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Old 06-21-2017, 06:56 AM   #1
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Finishing basement walls


I've been working on finishing my basement on and off for the past couple of years.

So far I have all the partitions I want, I built closets, etc. The floor is poured concrete slab that I painted -- and I am thinking I will not put anything else on top of it, other than maybe area rugs. The ceiling is unfinished but spray-painted black. It looks great (see photo). The ceiling will probably stay this way for some time.

At the moment, even the concrete walls are spray painted the same orange color as the drywall walls.

The slab has about a 2" gap where it meets the concrete walls. I believe this was done for drainage. The basement also has a spot for a sump pump, but we never in our almost 10 years here had a drop of water in the basement. I am not worried about moisture. Even during Sandy when the street was flooded a foot deep we didn't get a drop of water in the basement. Our house sits about six feet above the street level.

We don't have a radon problem either. When we bought the house it measure at 2.4, and I recently had it measured at 2.9. There is decent ventilation down there with automatic vents in the crawl space that close when it is below 45 degrees.

The basement doesn't have any HVAC vents either, but I do have a dehumidifier down there that I run in the summer. The system is powerful enough to handle the downstairs area and I may add some vents. It never really gets colder than 60 F in the winter or warmer than 80 F in the summer down there. The entire basement is completely underground with the exception of maybe a foot and half on top.

In any case, what I'd like to do next is finish the concrete walls. I am thinking of gluing foam board insulation to the walls first, this is in case some moisture seeps in through the walls and also to add a bit of an insulation. That will cover the drainage gap and then I will frame the walls in front of the insulation.

Is my reasoning correct? What kind of foam board insulation should I get? Which side do I attach it to the concrete walls?

Advice is greatly appreciated!





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Old 06-21-2017, 07:08 AM   #2
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Around here framers lean the foam against the wall and its held up by the 2x4 framed wall. No glue/adhesive. I'd glue it with great stuff expanding adhesive. Blue (Dow) or pink (OC) are the best Around here. I don't know what brands are carried in your area. Writing out but I'm pretty sure that's just for identification purposes.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Finishing basement walls


I have seen some folks hang a layer of poly in front of the concrete wall, then put metal frame studs. last have a contractor use close cell spray foam over the plastic and between the metal studs. If any water migrates in, it will flow between the plastic and the concrete, going into your drain.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Finishing basement walls


I just want to say I think your ceiling looks great!!!

A previous owner finished my basement and all the ductwork is covered by a drywall chase. I'm planning to rip it off so I can seal the ducts. Yours looks good and is completely open for easy access. I have wall to wall carpeting in mine and it is nice - makes it feel more like a living space while providing a cushion from the cold floor. My poles are also boxed in with wood so they look less industrial but that's personal preference. Whoever finished mine just framed the walls with 2x4's, stuck in R-13 fiberglass batts with kraft paper facing inside, then covered with drywall. I doubt my insulation is doing much but like your basement the temperature doesn't vary greatly. It's always colder down there. I don't think it ever gets above 65, even in the summer.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:45 AM   #5
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Current thought is not to use a vapor barrier on below ground walls so they can dry to the inside. The rigid foam acts as a thermal break to prevent condensation from forming.
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:30 PM   #6
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
Current thought is not to use a vapor barrier on below ground walls so they can dry to the inside. The rigid foam acts as a thermal break to prevent condensation from forming.


Doesn't that run a chance of making drywall wet?


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Old 06-21-2017, 07:31 PM   #7
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Re: Finishing basement walls


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I just want to say I think your ceiling looks great!!!

I made a YouTube video about my project:






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Old 06-22-2017, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: Finishing basement walls


There's a difference between water and water vapor. By putting a thermal break in place, like rigid foam, you keep the vapor from condensing into water. Vapor can pass through the drywall whereas water sits on the inside and causes mold. The vapor barrier is another spot condensation can be created, hence the reason for not installing it.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
There's a difference between water and water vapor. By putting a thermal break in place, like rigid foam, you keep the vapor from condensing into water. Vapor can pass through the drywall whereas water sits on the inside and causes mold. The vapor barrier is another spot condensation can be created, hence the reason for not installing it.


How thick should the foam panels be? The basement is completely underground, and the temperatures down there are stable.


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Old 06-22-2017, 10:35 AM   #10
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Hang tight for Bud on that - he knows what the minimum thicknesses are based on your outside temperatures.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:53 AM   #11
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
Hang tight for Bud on that - he knows what the minimum thicknesses are based on your outside temperatures.


Do I even need rigid boards? Can I use fiberglass rolls with paper vapor barrier on the interior side?


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Old 06-22-2017, 11:09 AM   #12
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Well, since I advised no vapor barrier, I'm going to simply say I would not do that.
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:25 PM   #13
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Re: Finishing basement walls


Fiberglass in a basement wall isn't recommended these days. It retains moisture.
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