Continuous insulation is an excellent addition to foundations. By isolating the foundation from the ground, foam sheathing limits thermal bridging and improves building performance, both from an energy standpoint as well as moisture management. All of this means greater building efficiency and occupant comfort.

For additional information about this topic visit Foundation Insulation & Frost Protection.

Tools & Education

Building America Top Innovations: Basement Insulation Systems

This gives an overview of value-added application of rigid foam sheathing to basement walls. 

ASCE 32-01 Design and Construction of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation, (FPSF)

This standard is a code referenced guide for designing and constructing cost-effective and energy-efficient foundations using foam plastic sheathing. 

FPIS Construction Details

Code-compliant details for the use of foam sheathing as thermal insulation in light frame construction. Available as a sealed code compliance report.

Design Guide For Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations

This guide produced for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development initiated modern recognition of frost-protected shallow foundations in the U.S. – ultimately resulting in building code acceptance and development of the ASCE 32 standard.

Revised Builder's Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations

To assist U.S. home builders, remodelers and trade contractors in the design, construction, and code approval of frost protected shallow foundations. This is an updated and more user friendly version of the HUD guide above.

Best Practices

Insulating a Slab on Grade

What’s the best way to insulate a slab-on-grade foundation?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Foundation Design Handbook

Provides information and construction details concerning thermal protection, subdrainage, waterproofing, vapor controls, structural requirements, radon control, and termite damage prevention when constructing or renovating residential or small commercial projects. 

Practical Research

Termite Protection Research Report

Evaluates data on termite hazard and inspection effectiveness, as well as the presence of hidden pathways in assemblies with and without exterior insulation. Recommends updates to current building code provisions.

Additional Information

Durability by Design - 2nd Edition

Comprehensive guide from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on “durability” in construction, or the ability of a material, system, or building to maintain its intended function for its intended life-expectancy with intended levels of maintenance in intended conditions of use.