The Challenges of Basement Insulation

January/February 2006
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about Foundations, Basements & Crawlspaces
January 01, 2006
A study explored how effective interior insulation systems are at keeping basements dry as well as warm.
        In 2001,Cambridge Homes—a division of D.R.Horton in the Chicago area—completed the initial phase of its first Energy Star development. One of the builder’s major improvements of these homes was the insulation of the basement walls.While the homes met the Energy Star goals, problems arose during the first summer the homes were occupied. During a hot, humid period in August, several homeowners reported wet, dripping fiberglass insulation at the foot of their basement walls.Where this moisture came from (humid basement air condensing on the cold wall, drying concrete, groundwater or rain, or some combination of these factors) was unclear,but it certainly needed a remedy. One homeowner was so concerned that she called the EPA to report the problem.         The builder knew that to reach Energy Star levels for homes, basement insulation was key. The insulation system that Cambridge employed was polymer-faced, R-11 fiberglass blankets draped inside the entire basement wall. The builder’s immediate solution to the moisture problems was to trim all of the fiberglass blankets 6–12 inches above the floor—eliminating the place where ...

To read complete online articles, you need to sign up for an Online Subscription.

Once an order has been placed there is an automatic $10 processing fee that will be deducted with any cancellation.

The Home Energy Online articles are for personal use only and may not be printed for distribution. For permission to reprint, please send an e-mail to

SPONSORED CONTENT Home Energy Minute #3: WINTER 2019 Learn more! Watch Video
Email Newsletter

Home Energy E-Newsletter

Sign up for our free monthly