Basement Floor Insulation Options You Never Knew About

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule May 13, 2019
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Insulating a basement becomes a must if you intend to use it as an additional living space. Here are a few insulation options for basements.
Most people who intend to put their basements to some good use, try to cover up the unfinished concrete subfloor with carpet or similar flooring. Eventually, they realize that the basement becomes too cold for use. Heat loss occurs through the concrete subflooring. Besides, moisture seeps inside the basement through this flooring.
Needless to say, your basement quickly turns into a habitat for mold and mildew. Hence, if you really wish to make your basement a place worth living, then you must provide some kind of floor insulation to your basement.

Basement Floor Insulation Options and Ideas

Before you explore the different insulation methods, it is imperative that you consider a few factors. The first and the foremost factor is that of moisture. No matter in what geographic area you live in, you will invariably have some amount of moisture problem. The insulation material that you intend to use, must be capable of repelling moisture.
Also, the height of basement ceiling must be taken into account. You may find insulation materials that are as thick as 12 inches. Although, they may provide excellent insulation, they may not be the most feasible option for your basement. Basements are generally built at a lower height than the rest of your rooms.
It is unusual to have basements that are any higher than 8 ft. The average basement ceilings tower somewhere around 7 ft. Hence, even an addition of 1-2 inches to the flooring may make a difference in the overall height of the basement.
After considering these factors you may choose any of the following concrete floor insulation materials. Building a plywood subfloor is the first step to insulate your basement flooring. Use a 5/8 inch plywood set for this purpose. The plywood set is to be nailed to the concrete flooring underneath.

Styrofoam Insulation

Polystyrene foam or styrofoam or rigid foam is a useful insulating material. A layer of rigid foam insulation should go in between plywood subfloor and the concrete floor underneath. Styrofoam offers excellent thermal insulation. Besides, it also helps to prevent the moisture from reaching the surface of the flooring.


Interlocking waferboard is yet another insulation option for basements. You may benefit even more by using a dimpled plastic layer atop waferboard. While the waferboard helps prevent any heat loss, an additional plastic layer takes care of moisture seepage. Besides, waferboard insulation does not add too much to the height of the basement.


Laminate can provide some protection against heat loss. However, it may not entirely protect your basement from moisture damage, more so, if you live in areas of heavy rainfall. Nonetheless, laminate can add to the aesthetic beauty of your basement flooring with its myriad colors and patterns including faux wood.


Vinyl planks or vinyl sheets can be considered as an option for insulation of basement flooring. Vinyl is cheaper and easier to install. Besides, you can also get many colors and patterns in vinyl.

Subflooring Tiles

These are specialty tiles which have a wooden strip on the surface and closed cell styrofoam insulation at the base. These are ready to install tiles, which not only protect your basement but also add beauty to it. However, the biggest advantage is that they are very thin, hence, do not alter the height of basement in any way.
These were some of the options for basement floor insulation. You can also go for cheaper options such as plastic or foam underlay. However, these options may not ensure complete protection against heat loss or moisture damage.