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Old 11-16-2010, 01:12 PM   #1
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


We are evaluating companies for our basement french drain. One of the companies has an integrated vapor barrier system option. sound attractive to me. it likes this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/basemen...es/4843797329/.
The vapor barrier's bottom will be burried into the french drain. On the top the vapor barrier sheet will be sealed with wall. Saleman told me the warranty for the barrier is about 20 yrs.

I have a poured concrete basement. Poured in 1950. No water seen through the wall but lots of efflorescense. do have water from floor and floor-wall joint when record rain.

External basement wall waterproof and dampproof are NOT practical in our case. We have done a project outside, including grading and sallow french drain, to provent sureface water from closing to our foundation.

What's your opinion about that vapor barrier? go with it or go without it? it works?

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Old 11-16-2010, 01:40 PM   #2
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


I would go without the wall vapor barrier.

Do the French drain by itself, most of the time it will stop moisture from coming through the wall given that you have eliminated water puddling up against the foundation outside.

By the way, if you go with a free hanging sheet plastic vapor barrier and there is water coming in through the foundation, the water will accumulate and drip down to floor level and seep out into the open.

A wall treatment should be some kind of waterproofing that soaks into the concrete.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-16-2010 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


Their vapor barrier is not a free hang barrier. the bottom of the barrier connects with the french drain. Any water from the wall or condensation from the barrier will go into the french drain.
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:00 PM   #4
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


fwiw - had my basement done with similar fix - busted out the floor inside and installed new weeping tiles all around + clean outs at the corners - and new sump pit. They used the same system as recommended by CMHC which involves tacking a dimpled membrane like Delta or Platon against the wall and up a couple of feet along the wall - high enough to capture any drain holes drilled in the bottom of the blocks. The dimpled membrane runs down to the top of the footer, and takes a 90 deg bend over to the edge of the crushed stone at the trough - so the bottom run of the membrane is covered with the new concrete. No add'l plastic on the walls in my case - approx 7 years since it was done and we went from wet mess and constant mopping to bone dry ever since then. Our place encroaches on next door property (retirement home) so digging it up was not an option. I don't regret the inside repair - huge improvement.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:39 PM   #5
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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They used the same system as recommended by CMHC which involves tacking a dimpled membrane like Delta or Platon against the wall and up a couple of feet along the wall - high enough to capture any drain holes drilled in the bottom of the blocks.
thank you for your information, rtoni. Two questions for you.
What's the CMHC stand for?
how did they seal the membrane against the wall on the top?
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:29 PM   #6
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


sorry about that = CMHC = Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - tons of reference materials on their site www.cmhc.ca - e.g. I got a great book on wood frame house construction from their site - helped me a lot.

the dimpled membrane they used on my job is just fastened along the top edge about every 12 or 16" with concrete nails - same as they would use in an exteriror application. I suppose they could have used the same cap / strip along the top edge that they might use in the outside application of the same type of membrane, but they didn't. I don't believe they used any kind of sealer (at least it wasn't on the work plan) so I don't think it's air tight. The back of the membrane has a kind of a fabric which sits tight against the wall so it might help in that regard. Humidity and moisture problems are gone so it seems to be doing what they say it would do.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/components/7051-01.html - good reading when you're on the ' throne '

that ' fabric ' is said by many ( incl installers & manufacturers ) to be a filter keeping contaminants OUT of the system,,, like any filter, they plug up & need to be changed,,, here's the thing - HOW do you change OUT the filter cloth ? answer - you don't so it plugs up &, eventually overflows at the top.\

we much prefer unfiltered hdpe fabric w/cleanouts installed IN the pipe opening on the floor w/removeable screw-tops

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Old 11-19-2010, 12:59 PM   #8
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/components/7051-01.html - good reading when you're on the ' throne '

that ' fabric ' is said by many ( incl installers & manufacturers ) to be a filter keeping contaminants OUT of the system,,, like any filter, they plug up & need to be changed,,, here's the thing - HOW do you change OUT the filter cloth ? answer - you don't so it plugs up &, eventually overflows at the top.\

we much prefer unfiltered hdpe fabric w/cleanouts installed IN the pipe opening on the floor w/removeable screw-tops
are you available to do a retrofit ? - kidding of course but that's interesting info and kinda scary. They did install cleanouts into the pipe (every corner except at the sump pit) with covers / lids that are screwed on and flush with the floor - so I can get a hose in all around to flush it out. You're referring to the filter on the back of the fabric being the problem right? not much i can do about that now. What about on the pipe (and that sock that's wrapped around it?) - it plugs up (outside the pipe) and basically blocks any water from getting into the drain - is that the same problem / idea? maybe that's why I don't see a ton of sediment building up in the system

