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What is the most cost-effective way to build a cement wall in a basement and achieve a good R-value?

I have build with ICFs. It is the cost. Wondering what else is out there. Not interested in rammed earth or framing with PT materials for exterior walls

Asked by Dan Easton
Posted Feb 22, 2013 10:24 PM ET
Edited Feb 23, 2013 5:03 AM ET


7 Answers

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I don't think you'll find much if the cost of ICF's is prohibitive. Maybe a poured wall w/ lots of foam outside? What do you not like about PT walls?

Answered by John Klingel
Posted Feb 22, 2013 11:46 PM ET


Wood in dirt-- It will rot someday I don't care how much chemical you inject into it. Not an option in my view

Answered by Dan Easton
Posted Feb 23, 2013 12:16 AM ET


The most cost-effective insulated basement wall is probably a conventional poured concrete wall insulated on the interior with Thermax polyisocyanurate.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Feb 23, 2013 5:05 AM ET


There are mineralic foams like shredded glas foam, perlite, expanded kiln fired clay and others which can be added to the agregate.
There are also foam developing additives available for concrete.
Contact a civil engineer to advise on the right mixture for thermal insulation and load bearing capacity.

These additives don't come cheap however.

Answered by Hein Bloed
Posted Feb 23, 2013 1:59 PM ET
Edited Feb 23, 2013 2:01 PM ET.


"It will rot someday I don't care how much chemical you inject into it." Agreed, if it gets wet. However, PT walls are coated/shielded to prevent watering them, and you need to keep your soil dry w/ prevention and drainage. If you can't keep the wall dry, then go foam/concrete.

Answered by John Klingel
Posted Feb 25, 2013 1:04 AM ET


Not wanting exterior deterioration issues or a finished basement, we decided to the Thermomass system on our home recently. The layer of rigid foam is in the middle of the concrete pour. I would suspect that it's less costly than ICFs.

Answered by Scott McCullough
Posted Feb 25, 2013 4:50 PM ET


Concrete is one of the oldest and most widely used cost-effective construction material. These concrete walls are highly durable and have high operating energy efficiency.

Answered by Jenny Belman
Posted Feb 26, 2013 8:39 AM ET

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