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Old 07-26-2011, 05:42 AM   #1
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Finishing my Basement


First post, but have been reading here a long time. My wife and I would like to finish our basement. They are poured concrete slabs that are in great shape with no moisture that we've seen (I know there could be in the future). I've had some contractors come over with different ideas but the more we think about it, doing it ourselves seems like a good option. We completely remodeled our kitchen and bathroom, so we are comfortable with the project (haha until we get into it). My question is basically on the beginnings of the project. Some say to Dry-lok the walls, some say don't. Some say to use rigid (xps) foam, some hate it, some say wood studs, some say metal, and some say vapor barrier, some are completely against it. My idea was to drylok the walls, install XPS foam board directly to the concrete surface, then start the wood 2x4's our an in or two (to provide some air circulation and to make sure we have some room for squaring up the wall. It seems a consensus to never have a double moisture barrier, would my setup be acceptable? Do I need to fiberglass insulate between the studs?

Also, not sure how much it matters, but we live in Northern PA and the finished piece will be about 700 sq ft.

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Old 07-26-2011, 07:18 PM   #2
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in order to answer your question, we will need to know if it is above grade or below or anything in between as that makes a difference in insulating. Pictures of your exterior walls with floor joists detailing insulation if any there helps too.

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Old 07-26-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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Sorry! It's all below grade. I guess I've only been in two basements that weren't. About two feet of foundation sticks out but the rest is underground. Exterior walls are just concrete with the foundation, one builder did say they are at least 8 inches thick. No insulation anywhere that we know of (doubt any on outside of walls or in the middle.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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and where are you located?
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:48 AM   #5
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Northern PA (Pennsylvania) United States.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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pics would be help fulll......
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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If the foundation is waterproofed from the outside drylocking the interior face won't be a great idea as you'll be creating that "double barrier". The foam, I feel, is a good idea. If you're adding the foam, then I wouldn't put batts in the stud bays. I don't feel you need to hold the studs off the insulation as long as you treat the top and bottom of the wall properly. In my basement I kept the sheetrock bottom 1-1/2" above the top of the base plate. Then kept the baseboard about 1/2" off the finish floor. This gives air an entrance/exit point. At the top of the wall I attached the studs to the joists and left it open to the joist bays (no continuous plate) to allow the air flow.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGWhitehouse View Post
In my basement I kept the sheetrock bottom 1-1/2" above the top of the base plate. Then kept the baseboard about 1/2" off the finish floor. This gives air an entrance/exit point. At the top of the wall I attached the studs to the joists and left it open to the joist bays (no continuous plate) to allow the air flow.
Won't this cause an issue with fireblocking?
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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I built an interior wall with sill foam on the bottom. I kept the wall 1/2 inch from the concrete foundation, wood will absorb moisture and possibly have a mold issue. I insulated the entire wall with Roxul safe and sound insulation. I then installed the poly to the studs ONLY down to grade level outside. I did this so there will always be room for moisture to migrate and move with the seasons. This was also supported by the inspector who inspected it. I insulated the joist above the top plate and used acoustic sealant around all of my openings. I also used vapour boxes on all of my outlets on the exterior wall. I double folded all of my vapour barrier joints, staple and tape them. This made the inspector very happy and me as well, as my heat loss dropped huge and my sound diminished greatly. Hope that helps you.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Won't this cause an issue with fireblocking?
Fireblocking isn't needed in a single story partition.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:09 PM   #11
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Poly in basement spaces is shunned upon as a basement has inherent moisture. Poly blocks and traps moisture which is the opposite of what you want it to do. Alot of inspectors, builders, and designers are still in favor of poly despite research that indicates otherwise. The best basement walls are those that are transparent to moisture (no barriers).
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGWhitehouse View Post
Fireblocking isn't needed in a single story partition.

Would you elaborate?
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #13
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Would you elaborate?
A stud partition that is only one story tall (floor to ceiling) does not need fire blocking. If the stud wall is balloon framed where it extend 2 or more stories without a demising plate, then fire blocking is needed to prevent fire migration from floor to floor within the stud cavity.

If the space is to be finished then a fire block will be needed to seperate the wall cavity from the floor system cavity. This could be done within the joists to allow the top of wall to still ventilate.
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Last edited by AGWhitehouse; 07-28-2011 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Clarifications after code review
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:35 PM   #14
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In your photo it seems that the wall is a temporary wall or am I missing something here? Looks as though the wall behind it may even be an interior wall, as the angle of the photo is not able to show weather it is an interior or exterior wall. When taking a closer look you can see that the wall has gyproc on the other side so it is NOT an exterior wall.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:49 PM   #15
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Last edited by AGWhitehouse; 07-28-2011 at 10:03 AM. Reason: previous revision made this post irrelevant
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