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Cold Floors Over Basements?

An old, rotting basement window set in a rusty steel frame with a patch over a broken spot.

Old, rusty steel basement windows are one of the biggest contributors to a cold, energy inefficient basement.

Cold floors can drastically affect the quality of life of a homeowner. They can be cold underfoot even when a homeowner is wearing socks, and they create a drafty, chilly house.

When a home has a basement, the floors above are notoriously cold, as they are chilled by the cold climate below.

The long-accepted method for addressing cold basement floors is to insulate the basement ceiling, thereby protecting the floor from the chill of the space below.

However, this option has several flaws, and it is not a permanent solution for keeping a warm, comfortable home. We'd like to share a few reasons why we don't recommend installing fiberglass on basement ceilings -- and what alternatives are available.

Get a Free EstimateDo you have cold, uncomfortable floors over your basement? We have solutions for cold floors, damp spaces, and much more!

Don't wait to transform your basement into dry, comfortable, usable space! Call us today for a free, no-obligation basement upgrade estimate!

Why Should You Fix Your Cold Floors?

Old moldy fiberglass insulation dripping off the ceiling on to the floor.

Fiberglass insulation can be used to insulate a basement ceiling to keep the floor above warm, and it will even add soundproofing to prevent that "echo" when you walk in a floor over a basement. However, over time, moist conditions may cause it to sag off the ceiling and fall to the floor.

Of all the surfaces in your home, you are in contact with the floor the most. When your floors are cold, they can be a continuous source of discomfort for you and the other members of the family. A cold floor is also an indication of a drafty, uncomfortable house, which makes your home a less desirable place to live.

As an added negative impact of cold floors, the cold conditions in your home will cause your heating system to work extra hard to combat it, leading to an increase on your utility bills.

Additionally, if you insulate your basement ceiling, the basement itself is still cold. Most homeowners figure this is acceptable, as they do not plan on spending much time down there anyways.

However, there are things down there that you don't want cold -- specifically, your furnace, water heater, hot water pipes, and heating ducts.

The cool air in your basement will drain on these utilities, causing them to work harder, use more energy, and cost you more in utility bills.

Mold & Humidity Issues

Additionally, bare walls and floors in your basement may also allow humidity and moisture into the space -- even if your basement does not experience flooding. If the space is vented, moisture will also condensate on surfaces as hot, humid summer air is cooled in the space.

This condensation will collect in fiberglass insulation, causing it to grow mold and become weighed down with moisture. Wet, moldy insulation has an inferior R-Value when compared to proper insulation, and over time it will begin to sag and "drip" off the ceiling of your basement.

Three Steps To Solving Problems With Cold Floors Over Basements

Cold basement floors present a challenge and an opportunity to homeowners who want to solve the problem once and for all. By upgrading your basement, you can make it into dry, usable, insulated space, you can save energy, count on your basement as usable, comfortable storage space. And, of course, with this basement problem eliminated, the floor above will be warmer and more comfortable than ever.

SilverGlo™ insulation installed on basement walls.

Insulate The Basement Walls

The most important step you can make to help keep your basement warmer is to insulate the basement walls -- preferably at least up to R-11.

The U.S. Department of Energy has reported that you can save, on average, between $250 and $400 annually by insulating your basement walls to R-10 or greater.

Our Basement To Beautiful™™ insulated wall panels are an idea way to insulate those walls, while also preparing them for finishing. Designed with our advanced SilverGlo™™ insulation, the panels provide an unbroken sheet of R-13 insulation on your walls, while its inorganic, closed-cell design ensures that it will not soak up moisture or support mold growth.

More about Basement To Beautiful™™ Wall Insulation

Two contractors installing ThermalDry® floor matting tiles on a basement floor.

Create A Thermal Break On The Floor

While insulating the basement floor is not as important as the walls themselves, it can be beneficial to take some steps to cover up that cold concrete.

Our ThermalDry®™ floor tiles rest in raised plastic pegs on the floors of your basement, creating a thermal break on your floor that makes its surface 8-10 degrees warmer than the cold concrete below.

Shown on the right are our unfinished subfloor tiles. ThermalDry®™ Flooring is also available in two tiled and two carpeted designs. Our subfloor tiles also serve as a vapor barrier on your concrete surfaces, keeping back moisture that would otherwise pass through the concrete and into your home.

More about our Basement Flooring Options

An overview of our covered basement window wells.

Install New Basement Windows & Wells

Basement windows are typically made with a single pane of glass and a steel frame, and are surrounded by an open metal window well.

When brand new, these windows are generally given an R-1 insulation rating, meaning that 50% of the heat that reaches them passes right out of your home. Years later, when the steel is corroded and freezing winter winds are blowing against them, the heat loss is much worse.

At Basement Systems, we offer vinyl basement windows, which transfer less heat from your home and will never rust or corrode. Our windows include two panes of Low-E thermopaned glass, with an insulation rating of 2.93. Our window wells include a clear plastic cover, which helps to hold back those cold winter winds.

More about our Basement Window Systems

Upgrade Your Basement For A Warmer, More Comfortable Home!

If you're feeling cold floors over your basement, your issue isn't cold floors -- it's a cold space underneath. Beat back that cold by upgrading your basement, and enjoy comfort and money savings for many years to come.

If you'd like to learn more about saving money in your home, call or e-mail us today for a basement insulation estimate! Each of our estimates comes at no obligation and includes an on-site inspection, written estimate, and a free copy of our full-color book on basement science.

If you live in Canada or the United States, we have a trained, authorized Basement Systems dealer near you! Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.