Insulating a Concrete Basement Floor
Installing Sleepers and Rigid Foam Insulation
to Build an Insulated Concrete Basement Floor
By: Mark J. Donovan
If you have plans of finishing
your basement and desire a warmer feeling floor, and/or plan to install wood
or carpet flooring, you may want to install a subfloor. Installing a wood
subfloor over your basement’s concrete floor will enable you to insulate the
concrete basement floor and prevent the threat of moisture damage to your
wood or carpet flooring.
To insulate a concrete basement
floor you first need to build a grid of sleepers (2x4s) over the basement
floor. This can be accomplished by using either pressure treated 2x4s or
Building the Wood
To begin the process of installing a
basement subfloor, you should first confirm that you do not have a water
problem in your basement.
Assuming there is no basement water
problem, you should then apply 6 mil thick polyethylene plastic to the floor of
the basement. Make sure you overlap the seams by approximately 6 inches and
tape them with duct tape. The plastic should also go up the basement walls 4 to
6 inches. Apply an adhesive to the back of the plastic to have it stick to the
Next, install the pressure treated
2x4s, on their flat side around the perimeter of the basement using a powder
actuated nail gun to secure them to the concrete floor.
It is best to begin the installation
of sleepers at the highest point in the basement floor, thus, you can install
shims where necessary to raise the subfloor to the highest subfloor level. Use a
spirit level frequently to make sure the sleepers are installed level to each
other and throughout the basement floor area.
Next, install a grid work of 2x4s,
again on their flat side, in-between the perimeter of 2x4s. As you install the
grid of sleepers, use a spirit level and apply shims where necessary to make
sure the floor is level.
With the grid work of 2x4s
installed, now install rigid foam insulation in-between the sleepers.
Once the insulation has been
installed in-between the sleepers, install ¾” tongue and grove plywood or
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) to the sleepers.
Once the plywood or OSB decking has
been installed, your basement floor should be much warmer and is ready for wood
or carpet flooring.
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