Best Basement Ceiling Insulation [2021]

Energy costs are a major expense in any household and pose a huge problem.

From staying warm in the winter to staying cool in the summer, that energy bill can get pretty high.

So how can smart homeowners reduce their energy bill while staying warm or cool depending on the season?

The answer will surprise you as it may not be a solution you’d ever think of or heard of.

The answer is as simple as adding insulation to your basement ceiling.

Most people tend to ignore the basement and use it as a place to store things.

Too often we don’t think about it and half the time we pretend that it doesn’t exist.

So how does using the best basement ceiling insulation help cut your energy costs and how can you soundproof your basement ceiling with it?

Keep reading as we discuss everything you need to know about basement ceiling insulation.

Table Of Contents

Best types of insulation for basement ceilings

First off, we will take a look at the best types of insulation for basement ceilings.

What kind of insulation for basement ceiling should you choose?

 The type you choose will all depend on your individual needs.

Sometimes you may need to use 2 types since one may not be able to fit into crack and gaps around pipes and ductwork. 

Check out these products below that can be used for insulating basement ceiling.

1. Fiberglass Insulation

Originating from tiny glass fibers, fiberglass insulates against heat loss.

It also has some soundproofing properties once installed.

Installation is easy and can be done by you.

All you need to do is take all precautions when handling this product.

Suit up and wear your protective gear as some people reported itching after handling the product.

Owens Corning Faced Fiberglass

  • R-value of 19
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Meets the GREENGUARD standards for indoor air quality
Owens Corning R-19 Faced Fiberglass Roll 23' Wide

The Owens Corning Faced Fiberglass has an R-value of 19 which is higher than the recommended R-value of 12.

It offers exceptional thermal control in the spaces where it is utilized.

This preformed, flexible blanket insulation is formaldehyde-free and has excellent stiffness and recovery characteristics.

It has less dust than other fiberglass products and meets the GREENGUARD standards for indoor air quality. 

This fiberglass comes in individual faced rolls, 23” W x 39.2 ft long x 6.25” deep.

2. Spray Foam insulation

This type of insulation applies wet and later expands to form a thick foam.

This thick foam is the perfect solution to insulate between pipes and wires where other types of insulation cannot fit.

Moreover, use it in any nook or cranny anywhere to create an airtight seal.

GREAT STUFF PRO Insulating Foam

  • Polyurethane-based
  • Recognized as a fire block product
  • Dries quickly
GREAT STUFF Gaps & Cracks 20 oz Insulating Foam Sealant

GREAT STUFF PRO  insulation foam is polyurethane-based and expands to take the shape of the cracks and gaps it’s used in.

It forms a durable airtight and water-resistant bond to eliminate air loss and reduce condensation.

Recognized as a fire block product, use it around electrical wires without fear.

It can slow down the spread of flames and smoke in concealed spaces. 

Great stuff pro comes in a 24oz can and is applied using the GREAT STUFF PRO Series Dispensing Gun.

The foam sealant sprays on easily and dries quickly to effectively insulate any gaps and cracks between pipes and electrical wires.

3. Foam Board Insulation

With its versatility, foam board insulation can be used to insulate almost anywhere in your home.

Always made from the highest quality materials, foam board will serve you for many years to come.

They are commonly made of polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, or polystyrene.

Owens Corning Pink Panther Insulation Foam Board

  • R-value of 3.0
  • Energy saving
  • Moisture resistant
Pink Insulation Foam 1/2' Thick (4 sq ft)

Pink Panther Insulation Foam board is energy-saving and moisture resistant.

Unlike styrofoam, this product is strong and stiff and does not crumble into small pieces.

This lightweight foam board is ½ inch thick and is very easy to cut.

Simply use a razor or a hot knife to cut to customize to your space.

With an R-value of 3.0, the Owens corning foam board comes wrapped in construction paper to protect from damage when storing or transporting.

4. Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is an environmentally friendly choice since it is made from recycled paper.

This loose-fill insulation type exists in two parts and can either come wet or dry.

Most times it is newspapers that are recycled which undergo treatment before you can use it as insulation.

Acoustimac ECO CELLULOSE Insulation

  • 100% recycled materials
  • No itching or irritation 
  • Class A fire-rated
Acoustimac Acoustic Insulation ECO CELLULOSE - 4lbs per unit...

Acoustimac ECO CELLULOSE is made from 100% recycled materials. 

It consists of a blend of recycled paper, cotton, and cellulose for an eco-friendly choice.

Due to its contents, there is no need to wear protective clothing and gears when installing this type of insulation.

There is no itching or irritation as with fiberglass insulation. 

This safe to use insulation is Class A fire rated and easy to cut and install.

The panels measures 48″x24″x2″.

5. Mineral Wool Insulation

This is the most common type of insulation you’ll find in most homes in North America.

Mineral wood uses natural fibers as opposed to glass fibers.

They come in two types.

The first one includes fibers of natural stones and is called rock wool.

The second one has fibers that originate from iron-ore waste and is known as slag wool.

Roxul Rockwool Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation

Roxul Rockwool Mineral Wool Insulation is a cost-effective option when insulating.

Rockwool Acoustic Mineral Wool Insulation 40LT - 4lb...

It has an R-value of 4.4 and controls heat and cold well.

Along with the benefits of thermal insulation, you can also use it as a soundproofing material.

It has a high NRC rating and is great for acoustic insulation.

This Rockwool mineral wool is water repelling and resists water at all times. 

What this means is that it will maintain its insulating properties even while wet.

Cutting and installing do not require professional tools.

A simple knife can cut the boards to size and you can attach them to the ceiling using an adhesive spray.

