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nickk 12-14-2012 06:33 PM

Insulation need in Basement?
Hi guys,

I'm on a bunch of forums for my toys (cars and guitars) and understand that you need to search first before posting. I have a specific situation and haven't found an answer.

I bought a 1600sqft colonial in Metro Detroit 2 years ago. I gutted the basement upon buying as it was gross - previous owners had 3 dogs, 3 cats living there. I have also since installed a new water heater, furnace, condensing unit, and 200A electrical panel. I am ready to start finishing.

Our house is very lucky in terms of placement and grading. You can tell from the outside that the grade is favorable. We had a very heavy rain this past summer that caused nearly EVERY house in our neighborhood (well over 100) to gut their basement. The street on garbage night was full of carpet, sheet rock, etc. Our basement was completely dry. No sign of moisture. No odd smells.

That being said, I had planned to use 2" XPS on the poured walls and frame in front. However, I'm starting to wonder if I can get by without any insulation. Our basement is almost entirely underground (don't have exact measurement). I keep all the HVAC registers closed downstairs and the basement is still the warmest part of the house in the winter and the coolest in the summer (expected). My father lives a couple miles away in a new home and only put up a vapor barrier over his framed walls and reports the same results.

What is everyone's opinion? We will probably only stay in the house for another 5 years or so - expecting our first child in a couple months and I don't know if we have enough room for a second!

Nick K.

Windows on Wash 12-14-2012 07:46 PM

Insulation is cheap and does pay for itself, especially when you use the right materials and techniques.

I would insulate.

nickk 12-15-2012 10:02 AM

Hi guys,

I decided to bit the bullet and insulate after spending hours reading this site. This article was the final nail in the coffin:

Now I have another couple questions about working around items on the walls. My utility area has my panel, pipes, water heater all against the wall. How do I handle insulating around these? See pics below:

looking towards the corner of the basement and hte utility room:

panoramic of the room:

water heater side view

I am going to frame this room in as a laundry/utility room, but I still wanted to insulate the basement walls. How do I handle this? My stairs have a similar problem - they butt up to the foundation (only about 3/4" gap).

Nick K.

Windows on Wash 12-15-2012 10:05 AM

If you really want to insulate that area, you are going to have to move a bunch of stuff. Once you have moved everything, rigid foam to the wall covered with a proper thermal barrier will suffice.

nickk 12-15-2012 10:25 AM

Thanks for the quick reply Window.

Could I get away with leaving this room alone and just butt my XPS to the stick frame for the room and use batt in the framed wall enclosing it (interior wall)?

Gary in WA 12-15-2012 08:40 PM

Where are you located, nickk?


nickk 12-15-2012 09:23 PM

Hi Gary,

Located in Metro Detroit.

Gary in WA 12-18-2012 11:02 PM

You'll want to renovate to minimum code, then. A couple things to keep in mind; fresh-air supply to gas appliances when making new rooms, 3 x 3' wide clearance in front of electrical panel, GFCI on outlet that close to sink- 3'- check on..., HW tank pressure relief valve to exterior, clearances for furnace usually inside panel door, water supplies, ducting strapped/supported per code, dryer duct termination 3' from any open-able window/door/ house air supply, etc.


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