Attachment to brick requires unique engineering
1. For below-grade applications, you should use an extruded polystyrene insulation that's specifically rated for this use. Extruded polystyrene resists degrading from soil and moisture contact, has good compressive strength (the soil won't crush it), and retains its R-value even when damp. It can be applied directly to concrete basement walls, or over damp-proofing. Installation is usually done with an approved adhesive.
2. Extruded polystyrene (and all foam boards) that are exposed above grade need to be physically protected against damage, as well as covered with a thermal barrier. Simply painting it is not adequate. For your particular application, your best bet is to cover it with a sheet metal cover with a sloped top, to allow rainwater runoff.
3. Yes, it will prevent heat loss. As far as being cost effective, that depends on how much expense you need to put into the excavation work. Again, you might want to consider applying it to the interior instead.
4. I would visit www.energysavers.gov, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. Do a search for foam board or basement insulation, and you'll get a wealth of information about everything from types of products to installation techniques.
Q: I am demolishing rooms that have existing plaster and drywall finishes. The drywall replacement is approximately 1/3 of total wall coverage. Should I use Sheetrock or plaster? --Jade R.
A: Even though there is less drywall than there is plaster, you'll find that drywall is the more economical replacement material. It's also a much easier material to work with for a do-it-yourselfer. The exception would be if you're restoring a historically accurate home, where it's important to maintain the original interior plaster finishes.
Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org. All product reviews are based on the author's actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.
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