Insulation technique for termite-free areas
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Installing insulation panels
Install insulation panels on bare foundation
walls to save energy and enhance your
home's curb appeal. Fasten them to clean walls with a special foam adhesive.
Bare concrete foundation walls can look bad, especially if not screened by bushes and shrubs. However, there are several good ways to dress them up and add insulation at the same time. Foundation insulation panels, such as the ones made by Styro Industries, are one good-looking option. The foam panels are
available in 1-, 1-1/2- and 2-in. thicknesses, in different widths and lengths,
and with either stucco or aggregate textures. We paid $14 for each 2 x 4-ft., 1-in.-thick
panel. The panels attach to concrete, stone or block walls with rigid-foam adhesive and
can be cut with a utility knife or a circular saw with a masonry blade. Detailed installation
instructions and retailers are listed on the company's Web site.
According to Styro, an uninsulated foundation accounts for up to 22 percent of the
energy loss in a home. So insulation panels will improve your home's energy efficiency—and its looks.
Insulation option for termite-infested regions
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Panel installation steps
Glue the foam in place. Then add a tape covering and two layers of the special coating material.
The panels we show above are not termite resistant
and could provide a bridge for termites
to access the house. A termite
specialist told us that installing the
panels also makes it difficult to
inspect along the bottom of the siding
for termites. However, Dow Chemical
(dow.com/Styrofoam) offers a
termite-resistant insulation panel,
called Styrofoam Blueguard, that you
can install on the foundation's exterior,
then trowel a finish over the surface.
The 4 x 8-ft. panels are available
in 1-, 1-1/2- and 2-in. thicknesses.
Wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt
when handling the insulation. Adhere
the insulation to the foundation with
foam-compatible adhesive, butting the
joints tightly together. To cut the panels
to size, score them with a utility knife
and then snap them. Some building
codes require a 2- to 6-in. gap between
the panels and the siding for termite
Once the panels are installed, apply a
stucco-like finish. We show a premixed
acrylic finish by Styro Industries called TUFF II Pre-Mixed
Coating (about $70 for a 5-gallon bucket that
covers 80 sq. ft.). Etch the insulation
with a wire brush just enough to take
the sheen off the surface (this allows for
better adhesion of the finish). Apply
Sticky Mesh HD tape (also made by
Styro; $40 for a 9-1/2-in. x 150-ft. roll)
over the insulation, overlapping seams
by 2 in., then apply two coats of the
coating with a trowel or putty knife.
Paint the coating using an exterior
acrylic paint, if desired.