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kipling79 10-13-2012 11:32 PM

Poured Walkout Basement Design = Confusing
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Hello. I am in the process of closing on a house with a basement that is begging to be finished, so I will be using this site frequently. I am starting with a general question that has been bugging me:

The exposed exterior walls of the basement have a brick texture to them, which is fine, but one of the interior walls has that same texture as well (far wall in the picture, under the windows). This seems like it will be more difficult to insulate & finish than smooth walls.

Also, the doors and windows are already sitting within their respective cutouts, windows especially, and I think that the additional inches from traditional finishing will give them the appearance of sitting in a hole/tunnel.

Any ideas on what finishing was intended with this design? Were these walls designed to remain unfinished & uninsulated?

kipling79 10-14-2012 09:19 AM

Additional Picture
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Here is a picture of the opposite corner which has similar texture, so you can get an idea of what I am talking about. Sorry about the size, I am 8 hours drive from the house and had to dig this example out of the home inspection report.

jomama45 10-14-2012 02:55 PM

Most of the time, framing is added in front of the concrete walls, with a space left between the framing & concrete. Much different than the old "furring" method of "yesteryears"......

As for the difference in depth between the lower concrete wall and the upper wood framed wall, typically a wood cap or shelf is installed right above the concrete wall to maintain a conventional window jamb depth above........

kipling79 10-14-2012 03:19 PM

Thank you for the input. My intentions for the basement are to make it as insulated as possible as well as providing a proper moisture barrier (especially on the below grade walls such as the second picture) prior to finishing. I want to mitigate heat loss, moisture penetration, and radon penetration (to supplement the radon mitigation system).

One attractive method that I have seen in my research is to use a poly barrier of the appropriate type and thickness against the floor and walls, with a layer of insulating board installed and taped directly over that poly, enveloping the entire living area. My concern is that the uneven/textured walls will eliminate the possibility building directly off the wall. Do you think that framing built away from the wall, as you mentioned, is my only choice here?

EDIT: I should be more clear in my question. With the variances in hight of the brick texture, it seems to me that installing anything directly to it would be less stable than to a smooth concrete wall. Or would the variances be acceptable? Perhaps even a benefit for moisture control by allowing air movement?

jomama45 10-14-2012 05:26 PM

I don't know where you're located, but here, it's strictly forbidden to install a vapor barrier on the inside of that wall below grade. Even though you may see no evidence of it, the foundation wall allows moisture migration from the outside inward, and trapping it in the insulation is an extremely bad idea.

Look around here a while in threads about basement insulation/finishing (there's got to be hundreds of them here) for far more in depth info & links........:thumbsup:

kipling79 10-14-2012 06:14 PM

Through weeks of research I have seen multitudes of references made towards the use of a vapor barrier inside basement walls and floors. IE: barriers designed to retard the advance of moisture yet allow some for the sake of drying any moisture or condensation that accumulates. Then, using XPS board insulation over that, warm air is less likely to even reach the cold wall, reducing the chance of condensation at all while also being a vapor retardent itself. Perhaps we are speaking about different products. Or is it simply different schools of thought?

Back to my question. If this option turns out to be viable, is there are there any disadvantages of building directly off of a textured concrete wall? Theoretically, the textures should be fairly uniform, but I am wondering of I would have issues creating a completely flat wall.

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