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Old 04-02-2010, 10:55 AM   #1
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Damp basement walls


I am just ramping up on starting my basement reno and while I have done interior work before this will be the first basement endeavor. I decided to remove the pre-existing vapor barrier and insulation to take a look for any issues first. When I got to the north-east corner of the house I found this (I put the photos in a slide show, hope that is ok)
http://cid-ca5b124cb305b737.skydrive.live.com/play.aspx/Basement%20Photos?ref=1. The house is 14 years old.

I live in Winnipeg, Canada and the snow has been gone from the ground now for about 2-3 weeks (in the area of the wall), however the frost is just coming out of the ground. Temps have been above 32f for pretty much the whole 2 weeks now.

There is no downspout on this corner of the house (flows to the west). The ground slope of the north-east is pretty flat while the east side slopes away.

There have been no puddles in the basement in the 6 years I have been here and there are no water stains on the basement floor behind or in front the studding. The rest of the basement walls seem to be dry and they don't show signs of being damp or ever damp. No mold behind the insulation or on any of the studding/wood in the area or any musty smells at any time. The backside of the insulation was not damp nor did it stick to the foundation wall when I removed it (not sure if that matters?).

Obviously there is some kind of issue here (maybe just recently) as to the severity this is what I am looking to find out. Not sure on what kind (if any) waterproofing was done on the external walls when the house was built.

Any "in my experience" thoughts as to other things to look out for that might point me to the next step in solving issue.

Thanks for your time
- Will

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Old 04-02-2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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Damp basement walls


Link to pics is no good. Sounds as if you have water seeping in from the outside. Any idea if the wall was sealed on the outside when built, and/or if gravel and drain tile were installed (if possible). It may be a situation where you dig it out, seal the block, and fill w/ gravel. I am a hydrophobic; there is definite slope in the earth away from my house, period. Even if you have the ground slope for 10' and have a little wall or steep rise out there, so be it. Water and foundations don't mix well. Make it almost tough to walk up to the house, IMO. A vapor barrier in a basement is tricky, because the wall should be waterproof on the outside, and a vb on the inside gives you two vapor barriers; bad idea. I'd so some more research on vapor barrier vs vapor retarder in your situation/location. Greenbuildingadvisor.com, healthyheating.com, googling, etc. Air sealing seems mandatory; don't know about the vapor part. Good luck. john

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