How To Install Rigid Foam Insulation on Concrete


Rigid foam insulation is a highly recommended insulation for concrete applications, including foundations, basement walls, crawl spaces, and concrete slabs. With the right tools, anyone can insulate their concrete structure without the help of an insulation expert. Don't hire a costly handyman or carpenter when you can perform the installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw or cut-out saw
  • Tape measure
  • Marking instrument, such as a pencil
  • Hammer
  • Self-tapping concrete screws and washers
  • Fiberglass tape
  • Adhesive
  • Furring strips
  • Concrete water sealer
  • Prep the concrete wall before installing the rigid foam insulation. First, wash the wall with water and a mild detergent. Next, cover any cracks in the wall with a recommended crack repair product. If the wall has not been water seal-treated, this will need to be done prior to installing insulation.

  • Measure the space where the rigid foam insulation will be installed. Once the measurements have been recorded, start measuring the rigid foam insulation. Mark with a pencil or marker where cuts will be made. For long lines, snap out a line using a chalk box. Use either a hand saw or reciprocating saw to cut the rigid foam insulation.

  • For exterior foundation installations, water proofing will be applied to the concrete before continuing. Install the insulation after the sealer has dried. Using a recommended adhesive, apply it only to an area large enough that glue will not dry before completing entire wall.

  • Place rigid foam panels up to glue and set in place. When a complete wall is insulated with rigid foam insulation, use a tape measure and mark a line every 24 inches down the length of the insulated wall. At each line made horizontally across the wall, measure up every 24 inches and place more marks the height of wall. These marks are where to use self tapping concrete screws with washers to screw the foam into place.

  • Spread the screws 24 inches apart vertically and horizontally the entire wall; protect the screws and washers from the elements by placing fiberglass tape over them. Any exposed rigid foam insulation that sits six inches below grade and up on exterior wall applications should be covered with metal, cement board, or stucco.

  • During interior installation of rigid foam insulation, apply a waterproofing to the exterior of the concrete walls if possible. If installing gypsum board, run furring strips horizontally every 24 inches. Use self drilling concrete screws to install furring directly to wall. Furring strips should be same thickness as the rigid foam insulation being installed. If there will be no gypsum board or wood walls, do not install furring strips.

  • Cut the rigid foam insulation to fit between the furring strips. If furring isn't present, cut and install the rigid foam as in step two. Apply adhesive to the interior of the wall between the furring and glue the rigid foam insulation. Run self-tapping concrete screws down the center and every 24 inches of the rigid foam insulation to hold in place. Finally, place gypsum board or wood walls over the wall and screw or nail into the furring strips.

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