Should You Insulate Basement Floor? [Inc. Existing Floor]

As you’re looking at your bare basement floor, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to install insulation to make the space warmer than before. We researched this concern for your convenience, and here’s what we found.

You should insulate your basement floor regardless of its current state. Take note that insulation material options exist for the floor’s existing and rough stages. Increasing the flooring’s thermal resistance can supply the space with benefits like:

  • Increased comfort
  • Reduced costs
  • Prevent condensation

The advantages might also vary based on the insulation used. Continue reading as we talk about these benefits in greater detail. We’ll also tackle some insulation options you can use for your basement floor.

Work composed of mineral wool insulation in the floor, floor heating insulation , warm house, eco-friendly insulation, a builder at work - Should You Insulate Basement Floor [Inc. Existing Floor]

Is It Worth Insulating A Basement Floor?

Unfinished view on concrete floor construction of basement empty under construction of residential home

Insulating a basement floor may have certain benefits. Take note that the benefits might be different based on certain factors like the flooring’s material.

Still, you and other household members may enjoy the following:

  • Increased comfort: Basement floor insulation can help increase heat for the space, providing additional coziness during the cold season.
  • Reduced costs: The increase in temperature may help reduce furnace usage, resulting in reduced energy expenses.
  • Prevent condensation: Basement insulation may also help reduce moisture-related problems by inhibiting condensation production.

You might also be wondering if insulation can help with cooling. If so, read our post on that topic to learn the answer.

Should You Insulate An Existing Basement Floor?

Installing insulation over an existing basement floor may also have unique benefits, such as:

  • Allows homeowners to check and repair cracks, gaps, and holes in the flooring.
  • Treat mild to significant water management concerns for the immediate space.
  • Replace flooring material with new units to fix issues caused by other underlying problems.

What Can I Use To Insulate My Basement Floor?

part of a basement or Finished Basement

Multiple options exist to insulate your basement floor. But the choices often differ depending on whether you’re going to insulate a bare or existing floor.

In this section, you’ll learn some of these choices so you can make an informed decision by the end of this post:

Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

Wall-to-wall carpet’s insulation value often varies depending on variables like its material and thickness. But its thermal resistance may also be up to 10 times more efficient than a bare floor.

For example, a 10-centimeter basement concrete floor may have an R-value of 0.07. Adding a 1-centimeter wall-to-wall carpet to that existing flooring may increase the setup's R-value to 0.18.

Carpet also comes in a variety of designs, allowing you to customize the look of your basement while increasing the space’s coziness. These additional flooring options may also help provide sufficient cushioning during falls or slips.

However, carpet is often quite challenging to take care of and clean. Generally, you need to have your carpet deep-cleaned at least once every 12 to 18 months. But the frequency of cleaning and maintaining this flooring and insulating material can increase if you have pets or live in a relatively dusty area.

Check out this wall-to-wall carpet flooring on Amazon.

Also, watch this video to learn how to clean carpet:

Polyurethane Spray

Close up view of technician dressed in a protective white uniform spraying foam insulation using Plural Component Spray Gun. Spraying polyurethane foam for roof and energy saving

Also called polyurethane spray foam, this insulation material is generally ideal to install while the basement floor is still in its rough-in stage. Homeowners can also choose between open- and closed-cell variants, which offer distinct advantages and drawbacks.

Here are quick explanations of these two polyurethane spray insulation options:

Closed-Cell Polyurethane Foam (CCPF)

CCPF is like inflating tires within a basement floor’s construction. These 'cells' will become inflated using a special gas that provides reasonable thermal resistance when dried. This polyurethane insulation option can also supply the basement with R values from 7 to 8.

But the gas used to inflate CCPF may dissipate over time. Although standard air will replace this gas, the efficacy of the material may also deteriorate. However, this reduction in thermal resistance might only be quite small, unless the CCPF sustained damage.

Open-Cell Polyurethane Foam (OCPF)

Unlike CCPF, OCPF is a softer material that allows air to fill the cells. It’s also usually a low-cost alternative to CCPF. However, the open-cell nature also makes it possess a lower thermal resistance.

