Preparing Your Basement for Insulation

There are several steps you must address and plan before you start stacking your InSoFast panels. Think of it as a game plan, charted specifically for your project space. To make the process easier to jump-start, we’ve mapped out all the Project Prep Steps you need to tackle:

1. Check Your Walls

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Make a ‘map’ of your space by taking note of any wall protrusions, pipes, windows, etc. You’ll need to cut the panels accordingly. The video below shows a quick demonstration of the ‘dry stacking’ method which helps to determine the layout and cuts of panels before they are adhered to the wall. If it’s possible to remove any of these obstacles, do it. It will make your job easier in the long run.

One of the advantages of using InSoFast is an adhesive-based application. We always recommend using Loctite PL Premium’s 3X Stronger Adhesive. It is designed to cure 3 times stronger than the average construction adhesive without shrinking. Additionally, it is not a solvent-based chemical. This means it won’t melt the foam and can be used in insufficiently ventilated spaces like basements.

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In order for Loctite to “lock tight,” you must prep your walls. This means removing any dirt, debris, loose paint or anything else that may disrupt a wall’s surface. Cleaning the walls also helps prevent future mold and mildew issues. Mold grows on concrete because of the organic components like dirt and dust that stick to it. You can protect against these issues and ensure a strong adhesive bond by thoroughly scrubbing your walls with a masonry cleaner such as Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) mixed in warm water. If you are still unsure about your wall conditions after cleaning you can try an adhesive test (See Step 4 of this guide).

A wall must be structurally sound before installing InSoFast (or anything for that matter), so you’ll need to check their levelness or plumb. InSoFast panels can cover the worst of walls and their interlocking design helps self-level to an extent. You need to survey your walls and decide if you have the skills necessary to tackle any advanced techniques that may be required. For more information on this topic, check out our Shimming Uneven Walls help page and the downloadable Uneven Walls technical guide.

This video below gives a rich visual description of one possible solution.

2. Prep Windows, Doors, and Openings

In order to prepare the windows and doors for your InSoFast project, you will need to frame any openings with wood or metal furring. Use 2″ deep furring in order to meet the thickness of the UX 2.0 panels (2.5″ for EX 2.5 panels). You also need to make sure the framing is at least 2″ wide for attachment purposes. You can use pressure-treated lumber, western cedar, or cellular PVC for the material. This framing will ensure an even attachment point for things like drywall in case the InSoFast’s embedded stud does not perfectly meet the edge.

To attach the furring to concrete, you can use the same methods you’ve selected for the InSoFast panels. To keep it simple use PL Premium adhesive. We also recommend Tapcon concrete screws or Perma-Grip nails.

3. Plan the Electric

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Electrical wiring chases are one of the many features built into the InSoFast panel. They run vertically at 16″ on center and horizontally at 24″ on center in the panels. This grid-work provides easy access to pull the wiring to any location. The chases also address the necessary separation from the drywall that’s required by electrical codes.

Before you start your project you should plan out how you intend to run the electrical wiring. Use the built-in wiring chases as a guideline. If there is pre-existing wiring running along your walls that does not match up with the InSoFast chases, you should either re-run your electric or carve new grooves into the back of the panels. Some projects may require the consultation of a certified electrician.

4. Adhesive Tests

Most likely your wall will be ready for adhesives, but it’s generally a good idea to include the Adhesive Test in your Project Prep plans. Start the test by spreading a bead of Loctite PL Premium 3X Stronger adhesive onto a 6” long scrap of 2×4 wood. Press the “test block” against the wall with one end resting on the floor. This helps to keep it from sliding down and falling off the wall. Support it in place if necessary. You’ll need to wait 24-48 hours for the adhesive to cure, but always remember that PL Premium takes 14 days to reach it’s full strength.

When the curing time has passed you are ready to test the strength of the bond! Try to pry the test board off the wall. If you can manage to pull it off with your hands, you will need to mechanically fasten the panels to the wall. You can either use 3” mechanical fasteners by themselves or in addition to the adhesive. Our President and inventor recently noted that, “There have been some unnecessary doubts in terms of the adhesives…it’s easy to understand why it would seem unbelievable that an 8 ft stud section could hold 7,000 lbs of straight pull off, but we’ve engineered our product to meet those capabilities.” Believe in the stud!

5. Fix Water Issues

This is your last chance to fix anything before you cover it up. It is always better to keep water out than to try to manage the water inside. InSoFast panels have built-in drainage planes designed to channel water out of a wall system, but it’s important to understand that InSoFast panels are not a substitute for waterproofing.

Before blocking the walls with insulation you also need to correct any water intrusion problems that already exist. Drylok Extreme Masonry Waterproofer is tested and approved for use with InSoFast Panels. This smooth waterproof paint is perfect for the most demanding conditions including interior, exterior, above or below grade masonry walls, basement walls and more. It is also specially formulated to resist mildew growth. Another option is Emecole Pene-Seal-Crete which is easy to install and will penetrate up to 3 inches into concrete walls. Learn more about waterproofing on our Waterproofing and Moisture Management Page.

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  • MarkD

    The link to the waterproofing and moisture management page above doesn’t work.

    • Thanks for the catch! Everything should be up-to-date now.

  • Jim

    Hi,
    I have a cinderblock wall foundation in my home and there is product called WhiteCap Vapor Barrier installed on all the walls. It is installed with masonry anchors in regular intervals to adhere it to the walls. Can the InSoFast product be glued to this Vapor Barrier and provide the support required? Thanks!

  • TTAH

    Hi – the base of my walls, where it meets the floor, is curved slightly with concrete (I guess some old attempt at water sealing in this 1954 ranch). What would you recommend since I cannot sit the first set of panels flush with the floor (short of removing the concrete, which I don’t want to do since the basement is dry). perhaps just start it up the wall a little bit above the curve?

    • As opposed to removing the concrete, we’d recommend carving out the back of the InSoFast panel assuming the size of the curve is within the depth of the panel. This is the same process one would use to set panels over pre-existing features or obstacles in a wall – check out our playlist for Advanced Installation Techniques for examples.

      If your curve extends too far past the panel’s depth, you can build out the wall to offset it and create a new, flush surface for the panels to sit.

  • sne

    How long should I let the Dry-Lok cure on block walls before it’s safe to glue on the Insofast?

  • Tony Kowalski

    My basement walls are poured concrete but have been covered with masonry stucco. Will I need to remove the stucco to glue the panels to it?

    • You’ll need to be the final judge in the matter, but if the masonry stucco is in good structural condition it shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t install the panels if the stucco is chipping off the wall. Try performing an adhesive test, as described above, if you are uncertain of the condition.