6. Sound Absorption sheets

Sound absorption sheets can come from natural and plastic, mineral wool, or fiberglass fibers.

The thickness of the sound absorption sheet will determine the R-value.

These sheets are readily available which makes it a cheaper choice over some of the other types of insulation.

The one issue you will find with this type of insulation is that it may lack a faced side.

You will have to install a vapor barrier before attaching this insulation to the ceiling.

Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet

  • Weighs 10 pounds
  • Recycled materials
  • Comes with installation hardware
Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet - Sound Dampening Blanket -...

Here is a blanket like no other, the Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet weighs about 10 pounds.

It is made from eco-C-tex®, which is Audimute’s eco-friendly material consisting of recycled cellulose and cotton.

The fabric in itself is a poly poplin on the front side and non-woven poly fabric on the back.

The material is non-toxic and the blanket poses no health risk to you and your family.

The sound absorption sheet measures  95″ x 54″ and comes with installation hardware.

Should I install insulation for basement ceilings?

As with most things in life, insulation for basement ceiling has its pros and cons.

If you find yourself asking if insulation is the way to go?

The answer is both yes and no.

Yes

If you do not use your basement for any other purpose than storing things, then you should insulate the ceiling.

What this does is stop heat from leaking down into the basement from the floors above.

Since no one spends any time there, there is no need for much warmth.

That being said you will need to insulate your ductwork, hot water pipes, and water heater so they won’t damage in the wintertime.

If there is no insulation, then heat from above filters down into the basement.

This is due to the laws of thermodynamics.

We all believe that heat rises but it is hot air that rises.

Thermodynamics recognizes that heat(not hot air) moves from a higher temperature to a lower temperature at a fast rate.

That is to say, the colder your basement is the faster the heat from above will leak in.

This will lead to your heating bill going through the roof.

Before attempting to insulate the ceiling, it is advised to have an energy audit done on your entire home first.

This audit should be done by someone certified to do so.

In addition to having the energy audit done, you should also check for any moisture issues in your basement.

Sometimes people insulate their basement ceiling as a way to soundproof their space.

This works if you have your home theater system or entertainment room in the basement.

Insulating the ceiling ensures that the noise from the basement does not travel up to those upstairs.

What is more, insulating your basement ceiling, in this case, will improve the sound quality. 

No

If you use your basement as a living space, then it may not be a wise idea to insulate the ceiling.

As we mentioned before, ceiling insulation stops the leaking of heat into the basement from the floors above. 

This would mean that your basement would be significantly colder if you install ceiling insulation.

Of course, a colder basement means you have to find some way to warm it up which can lead to extra expenses.

Another reason it is not wise to insulate your basement is that pipes can burst when temperatures dip.

Additionally, if your insulation is not installed properly, you will be dealing with mold, mildew, and putrid smells in the basement.

You will have to rip out the insulation and fix that issue which puts you in more expense.

Not installing ceiling insulation will allow the warmth from above to seep in.

Your best bet here is to insulate the walls or floors.

You will be able to retain the heat leaking in from the floors above and stop it from escaping to the outdoors.

Furthermore, you will also be able to soundproof your floor if you apply insulation to it.

How to insulate a basement ceiling

Insulating a basement ceiling is fairly easy and can be your new DIY project.

Let us take a look at how to insulate a basement ceiling.

1. Choosing the type of insulation

Identify the type of insulation that would work best in your basement.

Choosing the wrong type of insulation for your basement ceiling will cause more harm than good.

It is recommended that an unfinished basement that is being insulated, the insulation should have an R-value of 12 or higher. 

R-value is the measurement used to measure how well an insulator resists heat flow.

“R” in this instance stands for resistance to heat flow and the number tells the insulating power of the product.

Keep in mind that the higher the number is, the better the insulation power.

Batt or blanket insulation is the most suitable choice for basement ceilings. 

This is because fiberglass batt insulation fits more easily around pipes and joists in the basement ceiling.

Just check to ensure that the insulator of your choice is formaldehyde-free fiberglass if you choose this type.

This would be the safest choice to use in your home for your health and the environment as well.

2. Measure the area of the ceiling where you’ll be placing the insulation.

To install the insulation properly, you need to measure to ensure you have just the right fit and amount of insulation needed.

Arm yourself with a tape measure and get to measuring. 

First, measure the distance between each ceiling joist.

If you come across pipes or wires, measure around them as if leaving them exposed.

3. Prepare the Insulation

The fiberglass insulation should not be handled before you are ready to cut and install.

Wear protective clothing, gloves, face mask,, and goggles before touching the insulation.

Failure to do so may result in persistent itching and other types of irritation.

Use the measurement you got from measuring the distance of the ceiling joist to cut the insulation.

Cut equal amounts of insulation to cover the entire space.

Doing this step prevents you from having to stop and cut after installing every piece. 

To apply the insulation, you will need a staple gun.

Place the insulation with the faced side to the ceiling and staple into place.

Apply staples every 3 inches for a secure hold.

Continue to apply and staple until the entire area is insulated.

If you are not sure which side is the face side, it is usually the side with the paper.

It is extremely important to install the insulation with the correct side facing up.

If not, moisture becomes trapped which offers a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew can be hard to deal with and be a health risk also.

The only way to tackle that problem would be to completely replace the insulation.

Protective gear when handling insulation for basement ceiling

4. Dealing with the exposed wires and pipes

If possible, wedge the insulation between the pipes and wires.

If not, use some spray foam on or around the pipes and wires.

Be careful to not cover them up fully in case you need to access them to do any maintenance.

This will save you from replacing the entire insulation if you need to do so.

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