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Insulating basement ceiling - your recommendations?

jtmann's picture

Insulating basement ceiling - your recommendations? Hello: I am looking for recommendations from the forum regarding insulating an unheated basement. I live in eastern Canada - cold winters! I recently bought a small (approx. 1400 square feet) 2-story home (three years old home) that I will live in for a few years while I build my custom home. I would like to make my first floor floors (laminate and vinyl) warmer and increase the overall warmth/efficiency of the first floor (living room, kitchen, hallway). I am considering the following: -- Insulating the basement ceiling with fibreglass insulation batts. The ceiling is open. -- NOT insulating the basement walls - currently no insulation on the basement walls (i.e., no sheet Styrofoam) Remember the basement is currently unheated and I will not heat it - it is storage space only I only want to do one insulation technique in the basement due to budget (i.e., insulate the floors with batt OR insulate the walls with sheet styro) My questions for you are: Q1. Is my rationale right that batt in the ceiling will make the first-floor floors warmer/improve heat above MORE THAN doing the basement walls with styro sheets? My rationale is that batt in the ceilings is directly insulating the first floor floors whereas styro sheets ion the walls is indirect Q2. IF I do the basement ceilings should I use R12 or R20? I read on a government website that they reco R12 but I think they assumed that the basement walls were already done with styro sheets Q3. If I do batt the ceilings in basement, I know it will make my basement colder than it is right now but I don't care - it is only a storage space. But if I use R12 or R20 ceiling batts without the walls having styro, should I worry about the basement becoming so cold that my water pipes freeze? Or am I overworrying? Thanks - great forum!

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jtmann's picture

Thanks. The basement is completely unheated. 

Northern Miner wrote:
I'm going to assume that there is some kind of heating system in the basement and if so you should not have to worry about freezing pipes. Also a hot water heater is there as well?Anyway you do pose an interesting scenario. I see the benefits of both, however I'm thinking you should really consider what needs to be done to increase the value when it comes time to sell in three years. Put yourself in the buyers shoes - what would mean more to them?An uninsulated basement with insulated floors would not make me happy. Even if the walls are not finished, being insulated and framed means more to me so most of the work is already done to finish it any way I want. And keeping the entire basement warmer I think would also have a bigger impact on the heat upstairs. My.02 

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