• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates insulating a basement.

    Steps:
    1. Use masonry hammer and center punch to tap tie rods below surface of foundation wall.
    2. Mix up a small batch of hydraulic cement; moisten tie-rod holes with water sprayed from a planter mister.
    3. Force the hydraulic cement to the sunken tie-rod holes using a margin trowel.
    4. Apply foam-board adhesive to rear of polystyrene panel, then press the panel to the wall.
    Repeat for remaining panels.
    5. Snap five horizontal lines across the polystyrene panels.
    6. Hold 1x3 spruce board on the chalk line.
    7. Using a hammer drill and 3/16-inch masonry bit, drill holes through the 1x3 and into the concrete wall.
    8. Fasten the 1x3s with 4-inch-long spring spikes.
    9. Screw vertical 1x3s to the horizontal 1x3s with 1 -inch drywall screws.
    Space the horizontal 1x3s 16 inches on center.
    • About 2 to 4 hours to insulate an 8x14-foot wall
    • $100 to $150 to insulate an 8x14-foot wall
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      requires basic carpentry skills
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      Tools List

      • mason's hammer
        Masonry hammer and center punch, used to drive tie rods into concrete wall
      • margin trowel
        Margin trowel, for applying hydraulic cement
      • caulk gun
        Caulking gun, used to apply foam board adhesive
      • chalk line
        Chalk reel, used to snap horizontal lines
      • hammer drill
        Hammer drill and 3/16-inch masonry bit, used to drill holes in concrete walls
      • drill
        Drill/driver, for fastening vertical 1x3s to horizontal 1x3s

      Shopping List

      1. Plant mister, used to spray water onto the tie-rod holes

      2. Hydraulic cement, for plugging tie-rod holes in concrete wall

      3. 2-inch-thick rigid polystyrene, used to insulate wall

      4. Foam board adhesive, for adhering foam board to concrete wall 5. 1x3 spruce, used to secure foam board and create nailing surfaces for drywall

      6. 4-inch-long spring spike, secures wood boards to insulated wall

      7. 1 -inch drywall screws, used to fasten vertical 1x3s