CLAMP JIG IN PLACE WITH WIDE EDGE

Step 6

CLAMP JIG IN PLACE WITH WIDE EDGE

To use the jig, clamp it in place with the wide edge on the layout line. Guide the saw along the narrow edge. Once you've cut the panels, tape them in place until you put up the drywall.

SECURE, TAPE AND FINISH DRYWALL

Step 7

SECURE, TAPE AND FINISH DRYWALL

Screw the drywall in place, and tape and finish it. If you're going to apply paneling over the drywall, leave the drywall unfinished and untaped and nail the paneling over it with 3d nails.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Intermediate

Time: 2 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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