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Old 01-10-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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Frost collecting on exterior basement wall

Hello all. I have an exterior wall in a basement that is unfinished and has a plastic vapor barrier covering 2 sheets of approximately 3 inch fiberglass. The wall is above ground and north facing (no sun). We removed both while doing electrical work and left it with just the insulation and unsealed barrier for quite a few winter months and now there is frost on the wall behind the insulation.

Should we remove the insulation and dry it out then seal it back up prior to sheetrock or is there possibly a larger problem at hand? Does it require more insulation?

Thanks for your help


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Old 01-10-2011, 11:31 AM   #2
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Firstly you should not have plastic barrier on a basement/concrete/block wall, the wall needs to breath.

Remove FG and plastic and install 2" XPS glued with construction adhesive directly to the wall.

If you are finishing, then stud, then add FG between the studs. Use pressure treated sill on concrete floor to build stud wall off of.


When its all said and done there is usually more said than done
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:43 AM   #3
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If your exterior wall is wood construction and not concrete... I have the same problem.

This is what I was told to do..

First you must reduce the humidity of your basement with a dehumidifier.

Second kill any mold that may have started behind the insulation.. make sure the insulation and wood underneath is dry..(put a fan on it for a couple days) then re-install the insulation. Instead of using plastic as a vapor barrier use house wrap.. the same stuff that goes underneath siding on the exterior of your house. Ideally, you would then sheetrock the wall..

Bottom line.. You need to reduce the humidity of your basement and you need a barrier between the warm air of your basement and the outside wall..

NOTE:I did an experiment where I had a section of the exterior wall insulated and sealed with a plastic vapor barrier.. then I had a section of the wall with no plastic vapor barrier just insulation.. after two weeks I checked and found frost under the section "without" the vapor barrier while the section "with" the barrier was dry..

best of luck to you.. and me.. this is my weekend project..
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hotbread (01-18-2011)
Old 01-18-2011, 10:23 AM   #4
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Thanks HandyAndy. The exterior wall is wood and I have started drying out the wall and planned on spraying for mold. I'll have to look into reducing the humidity and using house wrap. Glad to hear from someone else in the same situation with some insight... was worried I might have a larger problem at hand. Whew! Also, your experiment sounds exactly like something I would try just to be sure.

Thank you for the advice and good luck on your project as well!
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