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basement insulation

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Nov 05, 2013, 05:49 PM
basement insulation
I am new and have run into a situation that confuses me. My walk out basement is very cold, so I pulled two pieces of paneling off the wall thinking I would put insulation behind it and have found there is no space to do so. I couldn't attach the photos here, but could send them if they would be helpful.
There is only about an inch between the paneling and the cinder block foundation.

In some places the cinder blocks have actually been dug out to put in the electrical boxes, and there is a huge gap under the window with no cinder blocks, just the outside bricks And there is some sort of black paper like roofing tar paper on the bottom 1/3 of the cinder blocks. Should I put insulation in the big cavity under the window and just use spray foam to fill in around the open wires and electrical boxes and put the paneling back? I don't want to lose a lot of space in the rec room to build the walls out.
I am a single woman who is very capable of doing things with the right instruction, but I find myself stymied by this. Any education as to what I am actually looking at would be great. Suggestions of what to do to make the room warmer would be even more appreciated. Thanks!
Nov 05, 2013, 06:04 PM
When was your house built? Your description sounds like what I've been told was the trend for houses built in some areas of Oakland County, Michigan, in the 1970's.

We ran into this problem when we replaced cut-in paper like tar paper, no insulation, just bricks on the wall as the exterior, even nails from the interior sticking through into the cavity.
Nov 05, 2013, 06:23 PM
House was built in 1964. From what I have learned I believe this is the original construction.
Nov 05, 2013, 06:52 PM
You have a wall covering set on furring strips - meaning that there is not much room for insulation.

You could remove the paneling and install rigid foam between the furring strips. This would give you about R-5 or R-6. Not much, but it would be an improvement. The thing is, it's a lot of work for just a little insulation.

Unfortunately, to get any real insulation value, you need to create more space. This can be done but is a major project. Basics are removing everything you now have, construct a traditional 2x4 stud wall that sits about 1/2" off the block wall, then insulate with regular fiberglass (R-13)and finally install paneling or drywall.

Nov 05, 2013, 08:33 PM
Thanks so much. I am getting good feedback about my options. Much appreciated.
Nov 08, 2013, 12:07 AM
Hi SherlockFan,

You mentioned that you were unable to post pics here. That is not unusually as all pics posted here must be less than 100KB in size which can be hard to do if you are not computer savvy.

A much easier way is to post your pics at a free site like where there is no limitation as to size of the pics you post there and then post links of those pics at when you post a message here. This allows others to view your pics and offer suggestions which are of much more benefit based on their observations in your pics.

Good Luck!