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How to Insulate Your Basement with Waterproof Spray-Foam Insulation

There are many insulation options you can choose from when insulating your basement. Closed-cell spray-foam insulation is a good choice for a basement space because it is waterproof and mold and mildew resistant, so this insulation creates a vapor barrier for your basement walls. Here are instructions to help you install your own basement spray-foam insulation.

Prepare the Walls and Ceiling

Before you can insulate the walls and ceiling with spray-foam insulation, you need to remove any dust and debris from any surfaces you will be applying the foam onto. If there is an accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and other debris that can collect on the surfaces of a basement, the spray foam will not fully adhere onto the walls and ceiling. As you spray the foam onto these dirty surfaces, the foam will expand and pull away from the walls and ceiling, creating a void where insects and moisture can get into and your home's energy will be lost.

Use a broom to sweep clean the walls and ceiling areas you will be insulating. You can also make a pass over these surfaces with a shop vac or home vacuum to remove all excess debris particles.

Staple plastic sheeting to cover any windows and doors in the basement so you don't apply insulation onto them. Then, tape over electrical outlet boxes and switches with masking tape.

Prepare Your Equipment

A spray-foam insulation kit comes with two tanks of liquid that are warmed and, when combined together and sprayed through the nozzle hose onto the wall, that react to create foam insulation. It is important to make sure both of the tanks are warmed before you begin working, especially during the winter when they can become cold, otherwise the contents will not be fluid enough to spray through the hose.

Place the tanks in a warm room of your house and cover them with a heating blanket to speed the warming process. As you complete the insulation-installation process, make sure you keep the room you are working in between 75 and 85 degrees F so the tanks don't become cooled and the liquid too thick for spraying.

Next, you will need to wear the proper protective gear, including disposable coveralls with a head covering, eye protection, gloves, and a respirator mask. When the spray foam is in liquid form as you apply it on the walls and ceiling, the chemicals can be harmful to you, so cover yourself and protect your lungs. 

Apply the Insulation

After you connect the hose to both tanks and apply the gun tip to the hose, be prepared to spray the foam insulation in a continuous stream. If you stop spraying for more than 30 seconds, the gun tip will become clogged by the foam insulation, and you will need to change the tip out for a new one. 

It is important to spray insulation first into any small cracks and crevices within the framing of your basement walls and ceiling. To complete this beginning step, spray the perimeter inside each space first and allow the foam to expand fully. This will fill any voids that exist between where the studs and the wall sheathing connect. Then you can go back over each wall cavity to completely fill them with foam insulation. 

Be sure to spray behind pipes and lift up any wires and cables to spray behind them. Spraying over wires and pipes can cause a void to form behind each and cause your home to be less energy efficient.

After the foam has dried for 20 to 30 minutes, you can spray on an additional layer if the insulation is not thick enough. You only need about two inches of spray-foam insulation, and you can check its depth by inserting a coat hanger into the insulation and measure the length of the wire that penetrated through the layer. If you need to remove any over-spray of insulation, use a horse groomer's curry comb to scrape off the excess.

Now you can install sheet-rock panels over the insulated walls and ceiling of your basement. Talk to a company like Mincin Insulation Service Inc. for more information.