How to Insulate Basement Walls

Tools Needed to Insulate Basement Walls

Local jurisdictions might have building requirements that cover interior insulation. Fire codes require that foam or batt insulation be covered with drywall or another type of finished wall. Check with your local building department to make sure your project is up to code. The last thing you want is to fail the ­inspection after you've put time and money into the project.

The first thing you'll need to figure out is the R-Value (thermal resistance) of the insulation you'll be installing -- you can find recommendations at the International Energy Conservation Code.­ In the United States, there are five zones. The farther north the zone, the higher the thermal resistance (R-value) your insulation should provide. Most of our country falls between the R-5 and R-10 ratings [source: U.S. Department of Energy].

You could already have some of the following tools you need for your basement insulation project. If not, look for the following at a local hardware store:

  • safety glasses
  • dust mask or respirator
  • protective clothing
  • stapler (electric, standard, hammer type)
  • three-eighths or half-inch staples
  • work light
  • extension cord
  • tape measure
  • utility knife and blades; straightedge for cutting insulation
  • stepladder [source: Home Improvement Web]

The following items may also be useful, depending upon the type of insulation being installed:

  • expanding foam sealant
  • caulk and caulking gun
  • chalk line
  • gypsum drywall (half-inch)
  • 2 x 2 lumber
  • tape: white vinyl, duct tape
  • extruded polystyrene foam
  • power-activated gun with fasteners
  • construction adhesive
  • wire insulation hangers
  • noise protection for ears
  • masonry screws, drill and carbide drill bit
  • asphalt roofing cement [source: Home Improvement Web]

Now that you have the tools you'll need, don't forget the insulation materials. Find out more on the next page.