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Old 05-04-2009, 06:04 PM   #16
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


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Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
You need some foam board directly attached to the concrete wall. (glued and sealed with foam and/or tape at the seams. This acts as a capillary break to stop moisture coming from the concrete wall as well as keeping the concrete wall warm thus avoiding condensation that occurs when warmer air moves towards this wall from the basement. Also add sill insulation under the sole plate for the same capillary break from the slab.

It means that a basement can appear to be and be dry while not finished. The moisture that is always moving through the concrete can dry to the open air in a basement. BUT... people add finished walls that are constructed wrong and/or add an vapor barrier and now you have a wet wall. Moisture no longer can dry to the basement.
If you have the foam against the wall or not isn't necessarily the issue. It's if the foam will allow moisture to pass through it and not be trapped between the foam and the concrete. It really doesn't matter if it's a millimeter or 3 inches. Remember, too layering adds air between the layers. Air is a great cushion for slowing the transfer of heat or cold. Once you put a solid piece of material it against another adds a "conductor" of sorts. Same reason why fiberglass type insulation is "puffy" or airy.

I tend to disagree that if you keep the concrete "warm" by adding insulation to only one side, as you suggested the interior, it will keep condensation from forming. Moisture is wicked through both sides of the wall, not just the outside. Anywhere that there's a vapor barrier will incite moisture buildup, on one side or the other or both. The key is the ability to dry this moisture from the air in a timely fashion.

Remember warmth doesn't necessarily dictate a non humid basement. Just look at the tropics. Also, there can be moisture in a cold environment long as there's a source, ie a dryer, rain.

I agree though that if people don't understand the concepts of why moisture builds up there will be, are, many moldy houses.

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Old 05-04-2009, 06:23 PM   #17
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


The open cell insulation board allows the wall to breathe in both directions. Read the science on this, recommendations are to do it exactly as I stated. If the concrete wall is colder then the heated interior then condensation will occur. The foam will stop this from happening. The method I described contains no vapor barrier in either direction.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:32 AM   #18
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


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The open cell insulation board allows the wall to breathe in both directions. Read the science on this, recommendations are to do it exactly as I stated. If the concrete wall is colder then the heated interior then condensation will occur. The foam will stop this from happening. The method I described contains no vapor barrier in either direction.
That's why I prefaced it with that the real issue was "if the foam will allow moisture to pass through it and not be trapped between the foam and the concrete."

The science isn't that the foam will keep the concrete warm but it will keep the concrete at a similar temperature to the outside. Which will usually remedy condensation between the foam and the concrete wall. I mean, you'll have a certain amount of heat loss and cold leak.

I was just making a point about the spacing and that you could possibly do it either way. But I certainly agree that you can put the foam right up against the wall.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #19
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


I wanted max space in my basement upgrade so I turned 2x4 on side and used slimline outlet boxes. 2x3 are usually too twisted to use around here.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:11 PM   #20
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


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I wanted max space in my basement upgrade so I turned 2x4 on side and used slimline outlet boxes. 2x3 are usually too twisted to use around here.
Now you can enjoy a very wavy wall. That is no way to build a wall. Space should not be such a consideration that you will build something not structurally sound.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:31 PM   #21
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


No wave at all, and structurally solid since that it's against cmu.

This isn't a free standing load bearing wall so space was a consideration.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:49 PM   #22
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


Let's not forget to consider your situation. I built my home in 1965. My basement was dry as a bone until 1985. I installed furring strips, then plastic, board insulation between strips finally followed by drywall. I have replaced sections as late as 2006, and saw no signs of mold or mildew. If your basement is dry, don't go nuts. My opinion for what it's worth after 46 years of building.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:51 PM   #23
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


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2x3 is fine, bottom plate should be rot resistant - PT or similar
You do not want 2 vapor barriers, it will trap moisture between the wall & the concrete = MOLD
Most houses (even my 60 year old house) has tar on the outside basement wall. This acts as a vapor barrier. Most moisture comes into the basement as vapor thru the concrete - you don;t have to see it. I have a humidity gauge in my basement & kick a dehumidifier on any time I see humidity rising

The wall along the concrete MUST be out approx 2-3" to allow moisture to be eradicated. That is why you can use 2x3 = you will have enough room for boxes & wire

Who put the styrofoam on the concrete?
You will most likely have mold growing between the styrofoam & the cement wall. A lot of the styrofoam has a vapor barrier built in - a cover on one side
This is the way to do it.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #24
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


Bottom plate does not have to be rot resistant, need to have a insulating barrier between the plate and the concrete floor. They sell in in rolls just for this.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:10 PM   #25
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


it has to be either or. rot resistant or have a contact break between wood and concrete
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:17 PM   #26
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2x3 vs. 2x4 in basement?


Wow a 2009 thread revived with one post in 2011, then again yesterday.
Apparently some location say no Treated wood in basements.

Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave
The wall along the concrete MUST be out approx 2-3" to allow moisture to be eradicated. That is why you can use 2x3 = you will have enough room for boxes & wire

Who put the styrofoam on the concrete?
You will most likely have mold growing between the styrofoam & the cement wall. A lot of the styrofoam has a vapor barrier built in - a cover on one side"

Now isn't this want we are to do 2" styrofoam against concrete!

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