Finishing your basement can be a win-win for both energy savings and comfort. But typical wood framing, with all materials, can cost up to $2.60 per square foot—with twice that in labor. ARXX, which traditionally makes insulating concrete forms for new construction, is showing a basement retrofit product, ReFit, at the International Builders’ Show. The company claims easy, even do-it-yourself installation of materials that cost roughly $1.80 per sq. ft.
For DIYers, full instructions, including downloadable videos, are on the company’s website. The interlocking ReFit panels are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) with embedded fastening strips to which you attach wallboard. Adjustable shims are included for straightening and plumbing the finished wall, and 90-degree and 45-degree panel connectors go into the corners. A finished ReFit wall, says the company, provides continuous R13.9 insulation and helps seal the foundation wall from unwanted air filtration. The EPS does not off-gas.
Unlike ARXX’s typical products and services, ReFit does not address water that’s leaking in through the foundation. ARXX recommends you solve any such problems—through their or other companies’ services— before expecting full comfort from a basement finish. Furthermore, since EPS can burn, building codes in the U.S. and Canada require wallboard as the outer layer. ARXX sells the ReFit system through lumber yards and building centers, but not big-box retailers. You can locate a reFit dealer by calling ARXX at 800-293-3210 or emailing the company at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Ed Perratore