FAQ for Concrete Slab Insulation

Q. How does under slab insulation reduce moisture movement from the ground?

Under slab or under concrete insulation are composed of low permeation materials and therefore resist moisture. Because our under slab insulation for concrete floors will resist moisture, the room in which the floor insulation is installed will be comfortably dry. This is why INSTA-PANELS® are great in garages, basements, and lived-in areas. Please note, it is best practice to ensure the area under the slab can drain and move moisture away from the insulation and concrete slab.

Q. What are the benefits of installing insulation to the ground before installing concrete?

There are a few benefits of installing insulation to the ground before installing concrete over top.

  1. Concrete slabs stay dry: Ambient temperatures and moisture are more readily controlled, which stops floors from sweating. Dry floors mean easy cleaning and control of bacteria and mold.
  2. Energy savings: Building codes‎ have for the longest time focused on increasing the thermal efficiency of walls, attics, roofs, doors, and windows but have neglected to take into account that the more insulation is put in one area, the greater the heat loss is in another area. Heat moves from hot to cold; the greater the delta between the heated area and non-heated area, the more the heat flows to where it is cold. Typical non-insulated slabs take the heat from the building and radiate that heat into the ground. By simply insulating the area under the concrete floor, the concrete floor becomes warmer as it slows down the heat from going into the ground.
  3. Heating is more even: Think of your floor as a radiator. Once the slab is warm, it helps even the overall temperature of the building.
  4. Healthy home environment: Moisture-resistant floors are more likely to stay free from dust accumulation than damp floors, which further improves the health of the living space.

Q. How much R-value should be installed under concrete floors in basements?

Although the Ontario Building Code (OBC) does not require insulation to be installed under non-heated floors in garages, basements, or other rooms, the OBC does require insulation to be installed under heated floor systems. It is, however, best practice to insulate and isolate the entire building envelope. The entire building envelope includes the ground.

The OBC requires R10 be installed under radiant heating systems; therefore, it is safe to consider installing R10 insulation under any concrete floor.

Q. Why is it important to insulate under concrete floors in basements and heated garages?

Heat moves from hot to cold. If you insulate all areas in your home with high R-value materials but fail to insulate the underside of your concrete floors, heat will escape through the ground.  Many people don’t think about it, but heat in your home does heat walls, floors, and furnishings. This is why it is sensible to insulate the underside of floors. It prevents heat loss. If you are constructing a new home or building, seriously consider insulating the underside of the concrete you are pouring.

Q. How easy is it to insulate prior to installing concrete floors in basements?

Installing under slab insulation before the concrete is poured is very simple. The necessary steps are as follows:

  1. Finished height of ceiling: Know where the finished height of the concrete slab needs to be, and make sure you don’t back fill too much. It is crucial to have enough depth for the moisture-resistant insulation you are going to use.
  2. Grading: Ensure the gravel or sand is as flat as possible.  The insulation follows the contour of the ground. The more level the ground and even the concrete slab, the stronger the concrete slab will be.
  3. Area to insulate: Calculate how much surface area you need to cover by measuring length multiplied by width.
  4. Moisture barrier: Although seams could be taped, it is always best practice to lay a moisture barrier under your insulation. A moisture barrier under the insulation will help control gasses from coming through the concrete floor.
  5. Insulation placement: Place the sheets of rigid insulation under the entire area to be covered by concrete.

You only have one chance to install the concrete slab properly without jack hammering out the floor. As such, be sure to follow the installation instructions provided to you when purchasing INSTA-PANELS®. Generally, it will take about a day to install INSTA-PANELS® properly.

Q. How much will it cost to insulate a basement with INSTA-PANELS®?

Typically, to insulate a 1500ft2 basement with our third-party tested metal skinned INSTA-PANELS® can cost as low as $1200 plus $300 for installation. The cost is slightly higher for our fiberglass skinned products. The return on investment is high for both the metal and fiberglass skinned INSTA-PANELS®.

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