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Old 12-13-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


My house builder just got upper half of basement wall insulated. I'm going to finish my basement. DO I have to get bottom half of the wall insulated also?
If he answer is yes, can I do the same insulation as upper portion before framing it?
Please see attached picture for details.

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Johnny
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:22 AM   #2
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


First, where are you? Second, what is the bottom half? ICFs of some kind? Third, why do you have poly on the upper half? That is a potential disaster waiting to happen, depending on where you are. I would suggest you spend some hours at buildingscience.com/resources and read a lot about insulating, esp in your particular environment. Good luck. j

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Old 12-14-2010, 08:05 AM   #3
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Insulate the bottom half using Thermax or something similar. That will bring it up to code. My guess is this house was built in the last 15 years, but not newer than 3-4 years. That pictures shows was use to be code compliant. The energy code changes almost daily.

Make sure to get a building permit and do things right the first time. Have every step signed off by the inspector.

BTW, you'll have to probably seal off that rim area also above the wall.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:27 AM   #4
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


That's minimum building code for an unfinished basement, concrete wall - even for cold climates - in some jurisdictions I know, and is called the diaper method of insulating the uppermost part of a basement wall.

This is acceptable for an unfinished room, but you'll probably remove all that if you convert that space into a livable area.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:13 AM   #5
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Thanks for you reply!

To answer your question, I'm living in Toronto. The bottom half is concrete. The picture I showed you is original one, I didn't touch anything. it looks like that I have to remove existing insulation from the wall and re-do it.

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Old 12-14-2010, 09:19 AM   #6
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Thanks for your reply!
You are right, the house is 20 years old. In order to save money, I want to keep the current insulation as is and add same material on bottom half. But not sure if it can meet up the code.
Okay, I will call a contract to inspect it first.

Thanks!
Johnny
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:21 AM   #7
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Yes, what you said is same as what I heard from Home Deport. But I really don't want to remove existing insulation and put new one on that because that will waste money.

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Old 12-14-2010, 09:38 AM   #8
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


You can also do this: http://www.homeconstructionimproveme...asement-walls/
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:46 AM   #9
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Yeah, I thought you were in Canada...that's our minimum code.

There are a number of reasons why that stuff should go if you are planning on insulating that wall corrrectly - but saving money on taking it down isn't one of them.

For example, if you are considering going with the fibreglass-batts-under-a-plastic-vapour-barrier method, then you'll need studs to put the FG batts into and hang the wall covering, and an integral vapour barrier. So, none of what you have there in that picture is of any value in that scenario...

If you are planning on going first-class, then spray foam the whole wall. All that stuff - you guessed it - has to go.

The correct way is to put on sheets of extruded styrofoam onto the concrete walls and floor, then studs. Stuff has to go.

It'll take you a minute to pull that stuff off, so do that just before you start on making it a liveable space.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:44 AM   #10
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Yeah, I thought you were in Canada...that's our minimum code.

There are a number of reasons why that stuff should go if you are planning on insulating that wall corrrectly - but saving money on taking it down isn't one of them.

For example, if you are considering going with the fibreglass-batts-under-a-plastic-vapour-barrier method, then you'll need studs to put the FG batts into and hang the wall covering, and an integral vapour barrier. So, none of what you have there in that picture is of any value in that scenario...

If you are planning on going first-class, then spray foam the whole wall. All that stuff - you guessed it - has to go.

The correct way is to put on sheets of extruded styrofoam onto the concrete walls and floor, then studs. Stuff has to go.

It'll take you a minute to pull that stuff off, so do that just before you start on making it a liveable space.

Just a guess here, but I think that cement wall is all there is for cement. The 2x6 wall is behind that pink insulation. I bet there is batts inside the framing on the half wall and then another layer over all of it. All speculation, but that would be up to code and wouldn't have to be removed.

Like I said, Thermax would be your best bet and tape it with the foil tape. Use 1 1/2" minimum which would give roughly R-10 on that lower wall. Either way, you will have to make a vapor barrier inside, including the rim area.

Stay away from the big box stores. People work there for a reason. They can't hack it in the business. I would suggest someone who is familiar with up to date codes in your area like a Contractor or the building inspector. Not sure what the inspectors are like up there, but here they are very helpful to homeowners.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:46 AM   #11
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


BTW, Ccarlisle's suggestion would be the best, but more costly.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:49 AM   #12
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Up here, concrete basement walls like that are at least 8' high. They don't do 'half-and-half'...
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #13
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Up here, concrete basement walls like that are at least 8' high. They don't do 'half-and-half'...
So, no split level housing in Canada? Hard to believe. Probably the most common house here.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:01 AM   #14
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Not sure I follow you; sure we have split levels, but the stick frame sits on top of a solid concrete basement foundation.

That's what the OP seems to have.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:15 AM   #15
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Does the bottom half of basement wall has to be insulated?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Not sure I follow you; sure we have split levels, but the stick frame sits on top of a solid concrete basement foundation.

That's what the OP seems to have.
Split level houses have frost footings, then a half block wall or poured wall on that (usually around 38-40 inches tall), then the rest is framed up. That way you have something to nail siding to above grade outside.

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