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Old 03-16-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
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Oh crap...help!


I have a drywall guy coming Monday to tape and mud a room I've been working on in my basement. He came Friday to give me his estimate and I asked him about the existing drywall I didn't tear up. The bottom of that drywall is almost 2" (some spots more) above the floor and I thought that would make attaching baseboards tricky. He agreed it would and told me to horizontally cut about 6" or so from the bottom and then replace that with new drywall that's closer to the floor, about 1/2"-3/4".

So tonight I've been working on that and two of the walls are exterior walls...and I see the insulation behind the walls shows spots of water damage.

Is there always some moisture present in a basement wall? Is it normal to see a little bit here and there along an exterior basement wall? Or is ANY sign of moisture a call for alarm? Do I need to tear these walls down, remove the plastic wrap and look behind the insulation?

I know this is useless without pics so I'll try to get them up asap.

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Old 03-16-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
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no there shouldnt be moisture. open up the wall and check out the problem and get it fixed before moving forward with the drywall work. call and put your drywaller on hold until the problem is fixed.
also i would put plywood on the bottom 2" where there isnt any drywall. drywall will wick up moisture from off the floor even being 1/2" up. cutting the drywall at 6" would be a pain to mud.

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Old 03-16-2013, 07:46 PM   #3
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It looks pretty bad, doesn't it? But the blackish color is actually from the black adhesive on the back side of the paper showing through. Nothing was actually wet, and there was no strong smell. It looks like it's falling apart but that's from when I pulled a few pieces of insulation out to look at them.

I noticed it looks like the moisture is coming up from the floor on the studs. I also see the studs go to the floor, rather than to a horizontal stud. This house is about 50 years old, so that's why I was wondering if it's normal for some moisture to wick up from the floor over time.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #4
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None of that is exceptable.
There needed to be a pressure treated 2 X 4 on the floor.
I'd bet the insulation is in direct contact with the foundation and there's no vaper barrier.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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I'm holding up the vapor barrier in the pic, so at least they did that. And no, that's not PT on the floor. When did they start using PT for basement framing? My guess is after my house was built. (Only asking out of curiosity as to when the practice started. I'm aware PT should be used)

Anyways, this is turning out like every other project I've ever done. It goes from a small, simple job to rebuilding the entire house.

Am I really looking at having to reframe all my basement exterior facing walls? Am I looking at the expense of waterproofing?

:sob:

Last edited by spaceman spif; 03-16-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by spaceman spif View Post
I'm holding up the vapor barrier in the pic, so at least they did that. And no, that's not PT on the floor. When did they start using PT for basement framing? My guess is after my house was built. (Only asking out of curiosity as to when the practice started. I'm aware PT should be used)

Anyways, this is turning out like every other project I've ever done. It goes from a small, simple job to rebuilding the entire house.

Am I really looking at having to reframe all my basement exterior facing walls? Am I looking at the expense of waterproofing?

:sob:
you are NOT alone

I am just a lowly painter, so I will not comment on the framing and such, but something is certainly wrong and needs to be fixed before you redo the drywall.

Last edited by chrisn; 03-17-2013 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
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something is definitely wrong!i think your basement flooded at some point in time and it just dried on its own. First thing i noticed is the tack strip for the carpet. its almost black and weather beaten and take a look at the nails holding it my guess is they are rusted. Even if it was dry i'd be pulling it up when doing that joint at 6". it would feel awesome running your knuckles along it. Next is your framing you can see the water staining 4" up the studs. and did you kind of just pack that insulation back in? its suppose to be poofy and flat not packed in. insulation doesn't do a thing when its stuffed. also did you notice any mold on the back side of the drywall you cut out? were the screws rusted? i would start going around the rest of the basement to see if its the same as what you found. if so then your basement definitely flooded at one time. if that is the case then remove drywall at 3".if you see mold then go higher at 1' or ever 2' depending on what you find. if you only needed to cut it at 3" replace with plywood filler strips. if its only the one wall or section that is affected then you have a foundation leak and its running down behind the wall and pooling on the floor and may only leak when there is a decent rain. if thats the case then tear down the drywall in that area. get the leak fixed and redrywall it. The 2x4's are not suppose to be touching the concrete but i wouldnt freak and tear down the walls. it isnt that big of a problem to spend thousands. If you do tear out that section then while your at it replace with pressure treat and when you renovate other areas of your basement change it to pressure treat
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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Take a look at the grading and downspouts outside of your house, too. If water is draining towards your foundation or pooling there, you'll need to correct that before you do anything inside.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:34 AM   #9
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I was in the same boat with you. I had a fully finished basement that I suspected had water issues. Turns out I was right. Mold on the walls, etc. I'm re-framing as we speak. I'm using a foam seal and PT 2x4 for the bottom plate. If a foam seal (usually pink foam) was used, I don't believe PT wood needs to be used. However, reg 2x4 should never be placed against concrete.

Feel free to view my basement demo thread and ask any questions you may have. I'll gladly share my stories too.

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Old 03-17-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
you are NOT alone

I am just a lowly painter, so I will not comment on the framing and such, but something is certainly wrong and needs to be fixed before you redo the drywall.
It started off so simple. All I wanted to do was frame some drywall around the ductwork and exposed ceiling in the closet. That turned into reframing the closets...then rewiring some of the outlets...light switches...and the phone jack. Now this??? %$#@!!

