Vapor Barrier

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  #1  
Old 01-26-04, 11:47 AM
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Vapor Barrier

I am in the process of framing basement walls with 2x4 studs. I have a poured concrete foundation with no water issues that I know of. I've lived in the house for 5+ years and have never noticed any water. I've read various posts that say no vapor barrier on the concrete wall, just make sure that the studs are 1 in off the wall so the insulation doesn't touch the wall. My question is, if I use kraft paper-faced insulation, is there paper on both sides of the fiberglass, and, if not, which way does the paper face?
 
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Old 01-26-04, 12:40 PM
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Paper faces the living area (warm side of the wall)
I would still put vapour barrier between the insulation and drywall as well as the paper does not get a good seal
 
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Old 01-28-04, 11:46 AM
olledra
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vapor barrier

no vapor barrier! im doing my basement now without a barrier.
id leave a 2 to 3 inch gap between studs and concrete wall.
everyone i know getting it done by contractors are not putting in a barrier. must be a change in how things are done now a days.
ive been told that the vapor barrier actually traps moisture and causes mold. next door neighbor had it done like i explained and you can actually feel air circulating when you open the sump door which is opened to that gapped area. thats what you want.
 
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Old 01-28-04, 12:25 PM
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olledrea I was just wondering what kind of climate do you live it?
I think that not using vapour barrier in some climates is probably ok and maybe even advised
But in my climate in Winnipeg MB its needed. My basements existing vapour barrier had holes in it and everywhere there was a hole there was a half inch of front on the concrete and mold in the cement, all from humidity in the house and a poor vapour barrier job.
 
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Old 01-28-04, 12:36 PM
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If you dont put a V/B there on the wall first you will be in big trouble later on for sure. V/B on tmhe wall put the stud wall up with P/T bottom plate insulation paper to the room a poly on top of that then the drywall.

Tell you what take a say 3'X3' piece of poly and tape it tight to the wall look in a few day at the water thats in it. Do that to the floor also ED
 
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Old 01-28-04, 12:42 PM
olledra
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vapor barrier

i live in michigan and the reason you see that moisture is because of the barrier holding it in. moisture breeds mold.
if you're trapping airflow, that will create moist undriable conditions. that creates mold. think if it this way. you shower daily and the shower has a door on it. day after day you never wipe it dry and leave the door closed.
eventually you will see mold in the corners. if you had either dried the shower or left the door open, and let air in. that would decrease the chance of mold. maybe that is code for you guys, but here ive seen vapor barriers create more problems than stop problems.
 
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Old 01-28-04, 12:50 PM
olledra
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barrier

ed are you saying to put up a barrier against the concrete before the studs? maybe you guys have a lot more moisture in fla than us in mich. you CANNOT stop the flow of water! you MUST control it. by keeping an air gap, you control it. you let it naturally let it dry.
 
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Old 01-28-04, 01:10 PM
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Here and" from " where I speak. Yes Im down in Florida it got cold today down to 60o right now. Boy dont even think basement in most of the state here. 3' down and you have all the water you want.

No my shop and home base is up there in Missouri. Almost all the homes there have full finish basements and walk out. Have also did some earth contact homes. All with the V/B on the cement wall then the stud wall . If you dont put the V/B up first over time the moisture from the wall goes into the open insulation and kills it and get the mole going. There I have been back on homes 30 years old. Still as good as the day we put it in.

Think how cold that wall is even in summer and it will sweat if it can. ED
 
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Old 01-29-04, 08:26 AM
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I think that there are 2 different things being discussed here.
By the sounds of it olledra is talking about no vapour barrier at all so that the moisture coming through the cement can evaporate and Ed is talking about the moisture from inside the house condensating on the outside wall and then getting obsorbed by the insulation, unless I am wrong.

