What insulation should I use? : HomeImprovement

TLDR: What insulation should I use to replace the R-11 fiberglass insulation we had in basement studs that are 1 inch away from a cement wall in most areas, and right up to insulating sheathing and brick in another section.?

Hi all, just looking for a little advice. We have been living in our new home for about a year now and I noticed that a baseboard in the basement looked like it had mold growing. Sure enough when I pulled it off I found a good bit of rot and mold. I pulled the wall apart and a lot of the insulation was a bit moldy and discolored, so I removed it all.


This is all the wall I’m going to pull apart for now, the damage doesn’t seem to extend any further, and to be honest it’s not too bad considering. Studs are in good shape just stained. I’ve already got it pretty dried out and I’m going to bleach treat the wood. I’ve cut the bottom of the 1980’s paneling off, I’ll replace just this bottom 2-3inches with similar 1980’s paneling and replace/cover with new baseboard. I think this is a better fix than trying to find a matching replacement for the whole paneling, and in a few years I would like to drywall this space, so it good enough for now. At that time I’ll redo the insulation in the whole space. I’ve also pretty much determined the cause, and it a combination of its-so-dumb-it’s almost comical things:

The downspout for the gutter terminates at this far corner onto a cement runner that should direct water away from the house. That runner didn’t exactly fit under the downspout and so whoever put it there probably 10 years ago put it backwards and said good enough. It literally directs water towards the house (facepalm). https://imgur.com/D9xLDMQ

It gets better, whoever installed the landscaping sprinkler controller ran the wires through the wall and into a PVC pipe that runs on a downgrade from the garden to the wall. The PVC terminates right behind where the gutter ends, no effort was made to seal any of this. When the gutter back flows into that area water runs down the PVC and follows the wires through the wall. https://imgur.com/qN0ADrD

I’ll address these issue with downspout extensions, removing the PVC and sealing the holes. The cement the AC units are on here are actually downgraded away from the house so water naturally does move away from the foundation.

So for the insulation, I was going to just replace in kind with some R-13 of the same style, but it obvious to me that fiberglass insulation is not always the recommended choice for basements so I wanted to see what a better choice would be. I assume a foam board maybe? Not sure if that makes sense to just put into the studs. A few things to note:

  1. The cement wall behind the studs has some sort of spray coating, and there is a runner at the bottom. As I understand this runner is supposed to direct water away from the foundation I guess? (this is what my inspector told me way back). Seen in this photo: https://imgur.com/JEhW3JU

  2. There is probably 1 inch of space between the cement wall and the studs and the insulation. I assume this lets the fiber insulation breath, so re-using fiber insulation is probably not the end of the world option.

  3. The area where it goes direct to brick (no cement wall) with 1/2 to 3/4 aluminum sided insulated sheathing between the studs and the brick (this is where the water damage is the worst. I will repair this sheathingand seal with aluminum tape I think? https://imgur.com/HdxJh7y

Thoughts on my best insulation option?

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