In addition to reducing heating costs, a properly insulated foundation will keep below-grade rooms more comfortable and prevent moisture problems, insect infestation, and radon infiltration. In new construction, consider construction techniques that provide both foundation structure and insulation, such as insulating concrete forms and How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors insulating concrete blocks.
During the construction process, many builders insulate the outside of foundation walls before backfilling. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors This strategy is possible but impractical and disruptive for existing homes. Optimal foundation insulation materials and placement vary by climate, so consult a local insulation professional if you're planning a new home.
A properly insulated basement can save you money on heating and provide a dry, comfortable living space. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors In most cases, a basement with insulation installed on its exterior walls should be considered a conditioned space. Even in a house with an unconditioned basement.
The basement is more connected to other living spaces than to the outside, which makes basement wall insulation preferable to ceiling insulation. In new construction, adding insulation on the exterior of the basement walls will: How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Minimize thermal bridging and reduce heat loss through the foundation. Protect the damp-proof coating from damage during backfilling.
Provide some protection against moisture intrusion. Protect the foundation from the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in extreme climates. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Reduce the potential for condensation on surfaces in the basement. Conserve room area, relative to installing insulation on the interior. In an existing home, adding insulation to the exterior of the basement walls is impractical.
Interior basement wall insulation has the following advantages: It is much less expensive to install than exterior insulation for existing buildings. Almost any insulation type can be used. It eliminates the threat of insect infestation. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors It isolates the living space from the cooler earth more effectively than when exterior insulation methods.
Here are a few things to consider when installing interior basement wall insulation: How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Many insulation types require a fire-rated covering because they release toxic gases when ignited. Interior insulation reduces usable interior space by a few inches. It doesn't protect the damp-proof coating like exterior insulation does.
If perimeter drainage is poor, the insulation may become saturated by moisture weeping through foundation walls. Superior air-sealing details and vapor diffusion retarder sare important for adequate performance. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors To determine appropriate R-values for basement walls in your area, use these type of insulation.
Blanket (batt and roll) insulation Insulating concrete blocks (new construction). How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Foam board insulation Insulating concrete forms (new construction) Loose-fill insulation (good choice for finished basements) Sprayed foam insulation (good choice for finished basements).
Moisture control is particularly important for basements, because they are notorious for problems with water intrusion, humidity, and mold. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors CRAWLSPACE INSULATION How you insulate a crawlspace depends on whether it's ventilated or unventilated. Most building codes require vents to aid in removing moisture from the crawlspace.
However, many building professionals now recognize that building an unventilated crawlspace (or closing vents after the crawlspace dries out following construction) is the best option in homes using proper moisture control and How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors exterior drainage techniques.
If you have or will have an unventilated crawlspace, the best approach is to seal and insulate the foundation walls rather than the floor between the crawlspace and the house. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors This strategy has the advantage of keeping piping and ductwork within the conditioned volume of the house,
So these building components don't require insulation for energy efficiency or protection against freezing. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors The downside of this strategy is that rodents, pests, or water can damage the insulation and the crawlspace must be built airtight and the air barrier maintained.
It's best to locate the access door to the crawlspace inside the home through the subfloor unless you build and maintain an airtight, insulated access door in the perimeter wall. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors SLAB-ON-GRADE INSULATION Cold concrete slabs can be a source of discomfort in a home.
An insulated slab is easier to heat, and placing the mass of the slab within your home's thermal envelope helps moderate indoor temperatures. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Insulating a slab in an existing home can be expensive and disruptive, but If the slab in your home is cold it is possible to dig around the perimeter of the house and install insulation, usually foam board.
In most parts of the United States, insulating the exterior edge of a slab can reduce heating bills by 10% to 20%. Installing slab insulation during the construction process is more straightforward. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Slab insulation, typically foam board, is installed either directly against the exterior of the slab and footing before backfilling or under the slab and along the inside of the stem wall of the foundation.
Construction details vary widely, so it's best to consult a building professional in your area. Building America's climate-specific publications also have useful construction details for different climate zones. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Termites can tunnel undetected through exterior slab insulation to gain access to the wood framing in a home's walls.
As a result, some insurance companies won't guarantee homes with slab insulation against termites. Building codes in several southern U.S. states prohibit installing foam insulation in contact with the ground. Slab foundations with interior insulation provide more termite resistance, How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors but some builders in the southeastern United States have even reported termite infestations through foam insulation on contained slabs.
Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Proper ventilation should also be part of a moisture control strategy.
Before you decide on a moisture control strategy, it helps to understand that moisture or water vapor moves in and out of a home in three ways: With air currents. By diffusion through materials. By heat transfer. How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors Of these three, air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities.
Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available -- generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and How To Treat Mold On Dirt Crawl-Space Floors carefully and permanently any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective moisture control strategy.
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