they did put a ton of crushed stone in the trench all around the pipe, and it's been working like a charm - but maybe I have a problem waiting to happen? This site would have been handy to have on my favorites list back then...
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:24 PM   #9
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


in life, nothing's maintenance free we line our trenches w/filter cloth ( eg, 12" wide X 10" deep = 32" of filter fabric X 12" ) 384 sq in per foot of system,,, sock'd pipes have approx ( 4" diameter = 12.57" circumference ) 150 sq in per ft,,, any silt is then able to get closer to the pipe - a no-no to us.
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:08 PM   #10
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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in life, nothing's maintenance free
my tired body reminds me of that every new morning

sounds like a couple simple changes could really extend the life of the system - this kind of thing is what separates the real contractors from the rest of the herd. kudos for extra effort. thanks for the info.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:09 PM   #11
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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No add'l plastic on the walls in my case - approx 7 years since it was done and we went from wet mess and constant mopping to bone dry ever since then. I don't regret the inside repair - huge improvement.
Hi RTONI, thank you for your information. Do you still remember how they finished the bottom portion? was there any opening between the barrier and the wall to allow possible water goes down to the french drain or they just seal them with concrete again the wall with the barrier materila in between and contact each other tightly?

do you still need dehumidifier during the summer after your improvement project?

thanks,
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:41 PM   #12
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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Originally Posted by diy001 View Post
Hi RTONI, thank you for your information. Do you still remember how they finished the bottom portion? was there any opening between the barrier and the wall to allow possible water goes down to the french drain or they just seal them with concrete again the wall with the barrier materila in between and contact each other tightly?

do you still need dehumidifier during the summer after your improvement project?

thanks,
they attached the dimpled membrane tight to the wall - ran it down to the top of the exposed footer where it was then bent over 90 deg with approx 6" or so extending across the top of the footer and out towards the pipe / trench. They used washed stone in the trench to cover the pipe, then covered that with a couple inches of new concrete - the new concrete runs right up to / against the membrane at the wall. I haven't used a dehumidifier - before the repair I had water on the floor - after the repair it's been really dry.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:16 PM   #13
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


they're several colors on the mkt from outrageous orange to basic black to gorgeous grey - brands are delta drain, miradrain, ohmigawddrain, etc good guys leave it at least 6" above the floor/wall joint ( cove ),,, if the wall still drips ( possible ), remember all systems are a combination of what's possible tempered w/what's left available to pay for it but at what cost/price does the h/o say ' enough ! we'll live w/dry floors ! '

turning a french drain into a combo radon mitigtion system just means stapling/draping vapor barrier ( personally, i like 15mil stego ) down from the joists & tucking into the miradrain,,, caulk the top edge & install exhaust fan on the 4" pvc pipe out of the sealed sump.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:29 PM   #14
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


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Their vapor barrier is not a free hang barrier. the bottom of the barrier connects with the french drain. Any water from the wall or condensation from the barrier will go into the french drain.
Don't count on it. What happens if you get enough condensation on the barrier to have moisture there, but not enough for it to drain down? (think fogged up mirror).

Vapor barriers in a basement are a bad idea. Concrete is porous-- it needs to be able to breathe to dissipate vapor that it gives off. Trapping the moisture will lead to condensation, and condensation to mold.

Worse yet would be a barrier right against the concrete with no airspace. Air stores moisture, giving a moderating effect on wet/dry extremes. With no air gap, you'll either be quickly wet enough to condense (and mold), and the dry air won't be able to access the moisture and achieve equilibrium.

So what to do in a basement? Slow down the vapor emission from the poured walls with a retarder. Insulate to raise the surface temp above the regular concrete surface temp (and buy condensation margin). Unfaced rigid foam conveniently does both in one fell swoop, as long as it's <2" thick (most rigid foam is a vapor "barrier" if thicker than 2"-- unfaced)
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:16 AM   #15
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interior french drain with integrated vapor barrier is a good idea?


that's why there're fans, flashlights, spritz bottles, water, & clorox as posted above, nothing is maintenance free when discussing homes,,, but taking vapor barriers out of context when its used for another purpose ( radon ) isn't likely to reinforce positive thinking to those who have wet basements, is it ?

granted the correct thing to have done is build the house foundation correctly using waterproof concrete ( 5,000psi per acii ) & actually waterproof as jomama posted,,, that's not possible now 'cause that horse is out of the barn,,, v/b may be a bad idea in YOUR house but, for this house & radon systems, its pretty decent,,, not that you're literally incorrect, its just that the common denominator of ALL things is $$$.

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