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jakec202 07-06-2012 06:44 AM

Advice on finishing my basement?
I know this topic has been addressed to a degree in the past and I have already done a fair amount of reading on the topic but I am looking for a little bit of specific recommendations for my situation at this point. I plan to finish my basement and have one last concern that I wanted to get some input on addressing a moisture issue on the block walls within the basement. This is a walkout basement so only the front wall of the basement is below ground with the the house being built into a slight hill and the walk out to ground level is at the back of the basement. I recently had new gutters installed, regraded the garden on the outside of the below ground wall, set up a dehumidifier in the basement and those basic steps seem to have resolved about 95% of the issue. Originally the entire below ground wall would occasionally feel slightly damp to the touch, never any visible water but it would feel damp. After all the work that has been done the wall feels bone dry with the exception of a 1 to 2 bricks in the bottom corner of the basement. Again there is no visible water, these blocks just feel slightly damp compared to the rest of the wall. One thing that I will add is that the main drainage line from the bathroom upstairs runs down this corner of the wall and goes into the cement floor in this corner where I'm seeing these damp blocks. The plumbing lines have already been inspected to verify there are no cracks or actual drainage problems so I'm thinking that this moisture may just be due to condensation from warm water running through the pipes and occurring when it drops into the cool cement floor and block wall. This is just speculation from what I have looked into so far so if you have another suggestion on what could be causing this let me know so I can address it.

Anyway, as I said I want to finish the basement and am looking for ways to address this issue so it doesn't cause a problem in that lower corner of the wall when its finished in. Should I put a sealer on the block wall? when building the finished wall should I just end it about a foot from the corner to let the block breathe and give this moisture the space to evaporate or put a vent into the finished wall to allow it to breathe? or should I just seal it up with a vapor barrier? When finishing the basement I'll be using treated lumber and moisture resistant finishing materials since its a basement and again its just the bottom 1 to 2 blocks that barely feel damp so I'm looking for suggestions on what to do or if I should even be concerned. Thanks for your input.

jklingel 07-06-2012 03:11 PM

jake: just had a blog on finishing basements. if only a few blocks are "damp", then with rigid foam i think you'll be ok. NO vapor barrier in basements unless mandated by code. retarders are ok, barriers are not.

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