In a bid to create more functional space around the home, homeowners are now keen on having finished basements. The problem is that the area down under can be quite cold and moist. Most people find it refreshingly cool during summer but when winter rolls around, they won’t step foot in there for fear of freezing to the bone. The moisture is a story of its own.
So, is there hope for you if having a dry and warm basement all year long is part of your dreams? The answer is a resounding YES! We will tell a few best-kept secrets of doing this.
Why Is A Basement Cold and Moist, Anyway?
Before we tell you what to do to keep your basement dry and warmer, how about a little lesson on why it is cold and moist than other rooms.
Ideally, the living space is below grade meaning concrete floor sits on top of cool soil. This is what makes the concrete slab cool several degrees.
During winter, your HVAC system needs to work extra to bring the temperature to manageable levels. This ultimately drives the utility bill through the roof. As for the moisture, when the cool concrete slab and the warm indoor air collide, it leads to condensation – a situation that causes moisture build-up. This is why most basements are at risk of mold, mildew, pest manifestations, and wood rot.
Let’s now dive deeper into the secrets of keeping things dry and warm in the underground living space:
- Install The Right Floor
If you are remodeling your basement, consider using the right subfloor that is suited to handle moist and cool environments. There are a ton of options in the market with different working mechanisms. Common ones create a thermal break between the living space and the slab while causing moisture evaporation. Some also isolate the concrete slab from the basement thereby creating a better climate control in the living space.
- Insulate The Walls And Floors
You can also have your basement floor and walls insulated to interfere with the physics that causes cooling and moisture-buildup. Often, the walls can be insulated by using studs to fur out the concrete walls. Once the studs are in place, the stud cavities can be filled with proper insulation and then installed with paneling of drywall. The procedure is pretty much the same for the floors, except a new subfloor is laid above sleeper strips.
- Block Cold-Air Entry Points
To address the issue of ground-level cold, you can also block the cold entry points once and for all. This will take some time but, in the end, your effort will pay off greatly. Begin by locating the culprits using a thermal camera. Do this during winter and fall when temperatures hit rock bottom. When you are done, insulate the headers and rims using extruded foam insulation. Do the same for ducts leaving your living space except this time, use inexpensive ducts. For vent flaps, the best thing to use is a floating shuttle vent type. Proceed to above-grade basement walls then finish things off by confining utilities in one unheated space.
There it is; three ingenious secrets to keeping a basement drier and warmer. Good luck transforming your living space into a true underground paradise!