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Old 04-19-2008, 03:29 AM   #1
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


I have a 10 year old house with poured concrete basement walls. Trying to save money I decided to finish the basement myself. Walls are up and we are about to paint and I discover I put the vapor barrier on backwards. That is; I have the wall, the vapor barrier, the insulation, the drywall - in that order. I'm loosing sleep as I thinking I may have things up.

What are my options?
1. Tear it all down and redo? Wasting precious time and money?
2. Should I put a vapor barrier on top of the existing drywall and then put up another 1/4" layer of drywall.
3. Paint with a special paint/primer to resist moisture penetration?
4. Don't worry about it - all my stress is for not.

I'm feeling like a complete idiot right now and I'm hoping there is a relatively cheap fix. I'd hate my stupidity to come back and haunt me.

Your input is appreciated.

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Old 04-20-2008, 07:52 AM   #2
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


I may be wrong here but the only option I see for you is to take it down and do it right.If you dont your insulation can not breath and you will end up with mold. On the house I am redoing the previous owner must have done something along the same lines and when I took down his wall all of the insulation was black.Hopefully you can just back out the screws to get the drywall off.Best of luck

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Old 04-20-2008, 10:35 AM   #3
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


The wall should be sitting at least 1 to 2 inches from the foundation, and there should not be a Vapor Barrier, unless you used Roofing Felt. Only solution, will be to tear it all apart.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:45 PM   #4
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


I would definitely take the drywall down and do it right.

I have moved away 3-4 inches from the wall (you don't have to move that much but I had piping etc.)

It should not be very difficult, just unscrew the drywall and fix it up. You will feel better for it in the end.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #5
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Before you go ripping and tearing, answer this; Where are you located? Vapor Retarder should go to the "warm in winter" side of the wall. Second: What type of vapor retarder did you install? Normally, one should not place two vapor retarders in the same wall space, but there may be some ways to manage it. More information is needed though.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:09 AM   #6
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


What is behind the vapor barrior? If it is just concrete block, with no organic matter you should be okay. According to www.buildingscience.com vapor barriors aren;t needed except in very cold climates. They state that concrete block, then studs then vapor barrior is bad because you are not allowing the moisture to escape. Personally I wouldn't use wood anywhere in a basement and there are a number of basement finishing systems that do not use wood.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:05 PM   #7
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Leave it alone. It will be fine.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


I have a similar project and I am in a cold climate (MN). My thought was to use a Tyvec product on the block wall with insulation and then sheetrock. Any thoughts on this approach?


ME
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:23 PM   #9
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkfz1 View Post
Trying to save money I decided to finish the basement myself. Walls are up and we are about to paint and I discover I put the vapor barrier on backwards.
Trying to save money is fine. The big questions are......How come you didn't find out the right way how to do it first? What could possibly make you think that what you were doing was right?

Quote:
I'm feeling like a complete idiot right now and I'm hoping there is a relatively cheap fix. I'd hate my stupidity to come back and haunt me.

If it's not a cheap fix, you still think that you saved the money you thought you would?
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:59 AM   #10
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Joe, how does that help? The guy feels dumb -- he said so -- and your questions are just designed to make him feel dumber, without helping him solve his problem one bit. Help the guy or clam up; no need to be a dick.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:43 AM   #11
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Joe, I'm sure you have made mistakes yourself?
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:56 AM   #12
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


I think Joe made valid and reasonable points that are very useful advice to all of us. He is right that we should be sure of the correct way to do something before we start. And he is right to remind us that we should be aware that we might not save anything, and might end up spending more, by DIY rather than hiring a pro if we don't follow point #1.

Sure it may not help the OP with his current problem but we all read these posts and it is a very good reminder to all of us for our future projects.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:01 PM   #13
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Yes, Joe has a point, but the "delivery" is all wrong.

He could have articulated it a lot better.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:38 AM   #14
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


Quote:
Originally Posted by RDS View Post
Joe, how does that help? The guy feels dumb -- he said so -- and your questions are just designed to make him feel dumber, without helping him solve his problem one bit.
Nothing wrong at all with a homeowner working on their own home and trying to save money, but people shouldn't tackle a construction project without asking how to do it first. why sugar coat it for anyone who reads this forum.

Don't tackle a construction project unless you find out the right way FIRST not AFTERWARDS.!!

Quote:
Help the guy or clam up; no need to be a dick.
Intelligent response!You're just another clown who talks brave on a computer. I obviously hit a never with you because you probably do the same thing, start a construction project and have no idea what your doing and then ask how to fix it when it's all wrong.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:48 AM   #15
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I put the vapor barrier on BACKWARDS!


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Originally Posted by yummy mummy View Post
Joe, I'm sure you have made mistakes yourself?

Yes I have. The only thing that I do different even after framing over twenty years is, if I've never done something before, I will not even attempt to do it until I find out the right way first. That would be calling up an inspector or the Architect. Until then., it doesn't get done.

Homeowners have to be careful when doing their own construction on their homes because they can seriously hurt someone or kill someone if they don't do it the right way or get permits. This guy obviously didn't get any permits or the inspector would've failed what he did. So I don't feel sorry for the guy or even care about how I responded to him.

Do you advocate or just overlook that a poster here will do work without permits and then ask how to fix something?

How many times do you read a thread with a HO asking what size beam to put in in the basement because they want to take out a lally column. I will ask. "What does the plans say from an Architect or because this is something that can't be done by asking on the internet".

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Last edited by Joe Carola; 04-25-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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