Basement framing and moisture.

Hi, my name is Tim. I was speaking with a Billy Boerner in email as he is a local St Louis area inspector. He informed me that it would be best for me to post here. As I am aware that topic regarding vapor barrier and moisture in basements have been beaten to death, I still want to discuss it given my skepticism with things. I also am not sure if this was the right thread to post in, but after viewing the other threads, I felt this might suit it best.

I live in Cottage Hills, IL which is near St Louis. As you are probably aware our climate consists of temperatures as low as 0 degrees in the winter and as hot as 115 degrees in the summer at times. Our winter months can vary in temperature drastically here, as the other day it was 70 degrees and last night our low was 20 degrees. O happy days. Either way I would like to discuss how I should go about framing up my basement. I have read and read and read different ways to go about it and have an idea of my own that I think might best fit my application. I will present it, and see how you guys feel on it. I will also give you an idea of the type of house I live in.

My application is a below grade basement in front with a walkout basement in back. I have a sump pump that was installed before I bought the house, when and how I do not know, but from doing some jackhammer work already in the basement it appears they have a slotted pipe with clean rock on top of it. It appears that it was done correctly. It also appears to work very well. I have a cinder block foundation, I doubt the outside was every waterproofed on the below grade side. The house was built in the 60s. I live in Cottage Hills, IL. My backyard tapers down to a creek that is probably 20 feet below my house or more. Just wanted to give you an idea of what were working with.

I am wondering if I should even use a vapor barrier in my construction. It appears from this website that people frown drastically on them. I have seen a ton of pictures that would explain why. I have also experienced first hand about the rigid foam board insulation installed against the cinder blocks with slats in between, as this is what was installed already. I also had an area in the basement where just studs were installed right over the cinderblocks with no gap between the block and board, but it was never finished just left roughed in. The cinder block walls are dry locked as well.

The area where the rigid foam board was installed was growing mold at the very bottom of it between the foam and the blocks. It was a slat against block, foam between with laminated paneling installed over it. Mind you my basement has a sump pump system, the area where the mold was in this application likes to stay damp, and had it stayed dry, probably wouldnt have grown mold. I do not know why the bottom one and a half bricks hold moisture, but they do. It is just in one corner of my house.

As far as the studs that were installed right on the cinder block wall, they have grown some surface mold. At one point in that corner of the house the dirt was up over the siding for some reason and the guy that installed my panel box didnt seal around the pipe where enters the house through the sill board, so water would flow through that hole, into my box, down the walls, into the studs. That could be why their is more mold there also then should be.

Either way I do not have standing water in my basement at all, moreso dampness along some of the cinder blocks near the floor. The drylock in those areas have bubbled up as well due to hydro static pressure. Hopefully everyone is still with me and I am explaining myself well.

I have since tore out the rigid foam board install, which was probably 20 plus years old to begin with, but do have the studs still up in that one corner. Nice way to experiment with things in my opinion anyways, you live you learn. Here is my idea.

I want to reframe part of my basement very soon. I am not sure what to do with the dampness yet at the bottom, but I do intend on drylocking the rest of the basement. It has held up well over the years since I have never finished it on the higher portions of the walls, but like I said, not at the bottom. Not sure why, maybe the surface wasn’t clean enough or something it was applied. I also intend on framing a 2x4 wall with a 3 inch gap behind the wall. I am thinking I should not use a vapor barrier at all. I was told to use a plastic or foil wrapped insulation in the wall if no vapor barrier is used, but I think I would just go with regular unfaced fiberglass between the studs instead so it can BREATHE more. I also considered not putting the insulation all the way to the floor to help aide in breathing. As far as the framework is concerned I have a couple ideas. Their was one thread that showed a guy using composite decking as the bottom plate, then treated 2x4 as a second bottom plate, then the non treated studs, with non treated top plate. I thought that was a very sound idea. Then my mind started to wander a bit. I began to think well, composite decking is very expensive. Why not just space the composite material that is being applied to the floor, since I have two bottom plates this would be fine. By spacing the composite decking, I would allow a gap under the wall so that the wall would never sit directly on the floor and be able to breathe that much more, therefore never being expose to water and never wicking any water up into the walls. Another thing that came to mind was not bringing the drywall all the way to the ground, but stopping it above the treated bottom plate giving myself a 2.5 inch gap between the drywall and the basement floor, preventing that much more wicking into the drywall if the treated board ever got wet. I also went as far as to think wrapping that treated board in a sill sealer, foam product to prevent any wicking if the water level ever went above the bottom composite decking spacer. ALSO since the composite decking is wider then a 2x4, i would fur out the composite board to be plum with the thickness of the drywall, so that when I put trim up around the perimeter it would be flush and cover the area that is not drywalled.

