My house is on a lake, and occassionally will get some water in the basement when the level gets high. It's not a major problem, but it happens every now and then. I at some point will need to invest in a french drain, but right now, its not a necessity at all. I would like to keep the walls exposed, to always be aware when water leaks in, but would also like to keep it as warm as possible in the winter.
I was wondering if there were any other ideas for insulating an exposed basement wall out there beyond furring out the walls with studs and insulation?
My idea (and please tell me if this either just wont work or is not worth the effort) is to find some insulation boards i can hang on the walls, to at least keep some of the cold from radiating in. Perhaps wrapping the boards in something, fabric or otherwise so its not just exposed insulation.
My question is, if i have some insulation on the walls in this or another fashion, will that actually make a difference in keeping it at least mildly warmer, or will the cold just seep in enough through the exposed parts of the walls and render the insluation pointless?
May 02, 2012, 06:46 AM
Adding the insulation will help, some form of foam board sounds best for your situation. The more coverage you can get and the less sir gaps in the insulation the better it will perform. Insulation works somewhat like the weak link in a chain, any open areas will drastically reduce the efficiency of the entire wall.
Beyond that, your 'leaking' situation sounds like a huge problem waiting to happen. If there is any way to prevent your basement from flooding even occasionally, it would be a good idea to give that project high priority.
May 02, 2012, 09:04 AM
thanks for the reply!
I'll have to take a closer look at some foam board. It'd be nice to do even a little bit to make it warmer down there in the winter, so if this helps at all, thatd be great. I understand that it wouldnt be comprehensive with the gaps that would be left, but i think its important to keep things exposed and get any leakage fixed before doing anything further with furring out the walls and insulating the more traditional route.
yes, the leaking problem is currently being looked at to see if it can be fixed without having to do a full french drain, as that is way out of my budget right now. I am hoping to get some good patch jobs maybe both from the inside and from the outside, to hold it off while i save up for the french drain.
Thankfully its not a huge problem right now, as the hurricane we got here didnt produce anything beyond a little water drizzling in. But I want to take care of it before that pinhole expands and just becomes a real problem
Thanks for the response!
May 07, 2012, 05:10 PM
How much humidity does your basement have? I keep a dehumidifier running most all year. Not only keeps the moistier level down but the machine produces a fair amount of heat too. I too had a similar problem with water coming in through cracks in the concrete foundation. Hanging 2" foam board does help and easy to remove if needed.
May 10, 2012, 01:46 AM
The problem I'm seeing is that if you occasionally get water seeping through your concrete block walls, and it gets cold enough where you live for water outdoors to freeze in winter, then putting the insulation on the INSIDE of the wall could potentially wreck those basement walls. That's because with the insulation on the inside of the wall, the concrete blocks are going to freeze in winter too, and you could end up with "spalling" of the concrete blocks, which is a kind of freeze/thaw damage that occurs when wet masonary freezes.
If water outdoors freezes in winter where you live, then it'd be a lot smarter and a lot safer to put the insulation on the OUTSIDE of the basement walls to keep the basement walls warm enough so that the water inside them doesn't freeze.
But, that doesn't necessarily mean excavating all the way around your house to the depth of the footing to expose the entire wall. What you can do instead is borrow a trick that's used to protect buildings with shallow foundations from frost heave.
Those red crosshatched areas are slabs of 3 or 4 inch thick extruded polystyrene insulation.
What you see there is a way of insulating the ground around a building by burying horizontal slabs of insulation only a foot or two deep in the ground. Preposterous as it seems, doing that will actually insulate the geothermal heat of the Earth from the coldness of winter above, and prevent the ground beneath the "wing insulation" from freezing in winter.
And, if the ground around or under the building doesn't freeze in winter, then there can't be any harm done to the building's foundation by frost heave raising one side or one corner of the building.
But, by burying a slab of insulation only a foot or two in the ground around your house, you can keep the ground on the outside of your basement walls much warmer (especially in winter), and the resulting reduction in heat loss through the basement walls will help keep the basement warmer. That is, there'll simply be less heat loss through the basement walls if the ground outside is warmer than it was before.
And, by insulating the ground outside your basement walls to keep it from freezing in winter, you also ensure that your basement walls don't freeze in winter either, and in that way you eliminate the possibility of frost damage to those walls.
To learn more about this method, Google "Frost Protected Shallow Foundations" and read all about it.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,