Insulating your Basement

Last year we started a series on Air Sealing that took a look at some of the basics like; how to find the leaks inside your house, what tools and basic materials required to air seal your house, and some tips & tricks on how to seal up the air leaks inside your house & some common ones outside. After taking a brief hiatus from the series, we are looking forward to finishing it during this coming year. To help us get it kick started, we would like to introduce Ethan & the crew from One Project Closer.

I originally met Ethan on Twitter, and then in person at last year’s Remodeling Show, which was being held in their hometown of Baltimore. Ethan along with Fred & their wives are avid DIYers (that put some “pro’s” to shame) and provide a ton of good advice on many subjects related to that on their site (for the full history – click here). Last month, I noticed they had a new article & video up on spray foam for basements & decided to take a quick look. I have to admit, that is about the best video I have seen made yet on the pros and cons of each type of system and the real benefits of using it. After shooting them a quick tweet, they graciously allowed us to repost it here, so with no further ado…

We love sharing unique experiences with our readers and I think today’s post is a real treat! Fred and I had the pleasure of filming Hottle Energy Solutions as they insulated Fred’s basement with spray foam. We worked hard to put out a really comprehensive, high-quality video that will address many different aspects of spray foam installation.

There are several different options for insulating your basement and ultimately Fred & Kim chose spray foam. Spray foam is a great choice because it expands to fill tough-to-access space creating a more complete seal than fiberglass insulation. Closed cell foam also has very high R-values, acts as a moisture / vapor barrier and is mold resistant.

This video (9:50) contains a lot of information. We were able to interview the contractor, learn about his equipment, discuss safety concerns, and address some popular spray foam questions. Here are some of the highlights:

  • When to have spray foam installed (0:57)
  • The difference between open and closed cell foam (1:58)
  • The equipment a contractor uses to install the foam (2:35)
  • Preparing for spray foam (3:43)
  • Pros / Cons of do-it-yourself kits (4:15)
  • Necessary safety gear (5:34)
  • Health concerns with spray foam (6:13 & 8:27)
  • Open cell foam installation (6:32)
  • Closed cell foam installation (7:40)
  • Final verdict (8:51)

All in all guys, I must say that is one of the best videos I have seen on this subject, with some great points made. If I had to nit-pick though – 3” is not enough in every climate zone & I actually prefer 4” or what is commonly called 2 lifts down here. In the northern climates, you are looking at 3 lifts or 6” to prevent any heating / condensation issues.

To read more about this topic on One Project Closer’s site:

On the HTRC: Building Green Homes Series – Insulation

  • Ethan@OPC

    Hey Sean! It’s a real compliment to run our spray foam post. It was a ton of fun to film and I appreciate the kind words (and the nit-pick!).

    • SLS Construction

      Well then, theres the… Just kidding you – thanks again for allowing us to repost it and great job