how to insulate basement walls in minnesota

How to Insulate Basement Walls in Minnesota – Time-Saving Methods

Insulating basement walls requires following procedures and codes, and each insulation methods have codes that must be adhered to. The State of Minnesota has construction codes for insulating basement walls. This is known as the Minnesota insulation code. However, before we talk about how to insulate basement walls in Minnesota, it is necessary to explain why insulating a basement is important. We will explain those in the following paragraphs. Although basements are very useful for storage purposes and because they can help you conserve heat.

However, the result is not the same when we compare it to extremely cold weather. Basements that are not insulated may get cold during extreme weather. The result of this is that you lose money that you have paid for heating your home since the heat will escape from the uninsulated basement. That’s about a 30% loss in revenue. In addition, you lose the heat that should heat your room. Compounding the problem is the moth that develops and the resulting health complications when the basement gets wet or murky.

In order to address the issue, you need to find the source of the problem. And that is when you identify the source where the moisture is getting in from. If you are able to prevent the moisture from getting into the basement, then you’re certain to have comfort continuously throughout the seasons. Another reason why insulating basement walls with foam board is to improve the quality of air in your room. Good air circulation translates to good healthy living.

Furthermore, the basement insulation code could help you reduce noise pollution. When the wall insulation is done, noises that would pass through the uninsulated walls into your living room are prevented from penetrating into the room. Overall, insulating basement walls will help in the reduction of the money spent on utility bills.

How to insulate basement walls in Minnesota

Step 1: Know the Minnesota code requirements for basement insulation

The State of Minnesota has construction codes for basement wall insulation that you must follow. These codes cover insulation in new buildings and also old buildings. So as not to belabor you with all the code language, you can check the code out at Northern Built if you are a construction agent. A summary of how to insulate basement walls in Minnesota code is that for new buildings you should insulate from the foundation wall at R-15 starting at the top and ending at the bottom of the wall. Then there are the requirements for interior and exterior insulation.

Furthermore, the code specified the types of insulation materials and methods you can use. The Interior should not exceed R-11 while the Exterior is R-10. Though there are exceptions. Then there are specifications for existing buildings, the way you are to insulate, and the materials that are allowed are all specified in the code. You are strongly advised to check out the Minnesota Code for all foundation wall insulation requirements.

Step 2: Seal off leakage channels

What’s the point of insulation when it is not done properly? That’s why you need to close off all entry points for water, air, and dampness. You can use plastic sheeting on the wall. The plastic should adhere to the wall with asphalt roofing cement. But you’ll need a caulking gun to properly seal off all entry points.

Step 3: Construct a wall stud

Construction codes in Minnesota require that basement should have a covering, then you’ll need to use 2 by 4 wood boards and 2 by 4 boards for the top and bottom and along the insulation walls.

Step 4: Insulate the wall

Using any of the materials and methods of insulation, you’ll need to insulate your basement walls under this step. Cut and emplace the insulation materials and apply them on the stud wall frame.

Step 5: Apply a vapor retarder

Under this step, you need a Polyethelene of 4 mils to apply in covering the insulated walls. Use a stapler to get it all perfectly fitted. For any noticed leaks or tears, apply red construction tape across the area to seal it off.

Step 6: Cover your insulation walls

The final step to finishing installing the basement walls insulation is to seal off the area with drywall.

What is the best insulation to use on basement walls

For concrete walls

The best insulation material to use when framing basement walls against concrete is spray foam. Though it is very costly, it is a one-off solution when you’re looking at reducing utility bills, especially on energy. Also, this insulation method is reputed to help prevent moisture infestation due to its moisture resistance. Additionally, it is renowned as the best in filling holes and gaps that other insulation materials would not reach. You’re certain to have good air circulation and prevent mold and mildew from forming in your basement walls when you insulate with the spray foam.

Foam board

If you want to insulate your basement walls yourself, the foam board is the ideal method to use. It’s a method you can easily handle yourself. Plus it’s less expensive than Spray foam. This method requires that you choose the thickness of the insulation suitable for the wall in order to prevent vapor from manifesting in the basement. Since there are various foam boards on the market, Home Construction Improvement advised reading about the R values and types of foam board insulation available on the market. Insulation basement walls with foam board are the ideal insulation method you should adopt if you do not have the resources to call an expert as you can easily get to use it yourself and install it in your home.

Hybrid foam and fiberglass insulation

Though not suitable for a basement with a history of water vapor disturbance, it is the cheapest of all methods for basement insulations. This is used alongside foam board but you’ll first need to seal it as explained under its subheading above. Afterward, you’ll frame it with a wall stud, and the final step is the installation of the fiberglass.

How to insulate basement walls in Minnesota: Tips

  • If you are insulting the basement yourself, you have to get all the necessary materials beforehand.
  • Wear safety kits.
  • Properly seal off air, mold, and water penetration before insulation.
  • When it gets complicated, call the expert.
  • For insulation materials that are complex to install, ensure the construction expert help with your insulation job.

How to insulate basement walls in Minnesota: FAQ

Is it worth insulating a basement wall?

Yes, it is worth every penny to insulate basement walls because, in the long run, you might be spending so much more on energy bills than you would have spent on insulating basement walls. When you don’t insulate basement walls, you get molds and mildew build up in your basement, and this can result in pour air and have adverse effects on your health. Then you have heat that you spend so much money to buy and use wasting away through a gap or hole in your basement. Thus, if you spend money to insulate your basement walls as a one-off, you’ll reap the benefits year-round.

Should I insulate the wall on the inside or the outside?

You can insulate the basement wall from the inside or outside. But there are advantages and disadvantages to doing either of them. From a functional perspective, the outside insulation is known to be the best. It saves you space the insulation will take when done from the inside, and it helps protect against water that may likely pass through the external walls into your home. However, the external wall insulation costs more to install and it may not function properly if it is not correctly installed.

On the other hand, inside insulation is cheap to install compared to external insulation. However, it will take up more space in your room and is susceptible to water penetration.

What if the basement has an interior French drain?

It does not really matter that your basement has an interior French drain because water will still seep into the basement. The job of the drain is to absorb the water and expel it into a drainage pipe outside your home. Therefore, the French drain may not be necessary when you are installing the basement insulation walls.


In summary, this article has explained in detail how to insulate basement walls in Minnesota. It gave a step-by-step guide on the procedures to follow. It is expedient that you follow the Minnesota code for the construction and insulation of basement walls if you do not want to be in breach of the laws of the state and for the protection of yourself and your health. This article also explored the methods and the best insulation you can use in your home for all purposes. You are advised to follow the tips strictly in order to have a seamless installation of the basement wall exercise. Good luck! Wishing you a comfort-filled home.



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