Basement Insulation Victoria

There are a variety of insulating products and systems that are used in homes, buildings or other projects and each have their own unique characteristics and cost.

Most insulation companies provide a limited number of these products or services. As Alpine Insulation is the only full-service insulation provider on Vancouver Island, we are not limited in terms of the options that we can provide to our customers. We try to fit the best system to your needs, your building and your budget – rather than simply selling you a single service.

Black and white photo of a person spraying insulation.


Basements are often one of the most overlooked areas of a home when it comes to insulation as people feel that they do not use them much and that they do not need to keep them warm. Studies have shown in fact that they are one of the highest priority areas for upgrading insulation.

Some of the areas that may need improvement are:

Adding fiberglass batt insulation to wood walls (or blowing in insulation into the wall cavity if there is little or nothing present, adding a vapor barrier to the warm side of any insulation or unsealed areas around doors and windows. The space between the floor joists where they meet the exterior walls also often need to be insulated as there is none present or it has been previously removed during a renovation etc. The underside of bay windows, cantilevers, dormers or any floor that extends beyond the line of the exterior basement wall will require 6-8 inches of insulation. 

In terms of insulating concrete walls, it depends on what the basement is going to be used for before deciding how to approach them. At a bare minimum the building code requires that in any heated area, 2 feet below grade of exterior concrete walls must be insulated. Typically this is done with a foil faced or rigid insulation. However, if the area is going to be finished or drywalled at a later date, a homeowner may want to insulate the full height of the basement wall.

Basement Insulation

Basement walls are unique because they must handle significant moisture flows from both inside and outside the house. The preferred method, from a building science perspective, is to insulate the wall on the outside with rigid insulation suitable for below-grade installations, such as extruded polystyrene or rigid fibreglass.

The advantages are as follows:

Insulating the outside of the basement works well with damp proofing and foundation drainage. Rigid fibreglass or mineral wool acts as a drainage layer, keeping surface and ground water away from the foundation. The basement walls are kept at room temperature, protecting the structure, reducing the risk of interior condensation and increasing comfort.

The disadvantages are the disturbance of landscaping, the need to cover the insulation above grade, and the relatively high cost.

Interior insulation can be used. This can be done when finishing the basement by using batt insulation in the stud cavities or by installing extruded polystyrene and strapping on the face of the perimeter walls. If the basement won’t be finished, you can install rolls of polyethylene encapsulated fibreglass over the wall. The advantages of interior installation are cost and ease of construction. The disadvantages of interior installations are as follows: The basement walls are now at the temperature of the soil or the outside. Any moist air moving through the wall from the inside will condense on the wall.

Usually, there is a moisture barrier against the foundation wall and a vapour retarder on the room side of the insulation. As a result, the wall has poor drying potential. Never apply interior insulation to a basement with moisture problems. Fix the moisture entry problems before insulating (see CMHC’s publication A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement).

Things You Must Know When Insulating Basement Walls

Find out what you need to know before taking on a basement insulation project. One of the most important steps to finishing a basement is installing basement wall insulation and basement ceiling insulation.  Insulating the basement keeps heat inside during colder months and prevents heat from entering during the warmer months.  

Take these important considerations into account so that your project goes off without a hitch. 

Any and all moisture issues must be dealt with before insulating the basement.

Moisture in the basement is a major problem that needs to be handled before installing any type of insulation. If left untreated moisture will seep into wood, drywall, and other material, causing irreparable damage. For this reason conduct a basic dampness test by taping a small piece of plastic sheeting to a bare concrete wall and leaving it there for about 48 hours, then check for condensation to determine if water is seeping in. 

If you find water a more thorough investigation will need to be led.

Rigid spray foam insulation is the best option for basement insulation.

There are several types of insulation materials to choose from when insulating basement walls. Spray foam insulation is the most effective option for basements: especially for filling narrow crevices, gaps, and cavities like around light switches. Spray foam insulation doesn’t retain moisture and has good sound absorption properties.

