It sure can feel nice to finish out your basement and have a lovely, livable space to use for your family’s needs or to rent out for extra cash.
But after all that hard work, it can feel equally as disappointing to go down to your new basement on the first day of winter and start… shivering.
What the heck?! You just spent all this time and money on renovations and somehow your basement still doesn’t feel comfortably warm. Even worse, if you have basement tenants, you can be sure their complaints won’t wait until spring.
Chilly, damp and uncomfortable finished basements are common in Ontario, mainly because winter here is so cold. Luckily, we know how to fix it – read on to learn what you need to do!
Early Basements Were Never Meant to Be Lived In
Way back when, basements were not designed to be lived in. Rather, their primary purpose was to serve as a reliably cold place in which to store food items, fuel for the fireplace and food during the long months when it was too cold to farm or hunt easily.
The first basements were very unglamorous. They were just dirt dugouts that looked a lot more like enclosed crawl spaces than real basements.
It was only over time that the home basement took on a function above and beyond temporary storage. Slowly but surely, bulky appliances, holiday decorations, seasonal clothing and other items made their way down into the cellar-turned-basement.
Today’s Basements Are Often Damp and Poorly Insulated
According to the homeowners insurance industry, the typical basement today has a jaw-dropping 98 percent chance of taking on water at some point in the future.
However, chances are good that your basement is already coping with trapped moisture in the tiny fissures and cracks that naturally formed when newly poured concrete foundation and walls settled and dried.
Concrete is a porous material by nature and thus quite prone to damp, humidity, leaks and outright floods depending on what is going on outside.
What does this have to do with insulation?
In most cases, the type of insulation used in basement spaces is not moisture- and humidity-resistant. Most fiberglass insulation is just as vulnerable to damp, mould and mildew as any other home furnishings and simply cannot do a good job of regulating the environment inside your basement.
To keep damp and cold from infiltrating your basement, you need a special type of basement-friendly graphite-infused foam insulation that can repel moisture and humidity.
What to Do to Fix Your Damp, Chilly Basement
Basements are a big perk for many homebuyers today. In an era where no one ever seems to have enough space in their home, the allure of having a whole extra room or apartment below ground is undeniable.
But a damp, chilly basement isn’t going to do much to raise your home’s resale value, because no one wants to spend any time there!
Luckily, it is easier than you might think to permanently dehumidify and warm up your basement in winter. As an extra perk, once you take these steps, you may find your homeowners insurance premiums decreasing as well!
1. Add cold air return ducts to exhaust the cold air
Without adding cold air return ducts to remove the cold air that is collecting inside your basement, there is no real way for all that cold air to escape.
Your furnace system will have to work twice as hard to heat your basement, which in turn may raise the temperature above-ground to a point of discomfort.
Even if you choose to install a separate standalone heating system in your basement, you still need to exhaust the cold air as a precursor to warming the basement. But in most cases, your home’s existing furnace is more than sufficient to heat your basement as well once a cold air duct is in place.
2. Seal up air leaks in vents, windows, window wells, doors, drains
Even many finished basements still harbor a surprising number of air leaks and cracks where cold air can seep in during the winter.
By taking the time to weatherstrip, caulk and seal windows and window wells, drains, doors, dryer vents, exhaust vents and other common culprits, you keep warm air in and cold air out.
Even better, you also keep out insects and critters that might otherwise find their way into your basement.
3. Insulate ducts and dryer exhaust vents
We touched on the problem of basement insulation in a previous section here. Not only will the wrong type of insulation in your basement foster increased damp and humidity, but over time it can lead to mould and mildew problems.
When you upgrade to moisture-resistant insulation, be sure not to forget insulating your ducts, dryer exhaust vents and any other points of ingress/egress that might be letting cold air back in.
4. Apply interior basement waterproofing
Interior basement waterproofing does so much more than “just” protect your basement and home from leaks and flooding.
It also effectively seals out the continual onslaught of damp, humid air that can make your basement feel unlivable in both winter and summer.
Properly applied, affordable basement waterproofing takes just a day or two and delivers back to you a humidity-balanced, temperature-controlled underground space suitable for play, work or tenants.
Basement waterproofing can easily be applied to both unfinished and finished basement spaces. Once applied, you can even lay down carpet in your basement safely, which then adds an extra layer of insulating warmth to lock in the heat inside your space.
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Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.