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Originally Posted by princelake View Post
something is definitely wrong!i think your basement flooded at some point in time and it just dried on its own. First thing i noticed is the tack strip for the carpet. its almost black and weather beaten and take a look at the nails holding it my guess is they are rusted. Even if it was dry i'd be pulling it up when doing that joint at 6". it would feel awesome running your knuckles along it. Next is your framing you can see the water staining 4" up the studs. and did you kind of just pack that insulation back in? its suppose to be poofy and flat not packed in. insulation doesn't do a thing when its stuffed. also did you notice any mold on the back side of the drywall you cut out? were the screws rusted? i would start going around the rest of the basement to see if its the same as what you found. if so then your basement definitely flooded at one time. if that is the case then remove drywall at 3".if you see mold then go higher at 1' or ever 2' depending on what you find. if you only needed to cut it at 3" replace with plywood filler strips. if its only the one wall or section that is affected then you have a foundation leak and its running down behind the wall and pooling on the floor and may only leak when there is a decent rain. if thats the case then tear down the drywall in that area. get the leak fixed and redrywall it. The 2x4's are not suppose to be touching the concrete but i wouldnt freak and tear down the walls. it isnt that big of a problem to spend thousands. If you do tear out that section then while your at it replace with pressure treat and when you renovate other areas of your basement change it to pressure treat
Flooding was my first thought as well, since the water marks appear to come from the ground up. But there are only two areas that look like that along the wall, the rest of it looks okay, so now my concern is a leak in the wall near that spot. I'll probably have to cut higher up the drywall and look at the wall.

As for the insulation I had picked a few small pieces off to examine the stains, but it was laid in there flat. I did check the drywall and it looked okay on the back, no black or mold spots. But yes, some of the carpet tacks looked bad.

I had to cut horizontally along the bottom of the drywall for two reasons. One was the previous installer left a huge gap, more than 2" in areas, which I thought would make it hard to install baseboard flush. The second reason was when I removed the old, ugly baseboard I found they glued it in several spots and it tore the drywall when I pulled it.

So you would suggest replacing the 2x4's on the floor only if needed? This is an older house and I did notice when I was doing the closets that the studs along the bottom were not PT. This wall is the first wall I noticed that doesn't have a horizontal stud on the floor, just those 6" pieces.

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Originally Posted by Kansas Girl View Post
Take a look at the grading and downspouts outside of your house, too. If water is draining towards your foundation or pooling there, you'll need to correct that before you do anything inside.
Fortunately I just worked on that and that's all good.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trucon01 View Post
I was in the same boat with you. I had a fully finished basement that I suspected had water issues. Turns out I was right. Mold on the walls, etc. I'm re-framing as we speak. I'm using a foam seal and PT 2x4 for the bottom plate. If a foam seal (usually pink foam) was used, I don't believe PT wood needs to be used. However, reg 2x4 should never be placed against concrete.

Feel free to view my basement demo thread and ask any questions you may have. I'll gladly share my stories too.

Jeff
I took a peek...nice job and looks like what I'll be doing soon. Also makes me wish my Dad was still around. He was a super handyman and enjoyed projects like this.

Fun story...when I was a kid I used to leave my Dad's tools laying out when I was done with them. I knew he would get mad at me for not putting them away, but I also knew he would find them laying out and realize I was trying to learn how to be handy like him.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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if you open up the wall take out the bottom plate and cut the studs so you can slide a piece of pressure treat in there, level up the wall and either fire some nails in there with a hilti gun or put some tapcons in it. If you don't need open up the wall just leave the plate and the studs alone. it would be impossible trying to secure the plate. tapcons and hilti shots don't work so great putting them on a 45.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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IMO, postpone and remove it all, read this first, then we can talk; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...lation-systems

The moisture is from the concrete wall hitting the plastic/dripping down to pool at the bottom, wetting/wicking from there upward on the insulation/studs. No asphalt paper-faced or plastic below grade unless foamboard is thick enough glued directly to concrete OR you are in a "very cold" climate like Canada...

Gary
PS. that cavity insulation is bunched-up, degrading it's value; tremendously...
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
IMO, postpone and remove it all, read this first, then we can talk; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...lation-systems

The moisture is from the concrete wall hitting the plastic/dripping down to pool at the bottom, wetting/wicking from there upward on the insulation/studs. No asphalt paper-faced or plastic below grade unless foamboard is thick enough glued directly to concrete OR you are in a "very cold" climate like Canada...

Gary
PS. that cavity insulation is bunched-up, degrading it's value; tremendously...
So the problem isn't moisture in the basement, it's trapped moisture in the basement, thanks to that plastic sheeting. Explains why I can't quite seem to get rid of the smell in this house, despite cleaning and running a dehumidifier.

This is looking expensive.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #15
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So after reading the "Building Science" article, plus doing some more reading, it looks like I plan to tear out the drywall, add up the cost of the repairs, then walk away, crying, and go live with my Mom.

No, wait...my plan is the following:
  • Remove the drywall on the exterior facing walls
  • Remove the plastic sheet and existing insulation
  • Clean the block wall face and fix any cracks
  • Put up extruded polystyrene (probably 3/4" or 1")
  • Put up batt insulation
  • Cover with 1/2" drywall

Any input is more than welcome. Since I'm removing the drywall, should I bother replacing the floor stud with PT? Or if all the framing doesn't look too bad, just leave it be? Should I bother painting the block wall with a water resistant masonry paint?

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