To prevent condensation, all gaps must be sealed with spray foam insulation.

Small cracks, gaps, or holes in the insulation can create cold spots along the basement wall. When these cold spots come in contact with warm air, condensation can form. While a little condensation one or two times isn’t a huge problem, ongoing severe cases of condensation can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and extensive water damage. While spray foam insulation will neither mold nor rot, the building’s materials can, which is detrimental to the structure below the spray foam. Sealing and insulating the basement walls helps to reduce humidity and thermal loss, while preventing moisture from seeping into the home.

Benefits of Properly Insulating Your Basement

A properly insulated basement makes your home comfortable. Spray foam insulation is the most effective for this task because of its water and air tight barrier. It’s acceptable for both new construction and old basements. Basements can be uncomfortable places due to moisture and sometimes mold growth. The seemingly higher cost of spray foam insulation is mitigated by the fact that it is only a one time ever investment, lasting between 80-100 years.

Avoids Air Leaks

Spray foam insulation creates a barrier that acts as a seal tight enough that even air can not pass through. Unlike other forms of insulation that have to be manually installed, spray foam insulation can just be sprayed on surfaces that need air tight sealing. The foam acts as an air barrier that seals holes and air leaks in the basement. This reduces the air transfer between the basement and the surrounding environment.

Provides a Monolithic Seal

Spray foam insulation forms a monolithic seal between the frame and the foundation wall. Monolithic meaning a solid unbreakable piece, total uniformity, rigidity, invulnerable etc. This invulnerable seal stops any heat transfer. The results of spray foam insulation have been reported to be 50% better than traditional insulation products. Conductive heat transfer is responsible for all the heat loss: through conduction, heat transfers from a higher to a lower temperature. Spray foam insulation is an ideal thermal insulator because it conducts heat poorly, thus resisting heat transfer.

Reduces Condensation

Spray foam insulation is more than just a barrier: it’s an active combatant against condensation. Firstly, it evens the playing field by harmonizing the temperature between your basement’s internal surfaces and the ambient air. This thermal equilibrium drastically diminishes the chances of condensation. Moreover, spray foam is uncompromising in its mission to keep external air at bay. By eliminating pathways for moist external air, it shields the home’s interior from potential condensation threats.

No Mold Growth

Spray foam insulation can prevent mold growth in basements. Unlike other insulation materials, spray foam insulation materials, spray foam does not contain organic materials, so there is nothing for mold spores to feed on. Spray foam insulations air seal also starves mold of its food sources moisture and oxygen to inhibit further growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some spray foam materials may retain a noticeable odour lasting maybe a few days after the application process. This is not an indication of hazardous materials. Proper ventilation of the insulated area for a few days will eliminate any odours.

The short answer is YES! More and more homeowners are using their utility bills to prove the energy efficiency of their buildings. A well insulated home is environmentally safe, highly resistant to heat flow and so it would be considered a good investment for the future.

Excessive air filtration and exfiltration are the number one cause for occupant discomfort, high utility bills, potential moisture issues and poor air quality. While insulation controls heat flow in and out of the home to keep hot temperatures outside during the summer, air sealing minimizes the movement of air into and out of your home. These complement each other and ensure that your home remains comfortable and efficient no matter the season.

To install spray foam insulation in your basement, all old insulation, sheet rock, and debris needs to be removed.

Great news for homeowners looking to upgrade the energy efficiency of their home! There are two major rebate/grant programs available to homeowners in BC: both the federal Canada Greener Homes grant program and the provincial CleanBC Better Homes rebate program.

Additionally, for households that qualify, the CleanBC program also offers an Income Qualified Program (IQP) that can cover 60% or 95% of your upgrade.

Learn About Our Basement Insulation Rebates

Your Alpine Insulation estimator can provide you with an idea of what you may qualify for in terms of a rebate, once they have conducted their inspection and prepared your quote. As it is the responsibility of the homeowner to apply for the grant, it is important that homeowners read and understand the program and its requirements.

Black and white photo of a gun spraying insulation.

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