How to Insulate a Basement in Canada

Building insulation for basements is often used to protect the interior from external temperature fluctuations. In Canada, thermal insulation is especially important for basements in areas that experience moderate to extreme winters and summers (e.g. Alberta, Ontario and Quebec). Learn how to insulate a basement in Canada to save money on heating and protect your home investment.

  1. Review your basement environment and local weather to assess your insulation needs. Note elements of your home construction that may affect the insulation installation process, such as oddly-angled walls or uneven ceiling heights. Existing construction problems, such as leaks in the walls, should be noted and dealt with before proceeding with the insulation.

  2. Choose what type of insulation material you wish to use in your basement. In Canada, building suppliers typically provide home owners with three choices for insulation types: blanket insulation, polyurethane spray insulation, and plastic board insulation. Blanket and plastic board insulation can be applied at home. However, polyurethane spray insulation requires installation by a professional expert due to its chemical properties.

  3. Check with your local provincial building authority to ensure that you are following all of your provincial government's building codes. Contact information may be found in your local telephone book, or through Natural Resources Canada (link in the Resources section). Besides protecting your home safety, your province's building codes can also show you special considerations you need to take (e.g. higher density insulation if you are in a cold climate, such as Montreal).

  4. Understand proper insulation installation safety measures to protect yourself before adding insulation to your basement. Always keep the insulation far from heat, such as a fireplace or heating ducts. Also, be aware of your home's electrical system, such as exposed wiring in the basement ceiling.

  5. Prepare the basement walls for insulation by sealing all holes or openings using calk. Allow to dry according to the calk manufacturer's specifications.

  6. Apply the insulation material. Use mechanical fasteners appropriate for your basement walls (e.g. concrete fasteners for hollow-tile basements) to secure the insulation material to the walls and ceiling of the basement.

  7. Finish the insulation application using finishing material. All joists should be sealed and the basement walls protected using gypsum board to prevent and reduce fire hazards.

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