Anyways in my situation if I dont use any vapour barrier the condenstation on the cement will build up and soak the insulation so that is out of the question. So I am putting at least one layer betwen the insulation and the drywall. But if I dont put a layer between the cement and the insulation the moisture coming through the cement will also get the insulation wet, so I think I am also forced the put the vapour barrier against the concrete.

I think though if I still let the insulation breath at the bottom of the wall to the cement side it will prevent the instulation from getting moldy while still preventing the mosture from the cement from soaking into the insulation, or am I way off on this?
 
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Old 01-29-04, 08:36 AM
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Okay. How does this sound? Since I am erecting the stud walls about an inch away from the concrete wall, I hang a vapor barrier on the back of the stud wall, not directly on the concrete. This way any moisture wicking through the concrete will have the freedom to evaporate, but the surface of the insulation that faces the concrete will be protected from moisture soaking into it. And what is the purpose of sandwiching a vapor barrier between the front of the stud wall and the drywall? I thought the goal was to protect the insulation from moisture.
 
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Old 01-29-04, 10:11 AM
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V/B

When we hang the V /B on the cement wall there is some also out on the floor. We set the bottom P/T plate on the V/B it like seal it that way. Its the moisture from the wall

Then the insulation in the studs paper side to the room yes . On top of this a poly V/B 2 mil if you can find it . I dont care how good you are there can be a leak in the paper and room moisture will get in there.

Also we have found that when you do a good job with the paper tacked on the edge of the studs. It builds up and makes bumps. so we tack the paper tab like inside the stud then put the poly over it all. This way your not going to get like a bump in the drywall or thin paneling when you put it up ED
 

Last edited by Ed Imeduc; 01-29-04 at 01:08 PM.
  #12  
Old 01-29-04, 11:23 AM
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Johns Manville has seemed to solve everyones problems because they offer poly-encapsulated insulation, geared toward basements. Think insulation inside a polybag, with the top and bottom open for air movement. Its great stuff to work with, as you don't come in contact with the fiberglass at any time. This eliminates the need for all vapor barriers and also addresses the fact that depending on the season and where you live air flows reverse.
 
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Old 01-29-04, 07:27 PM
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ERIKGENE,

How do you split the encapsulated fiberglass around horizontal electrical wires? I was thinking of using this stuff.. but it seemed that I would have to cut the poly to go around wires....what is your experience with this??


Thanks for any info,

Lou
 
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Old 01-30-04, 05:59 AM
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I just read a very in-depth study on the pros and cons of various basement insulation solutions. I think everyone should really take a close look at this:

http://www.buildingscience.com/resou...on_systems.pdf

The final concensus is to use rigid foam glued directly to the concrete/cinder-block walls, than 2x4 wall in front of that faced with gypsum board. The space within the wall is not filled with fiberglass batts and there is NO vapor barrier used. Reasons for this are documented in the study. This is how I am doing my basement.
 
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Old 01-30-04, 11:04 AM
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vapor barrier

obviously it matters where you live. in michigan everyone ive known using the plastic for a barrier has had prblems. i finished my fathers basement 20 years ago. he has a block basement and we used no vapor barrier. the way the re-do was constructed was there were closets put all around the outside walls (opened to the block). there has NEVER been any moisture or mold problems. the reason is, there is about 11/2 to 2 ft open space in these closets to the brick. this allows the area to dry naturally. i understand there is a 2 ft opening im talking about vs the 2" gap posted on the site, but my point all along has been to leave a 4" gap, dont over insulated and there wont be any problems. in my area people have increasingly done away with the plasic barriers with no set backs. my thinking on this issue is like this. you spill liquid on you carpet. what are you going to do? pat it with a dry towel and throw a fan and a dehumidifier on it to dry it? or put a piece of plastic over it?
 
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Old 01-30-04, 12:08 PM
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Olledra
Just for kicks take a 2'X2' poly and tape it to the basement wall there and see what it does in a few days? let us know. Its not in the winter with the furnace goingthat we need it. Its in the summer that you need it ED
 
  #17  
Old 01-31-04, 05:02 PM
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Bugdog, there is no need to worry about your horizontal wires.
Just put the insulation in place, the insulation will push the wire back a little, so the wire is behind the insulation. All the walls that I did have wires running through and it was not a problem.