Hope this all makes sense. Thoughts? I will take some pictures of the mold/damp area that was under the rigid foam board insulation and the picture of the mold on the studs. Foam board area like I said was over 20 years old and the stud area is probably 6 years old.

Below is the drylock that is bubbling off of the walls near the bottom and the mold on the studs. Again this is about 6 years old. Had some water coming in from outside through that hole in the sill board that i described earlier and sump pump failed once.

Below this is the area where the rigid foam board was for over 20 years. You can see the board outlines on the line as they drylocked around them, then put foam in between. Mold grew up behind the foam.

The spot in the corner next to the blue wall by the stairs is where the CONSTANT damp spot is. It looks like mold but its really just damp all the time in that one area.

Composite decking is not approved as a structural component.

True waterproofing can only take place from the exterior. I don’t care what the salespeople say, if you water proof on the inside, it will eventually fail. You can decide to take a shortcut or you can decide to do it correctly. If you decide to take one of the less expensive, easier shortcuts, then live with the results.

Well I am not really waterproofing, I am just preventing my walls from being in water…

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In my opinion I would use roxul insulation

I would make sure there is added to the cinder block and furing strips added on the cinder block to keep water away from the back of the XPS.

The framing should stand off from this by about 1/2 an inch to prevent bridging.

Roxul insulation is loose fitted between the studs allowing breathing room.

No vapor barrier and drywall that is moisture and mold proof.

I should also mention that the composite decking is good idea rather them foam seal.

You could do this but you would have to move to Canada.

A gap of at least 6 inches all around the basement walls between the concrete walls and the studs should be considered. Wall vents are a good thing, and running a dehumidifier year round is also recommended. Moisture resistant studs (blue) can be used, along with WR drywall. Remember that over 75% of all water in any basement is due to issues outside at the exterior; gutter, downspouts, grading, drainage, etc.

Well the small area of brick that stays damp stays damp even through drought, which has ruled out any type of guttering, grade, etc. Also, no one has said whether or not my idea is sound by using the composite to fur my wall up and off the ground. I never have standing water just minimal seepage it appears, although the sump pump works i still have damp lower bricks at times, except the one that stays damp year round.

Yes I did and so would Will Decker. He had an article on this type of installation so ask him to dig it up.

As I stated in my first post, composite decking material is not approved as a structural component.

Wouldn’t it just be a partition? The house is already standing.

It is being used for other than it’s intended purpose as part of a wall structure. It is not correct.

As mentioned you need to control the water/moisture source First. This means from interior and/or exterior. You can try to avoid it, build around it, hide it, etc., it (moisture) will still cause problems.

Concrete block is a different animal to poured concrete.

Interesting that this person comes to the message board in search of information yet has a website that says they perform work on basements. Guaranteed even. Contractors… sheesh. :roll:

Something is making the little red light and bell go off…

Prolly a client suing them for NOT stopping the water at the OUTSIDE…:shock:

Waterproofing needs to be done at the exterior, BEFORE anything is done at the Interior…!

From the exterior… hmm. Ive heard that somewhere before… hmm… Oh yeah, post #3. Great minds Dale… great minds…:wink:

Ya, I agree. Wait 'til Mark Anderson ( I forget his online moniker) get a hold of this thread…:stuck_out_tongue:

Oh ya! It is John Bubber. Wait 'til john sees these comments.

I agree Dale,
In my area wet basements are often caused by high water tables as well as grading issue’s.
Most of the time, with high water tables, the moisture will enter the basement through the connection of the wall to the footing. This is where you have to stop it and the only way to do it is to install foundation drains with moisture protection for the exterior wall.

Guy’s you are not listening to what he is saying, so go back and read post#7.

Sorry I was viewing this from my phone last night, appears I missed some information.