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Insulate Under Basement Flooring

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Ted in Illinois has an insulation question. What’s going on your money pit?

    TED: I’ve got a home and I’m finishing the basement. It was partially finished when I purchased the home but it’s just basically stud walls and insulated. And I was – when I get finished with the drywall and everything, on the floor – of course it’s around the St. Louis area so, obviously, it gets cold in the winter and the basement floors seem like they’re always the coldest.

    TOM: Right.

    TED: And carpeting tends to be better but I would like to put that laminate floor down.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TED: But I was wondering if there’s an – if it’s acceptable to put some kind of an insulation underneath that laminate and kind of let it float on top of that insulation like that.

    TOM: Yeah, you absolutely can and, typically, what you’re going to do is put down plastic sheeting first across the entire floor; a vapor barrier.

    LESLIE: To act as a moisture barrier.

    TOM: Right. And then you can put your insulation board on top of that and then you could put your laminate floor on top of that. There are a variety of different types of insulating board. You know, Dow makes some different products. I would recommend those that lock together or those that can be taped together so that they don’t move.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) This way you don’t get a lot of movement.

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: Especially with a laminate floor sort of floating on top of that. You want to make sure things are as sturdy in your subfloor situation as you can.

    TOM: But remember, Ted, that if you do that, you’re going to be creating a floor that’s a good inch thick or so. So make sure you account for that at doorways or at the bottom of the staircase and other places like that.

    TED: OK. So like would like a blue styrofoam board work …

    TOM: Yes. Mm-hmm. Yep.

    TED: … or is there stuff specifically made for that?

    TOM: Well, there is insulation specifically made for laminate floors but it’s very thin. It’s more designed to sort of even out the ridges and the peaks and the valleys of a concrete slab or a wood floor that it’s going on top of. And depending on which line of laminate floor you choose, you’re going to have a different type of insulation product. Some of them are attached to the bottom of the laminates. Some of them come in rolls and go down right before the laminates. What you’re talking about is doing some additional insulation and for that you’re going to have to use a different product.

    TED: OK. Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Ted. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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