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Old 03-05-2007, 04:46 PM   #31
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Showing off my basement framing pics......


Before starting this project, I had blanket insulation in the whole basement which consisted of pink insulation, R12 and a vapor barrier over it.

During the summer months when it was hot, I use to see water droplets under the plastic vapor barrier and then it would dry up.

When I removed it all to do my project, the insulation was not wet at all and the cement walls had no mold on them either.

(It was like that for 3 almost 4 years).

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Old 03-05-2007, 04:48 PM   #32
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We are talking about a finished basement-from an engineering standpoint, this exterior wall is entirely different than the above grade exterior wall. Air movement will occur above grade. You will have drying to the outside above grade.
You will not have drying to the exterior below grade. You will always have a concrete wall with a higher than average moisture content. It is cold, in winter and summer, and water molecules will condense on the inside of your poly sheet wher it will have no place to escape!

You can do what you want, I am only offering friendly advice. This is a technologically superior option for below grade construction.

I think it is unfair to blast me by saying I dont know what I am talking about. There are many many contractors who have no idea what they are doing!
First off, I understand your point...as it relates to a DAMP basement or environment. A damp or even wet area should never be sealed off with a vapor barrier. That is common knowledge.

However, we are talking about DRY basements in the US & North America. If a basement has an unusual amount of dampness or moisture, then no one should be building any kind of living space down there to begin with, without doing something about the moisture.
We always advise Home Owners to address moisture issues before even considering finishing off their basements.

.....Again, we are are talking about basements that are dry and have been dry for some time - in terms of doing any remodeling.

Let me share some 1st hand information with you as opposed to simply "information read on the internet":

We have opened MANY, MANY basement walls that were finished 10, 20, 30 years ago. Even my own basement walls (30 years previously done).
We have NEVER seen ANY issues or signs of mold in dry basements that were finished with insulation & vapor barriers. On the other hand, we have found issues with black mildew on dry basement walls and insulation - without vapor barriers. Again, this is what we have found onsite with our own eyes .... at various home locations.

You keep referring to that one website that is a company in the UK. (I still haven't been able to find any relevant information on it)

Informative site:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/.../mytopic=11760

From the above link:
"...As air warms, its ability to hold water vapor increases; this capacity decreases as air cools....
The moisture that the air can no longer hold condenses on the first cold surface it encounters (the dew point.) If this surface is within an exterior wall cavity, wet insulation and framing will be the result. In most U.S. climates, properly installed vapor diffusion retarders can be used to reduce the amount of moisture transfer." - Thus the reason for vapor barriers.

Properly framed basements should have a space for 'inside' air circulation between the freezwall and the framed wall as well. That is why we advise DIYers to leave a space of about 2"+ between those two walls.

Examples of code requirements:

IBC code S502.5 Mandatory Moisture Control (under energy efficiency)
All framed walls, floors and ceilings that are not ventilated to allow moisture to escape are to have a vapor retarder having a permeance of 1 perm or less. The vapor retarder is to be installed on the warm in winter side of the insulation.
Buildings in Climate zones 1,2, and 3 construction where freezing will not damage the materials and locations where approved means to avoid condensation in unventilated spaces are provided are exempt from this requirement. (this simply means that warmer climate areas are exempt from this)

MA 780 MCR Building Envelope Requirements:
J4.2.1 Vapor Retarders: The design shall not create conditions of accelerated deterioration from moisture condensation. In all frame walls, floors, and ceilings not ventilated to allow moisture to escape, an approved vapor retarder having a rating of 1.0 perm, when tested in accordance with standard ASTM E 96...shall be installed on the warm-in-winter side of the thermal insulation.

This website is about finding information that is accurate and code accepted/code approved/code required. It is about helping people to do work that will meet and pass their local building code laws, not break them.
It is not about speculation, testing, estimates, theories, nor is it about pushing things on people that have been read about on the internet (but not locally code approved or accepted)...

You may feel that you are being 'blasted' about this as you stated. But, you should be careful about coming onto any site/forum and advising people to do things that are against their local code regulations and laws....regardless of how much you like the ideas that you have 'read about on the internet'....

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 03-05-2007 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:36 PM   #33
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I do know what I am talking about. It is not code to have a basement vapor barrier where I live.

"In cold climates, the moisture load in the winter months is primarily from the interior, so roof and wall assemblies are generally designed to dry primarily to the exterior. Wintertime condensation control can be facilitated by elevating the temperature of the first condensing surface (the back side of the exterior sheathing) via the use of insulating sheathing. When XPS (with relatively low permeability) is used, then only slow drying is available to the exterior. Accordingly, the majority of drying occurs to the interior during the summer months. Therefore, interior vapor barriers should not be installed."

go see: www.buildingscience.com/bsc/designsthatwork/cold/profiles/chicago.htm

This is a very interesting debate. I am in the process of a basement remodel too, and I have become increasingly frustrated about the vapor barrier topic.

