Can you Insulate a cinder block basement foundation with Rockwool?

Victor B
Updated: Aug. 4, 2020

I am looking for advise on how to insulate CMU walkout basement with Rockwool insulation. 

I have one wall fully above ground (walkout side) one wall fully below ground (opposite side) And 2 walls that grade slopes down from top of the wall (100%underground ) to bottom of the wall (100% above ground) when it gets to walkout side . 

I am in climate zone 3A. 

I already have stud walls framed with 1.5”-2.5” gap between back of studs and CMU wall.

I was planing on the following assembly : 

  • CMU Wall (cinder blocks)
  • Rockwool comfortboard 80 1.25” to remove few studs and slide behind the framing and fix to CMU wall with concrete nails. 
  • Comfortbat in studs tight against comforboard 
  • Airgap of 0.25”- 1.25 due to stud location
  • Drywall 
  • Membrain or Intello smart vapor retarder 
  • Latex paint 

In my climate zone I can get away with 1.25” comfortboard R5 for walls that are 50% or more underground . That is half the basement. For other half i can either add batt insulation to 1.25 or try to fit 2” instead of 1.25 “ if space behind studs allows:

My Questions are the following : 

Will there be any issue in having only 1.25” with empty wall cavity ? 

Now Is it better to install smart vapor retarder or just use latex paint ?  Code doesn’t require any vapor retarder in my area. But I am also trying to avoid getting condensation on cold foundation wall in the winter during heating season and want to allow wall to dry in the summer . 

I am also a bit confused about smart retarder and how they would work for basements. 

Basements and basement walls work differently in summer and winter than walls exposed to air . 

Basement walls are always cold but touching earth on the other side that could be 99% humid . So the wall needs to dry to the interior right ? 

How would smart vapor retarder work in winter   If wall gets wet from heavy rain will the membrain open up to let the wall dry to the inside? But if it opens up when it senses moisture how come does it block interior vapor moisture at the same time? 

Responses (6)

Ecohome 4 years ago
Victor B 4 years ago

Thank you for this Idea. I will try to to do that. Another question I have : do you see any issue with having only rigid 2". rockwoolboard (R6) agains the wall in the locations where wall more than 50% below top of soil and having no insulation between studs?   Meanin there will be approx 3.5" of air. space between back of drywall and insulation for half of my wallkout basement foundation wall length 

Mike Reynolds 4 years ago

Hi Victor, 

I don't quite understand the assembly you are describing, can you re-word that? 

Carlos E
Carlos E 2 years ago