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If your'e reading this article I hope you've already done your homework on all the other basement insulation methods and have carefully selected foam board installation because it best suits your situation. Now that you've made your (carefully calculated) decision, you can use this article as a resource to properly install your rigid foam boards. For more research for the best insulation for basement ceiling.

Rigid Foam Board Installation Basics

It was kind of difficult to explain how to insulate your basement walls with Rigid Foam Boards in one general article but I hope the steps below help! All the tools and materials needed for this approach can be found on amazon or your local Home Depot. I've included the links below.

Tools & Materials

  • Dry Saw
  • Caulk Gun
  • Foam Board Adhesive (You're going to need ALOT of this)
  • Box Cutter
  • XPS
  • Tyvek Tape

How To Insulate Your Basement Walls Using Rigid Foam Boards

      • 1. Step One

    adhesive for the foam boards

    More is better when you're applying this adhesive. Focus on the corners and edges of each board. The reason why I chose this specific type of adhesive is it is less likely to burn your foam.

      • 2. Step Two

    Try to find something to hold the boards up and steady while the adhesive dries. If you have any 4x4's laying around, you can use that. Just stand them up and tilt them against the foam boards with enough force to hold things up.

      • 3. Step Three

    drywall exampledrywall after being cut

    Make sure you install the full pieces of the board and have them cover any windows. Once the adhesive is done you can go back and cut out the openings for the window with your drywall saw. I put pictures up showing a before and after of drywall so you could get what I'm saying here.

      • 4. Step Four

    Keep things tight

    Make sure you are keeping the seems in between the boards as tight as possible. No space in between . Like my dog Mylo's nose.

      • 5. Step Five

    tape for foam boards

    Last step is to cover the joins with tyvek tape. Use expandable foam in places where the tyvek tape wont work.

    Wrapping Things Up With Your Basement Rigid Foam Board Insulation Walk-Through

  • If you have the tools listed above, this job isn't really a difficult task. The only thing that take time is waiting while the adhesive cures but other than that you're good to go. Using Rigid Foam boards as your insulation method may be a costly task but when done right you will be happy with the results.

If your'e dealing with cold floors in a warm house or extreme levels of heat loss then basement insulation should be something you look into. The reason why you're experiencing this is because there is a temperature difference between your house and your basement which causes heat flow. As the temperature difference increases the heat flow increases as well.

heat flow diagram

Depending on where you live, the basement ranges from 15-20 degrees while the surrounding soil gets as low as 5-6 degrees at the footing level (bottom of the wall). Notice the extreme level of temperature difference here, which causes the heat flow that leads to those cold floors we discussed earlier.

Does your house have stone foundation, concrete block or poured concrete. Each has their own different challenges and signs that you want to get a professional to identify before you integrate insulation into your basement. Wood frames, stone, old doors, windows, fluid pipes, and air leakage paths are key details to deciding which insulation method is best for you.

Should You Insulate your Basement Ceiling or Walls

Just remember that insulation slows heat loss. Most people want their basements warm. If that's you, don't block that heat transfer from your house to your basement. That would make a pretty cold man cave! What you want is to block heat flow from outside basement.

Also, colder temperatures causes condensation which leads to a whole bunch costly problems. If you are dealing with some condensation related problems like mold then contact Waterproofing Cincinnati Pros.

Best Insulation For Basements

Insulation Type: Water Retention?: Price: Effectiveness:
Foam Board Yes Medium Average
Fiberblass Yes Low Low
Spray Foam No High High

We want to make sure you receive the best information possible so that you can make a decision that matches a complete solution in your given situation. Below we have gone into more details about the Pros and Cons of each Insulation method.

Basement Foam Board Insulation

Foam Board Insulation

These are rigid foam panels that can be attached to the walls of your basement which is great to reduce heat flow. Its usually one of the most used solutions because of its mild water resistant capabilities and just overall lifetime effectiveness. More detail can be found in the following paragraphs.


  • Contains some water resistant capabilities that will not only reduce heat but will also reduce chances for moisture problems and mold.
  • Long lasting effectiveness
  • The material also creates a barrier that blocks air from coming into the basement.


  • Improper installation can result in a lack of air flow
  • Since the foam board is made of air bubbles it can possibly draw in moisture which will lead to more costly issues.

Basement Fiberglass Insulation

fiberglass installation

Fiberglass insulation is made from plastic and fine glass as acts as an extremely good resource for heat control in residential and commercial buildings. Because of the material, you also don't have to worry about it catching on fire.


  • One of the least expensive insulation options.
  • Wont catch on fire.


  • Holds water build up so mold problems rise
  • Any damage or improper installation can result in fiber glass particles being released into the air and health problems.

Basement Spray Foam Insulation

Image of a Spray Foam Installer

This is our number 1 recommended solution. Spray foam has high functionality capabilities including blocking lower temperatures from the outside. Depending on your situation and how much you are looking to invest then this might be the best option for you.


  • Unlike all the other insulation methods, Spray Foam is best when it comes to choosing a water resistant solution.
  • Also blocks air from entering your home.
  • Acts as a good noise barrier if you are interesting in noise cancellation qualities. Go ahead and rock out! The rest of the house wont be bothered.


  • While its the most effective, its also the most expensive. Figure out your budget first. Lower the budget the more you must be willing to risk.
  • Improper installation can lead to air leakage.

Choosing The Right Basement Insulation Method That's Best For You

Even if most of your house is insulated properly, an non-insulated basement leads to a huge amount of heat loss. Studies show up to 25-30% of annual heat loss comes from the basement.

Regardless of the type of basement Insulation you choose to go with the level of effectiveness mostly comes from the company who is doing the work. Improper installation of any of these solutions can will usually end up being a short term fix do a long term financial struggle.

Try not to take the easy route if possible and make sure you cut off all air leakage and moisture issues as fast as possible.