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Old 03-02-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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basement insulation ? we live in bham, al


and we have had some unusually cold weather. the basement has poured concrete walls along side and front of house. the back of house has what i call a pony wall...poured concrete wall but only 3 feet high and then 2x6's framed on top. we have r13 insulation between the framing. i noticed some frost/condensation forming behind some of the vats of insulation. down here we do not do a vapor barrier. i believe this is standard up north? since we have short winter months should i bother doing anything to prevent this going forward? my first basement so this is a new experience
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:28 AM   #2
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It sounds like you're getting condensation due to a lack of vapor barrier. I would switch out the R-13 for R-19 unfaced insulation and put up a plastic(6 mil) vapor barrier.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:39 AM   #3
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This is normal here in the midwest. Make sure you are using a vapor retarder. This can be acheived by using faced insulation. In some cases a vapor barrier will do more harm than good.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:50 AM   #4
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The OP is right, we use vapour barriers up here and some use a vapour retarder further south from us, all because of the requirement to heat the inside, which causes a temperature gradient through our outside walls...but down in 'bama?

There is a good reason vapour barriers or retarders aren't specified where you are, the main reason being that you probably cooll more than you heat. For sure, some of both from time to time, but what is the major portion of your energy expenditure?

I personally think that in this case, spending money on insulation has limited value and the placement of a vapour barrier/retarder even more questionable. I also think your whole home has to be seen as a whole and evaluated as such with heating, ventilation, groundwater and rain water dispersal, siding, insulation, air and vapour movement etc - all taken into account.

In this case, I'd add more ventilation seeing as how it is a one-off event; no need to reinsulate the whole house if some of the primary measures aren't first dealt with.
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