Where I had electrical boxes I just made two small horizontal cuts above and below the electrical box and folded the insulation behind the box
 
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Old 02-01-04, 05:04 AM
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Thanks for the info Erikgene.
 
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Old 02-01-04, 06:46 AM
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BugDog,

Just thinking as I used steel studs because of the knockouts the wire had room to move back, not sure what would happen with wood as there is not as much wiggle room, I would think the insulation at worst would compress a little at the wire
 
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Old 02-13-04, 06:26 AM
olledra
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vapor barrier

Ed, read this.

Beware vapor barriers that promote mold

Dear Glenn: On a recent program, I heard you make a disparaging comment about the use of a vapor barrier when installing insulation in a basement. Iím about to put some insulation between the joists in a storage room off our main basement. The room sits under a 3-season front porch. I was going to install the insulation (no-backing) and then cover (and hold in place) with plastic. Now Iím not so sure. What would be the proper way to install the insulation?

óGordon, Winona, Wyoming

Dear Gordon: If you install an impermeable membrane, you will prevent moisture that accumulates on the concrete from evaporating. This creates ideal conditions for mold growth. Go to my help site, www.masterhandy man.com, and type "basement remodeling" in the article search engine. That will tell you all about the best way to insulate a basement.



and read this:




No plastic vapor barriers anywhere in the house

Dear Glenn: We have a finished basement in a house that is more than 30 years old. My wife read an article by Morris and James Carey of the Associated Press and became worried about mold.
Our basement walls are poured concrete. I put furring strips up with 3/4-inch Styrofoam panels between the strips. I then covered it with 4-mil plastic sheeting with 1/4-inch paneling over that. The Careys' article said since the vapor barrier is on the warm side, moisture will build up and "you have no idea what kind of havoc this may create down the road."
It went on to suggest applying 2 to 3 layers of vapor barrier, followed by double the usual insulation before paneling. "Anything less will come back to bite you." I would think if you have moisture, that mold would be more likely to build on the concrete wall with that much vapor barrier. Should I just take off all the paneling and cut openings in the plastic or take it all down and start over? And suggestions would be appreciated.
-- Tom, Royal Oak
Dear Tom: This is a great question. You are going to help thousands of people. Thank you.
The jury is still out, but depending on the outcome of ongoing research, that warning may be expanded to "No plastic vapor barriers anywhere in the house."
The Minnesota Building Code currently calls for no vapor barrier below grade and we believe the state of Minnesota is correct.
To understand why, answer this question: Would you prefer wet black mold and assorted "yuck" between the basement wall and the insulation; between the insulation and the paneling; or not have any wet black mold and assorted "yuck" at all?
Plastic traps water and will give you the first or second answer. No plastic and proper air circulation will give you the third option. Personally, I prefer option No. 3. Unfortunately, if you don't want to have the problem you have to remove the plastic.


This is from a web site of glenn haege. americas handyman.
he syndicated across the us and parts of canada on the radio. this guy really knows his stuff.
 
  #21  
Old 02-13-04, 09:28 AM
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Olledra just my .02 cents