Still, OCPF might be a good option for basement floors with unique architecture and construction thanks to its flexibility. This trait also helps prevent the insulation material from acquiring cracks and holes, which often occur more on CCPF.

Check out this polyurethane foam insulation on Amazon.

Radiant Floor Heating

Pipefitter install system of underfloor heating system at home.

You may install this insulation option in a basement floor if the flooring already exists or not. However, you should be able to access the subfloor to install this system properly.

Also, there are two relatively common types of radiant floor heating which are:

Electric Radiant Heat

Think of an electric radiant heating system as a blanket for your basement floor. It can work with a thermostat to allow users to fine-tune their basement heating preferences. However, this option might increase long-term expenses since it connects to the property’s mains.

Hydronic Radiant Heat

Hydronic radiant heating systems might have a pricier installation cost when compared to their electric counterpart. But the running costs may also be lower than electric radiant heating.

This radiant floor heating system works by heating the water running through its lines. The water comes from a nearby boiler or water heater, which pumps the liquid into the connections.

Check out this radiant floor heating system on Amazon.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

Stack of extruded polystyrene foam insulation material boards isolated on white background with clipping path

EPS foam has different applications, including packaging and insulation. High-quality variations of this particular floor insulation material are fairly resistant to force. Other benefits of this option are:

  • High fungal and frost resistance
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Little to no moisture absorption
  • It doesn’t decay

Despite its advantages, EPS foam also has its shortcomings. Some of these drawbacks are:

  • Can become quite expensive, particularly for high-density selections
  • Requires efficient ventilation
  • Not an eco-friendly choice
  • UV sensitive
  • Poor sound dampening performance

Check out these EPS foam blocks on Amazon.

Aside from the insulation options mentioned above, you can also watch the video below to learn other choices you may want for your basement floor:

Another way to learn more about the best insulation options for the basement is to check out our in-depth post on the topic.

What Basement Insulation Code Should I Follow?

Different building codes exist that you should follow when insulating your basement, including its floor. Keep in mind that these guidelines usually depend on the materials to insulate.

For example, concrete surfaces in the basement need to have an R-value of at least 8. But an R-13 basement is ideal for many construction designs.

How Much Does It Cost To Insulate A Basement Floor?

The general costs to insulate a basement floor often depend on the material or product used. Some examples are:

  • Spray foam: $0.50 to $2 per square foot
  • Radiant heating: $0.20 to $1 per square foot
  • EPS foam: $0.25 to $0.35 per square foot
  • Polyiso foam: $0.40 to $0.60 per square foot

Property owners may also reduce their basement floor insulation installation expenses if they opt for DIY techniques.

How Do I Make My Basement Warmer?

Burning fire paper, letters in indoor home interior fireplace with detail closeup of orange, blue flame

In addition to installing basement floor insulation, other solutions exist to increase the warmth of this underground space. Some possible options include:

Seal Windows

Search for gaps between your basement's windows, particularly in the area separating the pane from the frame. Drafts can enter those spaces, which might reduce the efficacy of the basement’s installed insulation.

Install An Additional Heating System

If the current insulation setup in your basement isn’t sufficient, think about installing an additional heating system. An example would be a portable space heater. However, ensure that you don’t place this appliance next to flammable objects in order to prevent house fires.

Check out this portable space heater on Amazon.

Invest In A Fireplace

Before adding a fireplace in your basement, ensure that your home can cater to this structure. Take note that the renovation project can become quite expensive. However, the results can enhance the coziness and warmth of your basement significantly.

Add Extra Lighting

Your basement might not provide a comfortable temperature because it only has one incandescent lightbulb. Adding extra lighting fixtures to the space may help improve the heat in the space. Remember to pick your lightbulbs properly, as some options emit more heat than others.

Final Words

It’s a good idea to insulate your basement floor. That way, household members and guests can enjoy benefits like more coziness and warmth. Certain high-quality options, such as radiant heating, can help ensure that the basement remains at the optimal temperature.

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