Residential Foundation Insulation

Residential Foundation Insulation Guide for the Homebuilder and Homeowner

This adapted comprehensive guide will cover the basics on the benefits of foundation insulation for the homebuilder and homeowner. The initial report findings were prepared by Oak Ridge National Library based upon a climate study in Kansas.

Take the opportunity to learn everything you need to maximize energy-efficiency year-round through proper foundation insulation. An uninsulated foundation can result in at least a 50% heat loss annually and increased chances of moisture control problems, mold concerns, and rodent and pest infestations. The energy and cost-savings potentials, improved (IAQ) indoor air quality, comfort, and awareness of various building codes, standards, and regulations are reviewed; including the (MEC) Model Energy Code and the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code.

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Report Summary

Benefits of foundation insulation to minimize heat loss, water vapor penetration, humidity, and condensation in residential basements. Includes charts comparing energy cost savings and energy-efficiency of insulated versus uninsulated basements.

Foundation Insulation

The report outlines the purpose of a solid building foundation. The common belief that a building insulated above grade is sufficient is dispelled. An uninsulated foundation can result in up to a 50% heat loss because of soil temperature variations during different seasons and at different depths.

The leading regulations, standards, and codes are briefly mentioned, as well as the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code. The difference between dampproofing and waterproofing are explained. Insulation benefits and heat loss potentials are detailed for basements, crawl spaces, and slab-on-grade constructions.

Specific charts accompany the detailed analyses of potential cost and energy savings for MEC Minimum Prescriptive R-values. The essentials of foundation moisture control and suggested remediation methods are detailed, including surface and ground water penetration, capillary moisture migration, water vapor migration, and water vapor condensation on cold basement walls. Insulation benefits for moisture control results are showcased in a dedicated section for improved IAQ and comfort.

Insulation property materials are reviewed in terms of strength, water absorption, permeability, and flame spread and smoke development. This section centers on maximizing R- and U-values through material ratings. A section details environmental impact issues affecting insulation material selection regarding embodied energy, ozone depletion, (GWP) global warming potential, and recycled content.

The advantages and disadvantages regarding choice of insulation material types are discussed. Board insulation materials for foundation usage commonly include extruded polystyrene (XPS), expanded polystyrene (EPS), polyisocyanurate, and fiberglass and rockwool batts. Proper use and installation of blown insulation is outlined, typically including cellulose, glass fiber, or mineral wool insulation.

Measures preventing termite infestations are detailed in a dedicated section. Benefits of utilizing shields and barriers, pretreating soil with approved termiticides, and annual inspections are explained.

The charts reviewing the specific insulation costs and properties are essential to making an informed decision. Do not miss the Frequently Asked Questions section! The list of resources can prove invaluable in providing the information with which you need to be familiar.

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