Went through it all. Id still say I dont buy it. So could be that up there a north home dont have that warm moist air in summer . That can get to the cool cement basement walls, I dont know.
Yes I looked at master handy man. Had a very good ha ha ha at his write up on Florida. Boy lots of B*** there. If you look every other word is a plug for some brand or company. How do you think he lives off the $$$$ he gets for plugs. I know of 6 www like his some ask for $3 and they will send you a how to do it paper.
Now on the state code . Hey we have some nut codes that dont work here but you have to do it that way. There where just 2 post here. That they had used paper back insulation and said they did a good job. Went into it for some thing and found ice build up in side the insulation and out to the out side wall.
Thats like crawl ways we have taken more insulation out of the joist that is wet in it all over and redid the craw with poly on the ground and up the walls then insulation just on the walls and sill plate.
Have done add on rooms open under it. Put the floor joist in then a V/Bover them then the ply wood floor. Insulation up in the joist then cover the bottom of the joist. Have done some earth contact homes. So know that it works some are 30 years old and no mold
Have a building and hvac company now for over 35 years . All that time as soon as poly came out we used it. On the ceiling of a home with a 12" blow on top of it and on the walls R 13 and over the paper if it had it and for a time you could get a press fit insulation that for sure you needed a poly over it. In the basements hang a poly right on the cement wall tack it to the sill plate 2X4 1 "out R13 in it and a R 19 up in the joist space on the sill plate all around the home. A 2 mil poly if you can get it then the drywall or panel on the walls.

On that first email to him. "Go to my page thats $$$ for him."
For sure you dont put insulation up there and poly under it to hold it up.
The last one that was bad to start with. He nailed 3/4" wood to the wall was it P/T wood? and thats a no no to start ,nailed to the wall in a basement. I also think he means he got polystyrene panels and put that on the wall for insulation. That can let moisture through. get a cheap ice box made of it put water in it and let it set for a few days on the basement floor pick it up it will be wet down there.

ED
 
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Old 02-13-04, 10:21 AM
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vapor barrier

Glenn does NOT get a kick back from anyone nor any special treatment for endorsement. he makes his money from his radio show and his books he sells. secondly if you go back and read the ice build up post here it stated that he had a poly vapor barrier, and still ended up with ice. the post i put up about glenn stated that the poly traps moisture. what happened in this case was trapping the airflow with the poly barrier forced air movement to the gap and created an ice build-up. ive read many posts here and elsewhere where the poly is involved when people complain about moisture and mold. to each his own. i would suggest for everyone whos doing a project like this to thourghly investigate the matter.
 
  #23  
Old 02-13-04, 10:36 AM
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Touche olledra! Ed is obviously behind the times. All the recent information points toward the negative effects of using a vapor barrier. You can try to explain this to Ed and he'll keep coming back like a broken record saying about how he's been "doing it for 30 years", and "tape some poly on the wall", and "never had a problem". I wonder if he's ever actually taken a look at the poly he's installed over the past 30 years. I'm sure if he had, he'd have seen plenty of mold. Just because his clients haven't complained about mold, it's probably still present. Mold isn't something you are consciously aware of. It gets into the air and causes a slew of breathing problems. That "Building Science" article is pretty informative in its interpretation of the problems involved with moisture. I'll be following their recommendations. If you haven't read it, you should.
 
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Old 02-13-04, 12:16 PM
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hot topic

The vapor barrier thing always ends up in a flame Listen, your best bet is to talk to a builder in your area. A company that builds 3 - 4 houses a year ought to know what will and will not work or else they'll do nothing but warranty work. I contacted my builder and was told flat out "no poly anywhere, kraftfaced paper in, stay as far from the walls as you can". All I needed to know. And I'm in NE PA too.
 
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Old 02-13-04, 12:27 PM
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Lightbulb Blorzoga & Olledra

Like they say: You show me yours Ill show you mine.
In fact have one son in a earth contact home 2600sq ft about 12 years old now .We have been back in the walls now and then to change water lines and electric. Guess what no mold at all.Have another 4600 sq ft 3 years old full finished basement . Went into the back wall to move some electric no MOLD. Outside of lower level and upper level wrap in the TY with Drivit finish. poly on the inside. If its new and does it work do I stay with it thats for sure. Am into heat pumps, have did Geo and DXGeo heat pumps. have worked with Solar heat , Hot rocks .even tried Phillip Salts for heat.
Now when your own government still said to use it on their www. Ill go with that .

And just let this post dog die ED
 
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