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Old 08-28-2009, 01:10 PM   #1
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


I never thought that refinishing my basement would have so many headaches. Trying to refinish ~60% of a 900 sq/ft basement for a living area.

Brief history of basement - there was past mold that was professionally remediation. It is completely gutted now. Basement does not flood but humidity was ~85%, with dehumid we now have it at 50%. Also looks like there are a few areas of water intrusion from foundation cracks, window sills, and poor gutter configuration etc.

I have had several contractors and basement system companies by for quote and they ALL recommend different things. Some say get a french drain some say dont, some say apply a seal coat or vapor shield, some dont.

My main question is if putting up a traditional dry wall basement is just silly or if it would be OK with french drain, vapor barrier, dehumid, and addressing mason work and gutter draining exteriorly? Obviously the panel system people all say this is stupid and I need a nonorganic etc system, but the price is almost triple.

Are they playing on my fears or are they correct?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:09 PM   #2
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


panel systems work by allowing removal in flood situations and are build with materials not affected by moisture. Drywall systems can work, but must be done correctly. 90% are not and this is why these expensive systems are out there. You need to allow the wall to dry. Vapor barriers are old school and will not work. Moisture in a below ground area needs to move both to the outside and to the inside. Different flow in winter than in the summer. Leave a 1/2" to 1" gap between the wall and the drywall wall. Use mold resistant drywall. No vapor barrier (repeated on purpose) Sold foam insulation against the outer wall. Metal studs are much better than wood studs. Spray foam is the best if you can afford it. Where are you located? In extreme cold environments you should use a vapor barrier, no other climates.

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Old 08-28-2009, 09:32 PM   #3
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


Thanks for reply. Helpful advice. Located in Boston area so we can get some cold winters.

I'm sold on the french drain system, pump, dehumid, and some sort of seal coat on the floor and walls. I think I have heard enough recommendations to NOT use the vapor barrier so I dont think I will. Also going to address windows, foundation, grading, and gutter systems.

Would prefer drywall for cost and cosmetics. 3 different contractors all stated they would use blue board, I asked why not green board and they all said blue board would work just as well. Does this sound right?

I guess I just dont want to spend $20,000 and have this all great ruined within 5 years. I dont know anyone that has a basement system, everyone has drywall, feel like they are all salesman and trying to scare me into an expensive system.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


I am at this juncture in my basement project. I have brand new drain tile system and embedded steel supports on three basement walls. The room is studded and I am likely going with regular old faced insulation, green board or the like on the lower portion and then drywall the rest of the way up. I have extra vapor space due to the supports/had to stud inside perimeter so there's a good 4 extra inches between wall and stud, then 4 more between support and wall. Will look for further feedback as I am not convince that I need to insulate.
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:33 AM   #5
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


Greenboard was a failed try to offer mold resistant drywall. It is not used any more. Insulation is required by building code since once you cover the walls with drywall or such it becomes a finished living space. So insulation is a requirement. Also in a basement properly sized egress via a window or door is required beyond the door at the stairwell to enter the area.

Be sure to use foam insulation along the rim joists. 10% of your homes energy leak is at this juncture.

The drain system is a good plan since you stated existing wet conditions.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:06 AM   #6
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


iirc, ambient earth temp's in the 65 - 68f range,,, eventually that will creep into the living area despite insulation which only makes the movement of heat/cold,,, true, you'll only have to heat this area a few degrees but include some heat delivery system when finishing,,, my $0.03
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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Need unbiased help on finishing basement - Dry wall or panel system?


french drain if needed
egress window a must
2-3" foam insulation directly to the outside wall.
2X3 metal stud walls built on top of pink rolled insulation.
blue board the bottom run then regular rock on top of that.
sound board and if you want, insulate the ceiling
have an access soffit around the perimeter of the room ( really comes in handy as things and technology change) and rock the rest of the ceiling
easy DIY'er

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