Spray Foam For Basement Walls: Pros And Cons?

Insulating the basement walls is one of the most important things homeowners should keep in mind to prevent cool air from passing through the basement during the cold winter. If you're thinking of using spray foam to insulate your basement walls, you probably want to know the pros and cons of doing so. Well, we've researched this topic so you don't have to!

The use of spray foam to insulate your basement walls gives you the following benefits:

  • Helps save energy
  • Reduces the risk of mold buildup
  • Lowers condensation rate
  • Stops air from leaking through the basement walls
  • Can last up to 80-100 years

However, spray foams also have drawbacks. Here are the downsides you should look out for:

  • Hard to install
  • Installation and material costs are expensive
  • Takes some time to cure
  • Can shrink in the long run

We will dive into more detail about this topic, so if you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using spray foam to insulate your basement walls, then keep reading this post. Let's get right into it!

Wooden roof beams with insulates the attic with mineral wool and pipe heating system. - Spray Foam For Basement Walls: Pros And Cons?

Spray Foam For Basement Walls: Should You Use Them?

Insulating your home provides several benefits. Insulation offers better comfort whenever the weather gets too extreme, it helps soundproof the rooms, and it can reduce energy consumption in the household.

However, this process doesn't end in the main living areas of the house. Proper insulation should also be done on your basement walls to ensure that no air can travel through the basement and reach the living areas.

Wall in new home under construction, with spray foam insulation

If you are planning to insulate your basement walls, one of the insulation material options that probably crossed your mind is spray foam

Spray foam is a type of insulation material that is designed to act as a barrier to avoid air from passing through. It is one of the most common insulation materials that are perfect when you are trying to keep the cool or warm air from escaping or coming in. 

Before you grab yourself a spray foam to start with your project, you should consider taking a good look at its benefits and downsides to make sure that it is the right material for you.

Advantages of Using Spray Foam On Your Basement Walls

Installation of doors in the house. The master foams up the gaps between the door and the wall with polyurethane foam.

Just like any other insulation material, spray foam has its fair share of benefits as well. We've listed down a few that can help you weigh your options and see if spray foam is the best material you can use to insulate your basement walls.

Helps Save Energy

One of the reasons why homeowners insulate their basement walls is because they wanted to lessen the energy consumption in the household. When basement walls do not have a layer of insulation, air can pass through the walls. Thus, making the insulation installed in the other areas of the house seems a bit useless. 

Spray foam is one of the most recommended types of insulation material to use on basement walls when your main goal is energy conservation. Since its main purpose is to prevent air leakage, your cooling and heating appliances will not require too much energy to keep your home at your desired temperature.

Reduces The Risk Of Mold Buildup

Another benefit of using spray foam on your basement wall is that it can help prevent any mold buildup. The basement is one of the areas of our homes that are considered prone to mold growth.

Molds survive in moist areas, but since spray foams prevent moisture by closing the airways where water vapors can pass through, spray foams also reduce the chance of molds growing and surviving in your basement.

Lowers Condensation Rate

Condensation happens when water vapors are converted into liquid form. Spray foams are designed to act as a barrier that prevents vapors from passing through the walls. 

When air leakage is reduced, the condensation rate also lowers. Areas with extreme temperatures such as basements need to have lower condensation rates to prevent molds and mildew from growing.

Stops Air From Leaking Through The Basement Walls

Infiltration occurs when outside air gets in and the inside air goes out. Insulation materials such as spray foams are strategically created to help reduce air leakage.

When infiltration is reduced in the basement, the cooling and heating systems within the home become more efficient. Thus, giving additional benefits such as lower electrical bills.

Can Last Up To 80-100 Years

Spray foam is one of the most long-lasting insulations on the market. It can last up to 80-100 years, depending on how well-maintained the basement is. Although spray foams are expensive, they can save you from constant insulation replacements.

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Disadvantages Of Using A Spray Foam

Wall a basement thermal hydro insulation with spray foam at house construction in New York, NY, United States

Everything has its fair share of disadvantages, and spray foams are no exception. We've already discussed the benefits of using it on your basement walls. Now let's dive deeper and unpack the disadvantages of using it as an insulation material on your basement walls.

Hard To Install

Unlike other insulation materials such as mineral wool and fiberglass, spray foam doesn't come in sheets. You need good spraying skills so you can properly install it on your walls, or a lot of materials will only come to waste.

Experts recommend that we let the professionals do the installation due to the harmful chemical contents of spray foam that you can inhale while installing it.

Installation And Material Cost Can Be Expensive

Spray foam insulation can cost you an average of $1,284 to $3,741, professional installation costs included. Although it is tempting to do it on your own to cut some costs, spray foam installation isn't considered a DIY project. You might end up wasting the materials due to the difficulty of installing them.

Takes Some Time To Cure

Spray foams need at least 8-24 hours to cure, unlike other insulators that are dry and don't require getting sprayed. In addition, it is not recommended to enter the basement while waiting for the spray foam to dry. This is due to the health hazards that wet spray foams can cause.

When harmful chemicals are taken in due to improper practice of safety during the insulation, you may suffer from several health issues in the long run such as respiratory ailments so avoid entering the premises while the spray foam hasn't cured yet.

Can Shrink In The Long Run

When spray foam isn't properly installed, it becomes prone to shrinking due to constant changes in temperature. When there are areas where hot and cold air can transfer, the material constantly expands and contracts which over time, will cause the spray foam to shrink.

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Does Spray Foam Last Longer Than Fiberglass When Installed On Basement Walls?

Although spray foam is not a DIY project unlike fiberglass, spray foam can last a lifetime when properly installed.

In addition, basements are commonly wet areas, that's why it is mostly recommended to use a spray foam insulator rather than fiberglass because the latter is not considered a waterproof material.

When exposed to moisture, fiberglass can suffer from several damages. This, causes you to replace your insulation material to avoid causing further structural problems to your homes such as mold and mildew buildup.

On the other hand, spray foam can withstand moisture, making it a more ideal material for basements.

Is It Better To Install Spray Foam On Basement Walls Rather Than Mineral Wool?

Walls with spray foam insulation in new house construction

Unlike spray foam, mineral wool does not create air barriers regardless of how well you install it. The air tightness is mostly needed in areas that experience extremely low temperatures such as your home's basement.

Because mineral wool cannot prevent moisture, over time, mineral wool can lose its ability to insulate and will need replacement.

On the other hand, spray foam can create thermal insulation layers because of its joint-free technology. It prevents infiltration and condensation, promoting better and longer-lasting insulation in your basement. This will save you from frequent insulation material replacements and further structural damage.

Final Thoughts

Spray foams have their advantages and disadvantages just like any other insulation materials. If you think that spray foam is the best option to choose for your basement walls, don't forget that it cannot be done by yourself unless you have the skills and proper equipment for the project. Health should still be your utmost priority regardless of the project you are working on.

Before you go, don't forget to check out these posts, too:

What Is The Best Sealant For Basement Walls? [3 Great Options Explored]

What R-Value Insulation For Basement Walls?

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