I had already read many of the Web sites linked above, and there doesn't seem to be any consensus. I live in a northern climate as well (Wisconsin) and based on his latest research, my inspector suggested that I do NOT use a vapor barrier at all.

The half of my basement that I am finishing right now is completely below grade. I will need to make my decision within the next couple weeks. I have already framed about half of it and I am planning on using unfaced fiberglass batts either way (fiberglass is also not recommended, but it is too expensive to spray).

One day I think I'm going to go one direction, then I change my mind again. Mold is my biggest fear though.

Ben
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:24 PM   #34
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Wouldn't it make more sense to put a vapor barrier right on the block, and put all the insulation on top of it? Wont this keep the moisture away from all the sensitive materials?
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by yummy mummy View Post
Before starting this project, I had blanket insulation in the whole basement which consisted of pink insulation, R12 and a vapor barrier over it.

During the summer months when it was hot, I use to see water droplets under the plastic vapor barrier and then it would dry up.

When I removed it all to do my project, the insulation was not wet at all and the cement walls had no mold on them either.

(It was like that for 3 almost 4 years).
Well there you have it! If you can see water droplets, then imagine what will happen when you cover the wall up with a poly barrier and drywall. Then add some wood, drywall paper, and a dark environment. Mmmm ...that mold is getting really hungry now!!

I think 1 or 2" polystyrene foam on the basement wall, (tape all seams of course) followed by a 2x3 wall at 24" on center, with no vapor barrier or further fiberglass insulation is the best bet. I would use densarmor drywall because it contains no paper to feed mold-it is a thin coat of fiberglass cloth. I dont like metal because they are too cold and the condensation on these below grade makes them unsuitable.

Well enough of this. Good luck yummy mummy. I would tear that plastic off, remove the last foot of fiberglass, and replace with 2" foam in between studs (unless you are totally sure you will never get any water, then just remove the poly, apply densarmor and call it a day. I dont think the code officers are going to throw you in jail for not wanting mold in your house.
Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:31 PM   #36
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I'm keeping the vapor barrier.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:37 PM   #37
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I'm also 3 inches away from all the walls.
I have no concern with mold. I have never seen mold in my basement.

The blanket insulation was half hazardly put on and that is why the water droplets were there.
Even thought there was water droplets, still there is absolutely no mold there whatsoever.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:39 PM   #38
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I think the reason for not putting the vapor barrier right up against the cement wall is because you have to allow for air circulation.

(In my case, I have moved in 3 inches all around the perimeter of the room) to allow for that.

( I think that's why) (I am still a newbie at this, but am learning)

Have fun with your reno.
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:29 PM   #39
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fantastic link!!

buildingscience.com/bsc/.../Basement_Insulation_Systems-2002.pdf


hope you dont get mold, but I think you will

well thats all I have to say about that.
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Old 03-06-2007, 05:42 AM   #40
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I'd like to end this right here.

Obviously there is alot to be said in regards to this issue...
This debate has been going on for the past 10 + years in the industry (I heard about it back then too)...

Let people do what they want. Consider your local climate zone, area, and what your individual basement conditions dictate.

Also, be careful about what your own local building codes/laws require - call your local building departments for what is approved of in your climate area for; 'dry' basements .... or.... for 'high-humidity-prone' basements.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 03-06-2007 at 08:34 AM. Reason: Tired of this bickering
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:08 PM   #41
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This is not about vapor barriers

Are you putting in doors to the mechanicals? I think you are going to need a second stud on each side of the doorway for rigidity.

One more thing: What is the distance between the receptacles?

Last edited by beer_geek; 03-06-2007 at 02:12 PM. Reason: Added second question.
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:58 PM   #42
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Hi

No, I will not be putting doors for the furnace area.

I don't know what you mean by distance between the receptacles.
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:03 PM   #43
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AKA Electrical outlets.
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Old 03-06-2007, 04:39 PM   #44
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I know what receptacles are, beer geek.

What I don't know is what you mean by "distance".

I have put a receptacle on each wall, where I thought I needed one for future use.
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Old 03-06-2007, 09:23 PM   #45
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If you measure along the wall from one to the other; how far apart are they? That's what I mean by the distance between them. Here, you need one every 12 feet(or less). I only see one in each of the first 2 pictures. I could be wrong, but it doesn't look like there are enough.

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