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Insulating Concrete Floors

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Jun 22, 2019
If your home has concrete floors, insulating them is a must to prevent your home from getting too cold. Know more on insulation options for concrete floors.
Concrete flooring is a sturdy, durable, and aesthetically pleasing flooring option. Concrete also has high thermal mass, meaning it allows slow heating and cooling of the floor.
If you have wood or other flooring, you may experience that heat gain and heat loss happens almost instantaneously. These temperature fluctuations can be controlled when you use concrete flooring. However, all these thermal properties of concrete can be best put to use only when it is properly insulated.
In the absence of under concrete insulation, your room can turn into a cold storage in no time. Concrete can suck all the heat from your room and release the chill of the outdoors in your room through your floor.

Concrete Floor Insulation Techniques

Concrete transmits heat throughout its area as well as the perimeter where it comes in contact with the wall. The amount of heat released by concrete flooring would typically depend upon the size of the flooring.
A small room like a basement, which is rarely used may do without insulation; however, the rest of the home needs to be insulated if you wish to save on power bills. Uninsulated flooring means more work for your heating system, which adds to your electricity bills. Also, your home insulation should be in compliance with standard building codes.
There are various insulation techniques for concrete floors. Some of them allow you to insulate your existing concrete flooring, while others are useful when you are yet to lay the concrete slab upon your flooring.

Polyurethane Vapor Barrier

This is the most preferred of all insulation materials that can be used on existing flooring. The procedure for laying polyurethane sheets is also quite simple. All you have to do is lay 6 mm polyurethane vapor barriers across the surface. Then, overlap the seam of one sheet 6 inches over the other and seal with duct tape.
Lay 2×4 sheets at a distance of 16 inches throughout the surface. Secure the sheets with masonry nails. Now place thick insulation foam between every 2×4 sheet of polyurethane. Nail plywood sheets on the polyurethane and cover it up on a finished flooring material such as carpet or tiles.

Under Concrete Insulation

If you wish to insulate your concrete flooring in the construction phase itself, then you can do so with under concrete floor insulation products like insulation foam and board. Spread the gravel as you would for an uninsulated flooring.
However, the layer should be 1 inch thinner than the usual one. Then spread foam of 1 inch thickness on the gravel. Secure the edges with duct tape without overlapping them. Then, cover the foam with 6 mm polyurethane sheets and then pour concrete.
Floor insulation not only regulates the amount of heat circulating in the house, but it also controls the moisture problems. It is recommended that you take care of leakages in your flooring prior to insulating your concrete floors.
If these problems surface later, the whole effort towards insulation may go waste. Concrete flooring insulation is done as a part of construction. The cost may range anywhere between USD 12 to USD 20 per square meter.