Wainscoting (beadboard) in a basement

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Old 06-18-16, 08:20 AM
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Wainscoting (beadboard) in a basement

I am in the process of refinishing my basement. The walls are cinderblock and I will install 3/4 inch rigid foam insulation against the wall. I will then stud with 2x4's and install R13 fiberglass insulation. I will then install 1/2 inch drywall. My question is with that setup can I install the beadboard from the floor up to 32 inches over the drywall. Will this wood product increase the potential for a future mold problem? I will also be continuously running a dehumidifier.
 
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Old 06-18-16, 08:35 AM
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Be sure to seam seal your foam boards. The bead board won't cause a problem, and I hope you have checked for mold in the basement before you take this on. Another way of installing wainscoting is to run perlins across the wall laterally between stud bays at the 32" mark and at the 16" mark, then install bead board planking directly to the studs and perlins. Your sheetrock can rest on the bead board planks and you can use a flat chair rail since your transition will be virtually seamless between the two. Just an idea.
 
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Old 06-18-16, 08:37 AM
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A lot will depend on how dry the wall is to begin with. If waterproofing was never installed on the exterior side of the foundation, the moisture content of your walls will vary with the moisture in the ground. A bare wall can dry to the inside... so after a big rain, it may look damp but will quickly dry out because it is drying to the inside. A wall covered with a vapor barrier like foam will generally have a higher moisture level because it cannot dry to the inside... so it will be just as wet as the soil outside. If your foam has been installed so that there is minimal air leakage (seams taped, edges sealed) then there should be very little air exchange, meaning you won't have lots of humid air coming into the framed walls. No humidity, no mold... In that space. In the space behind the foam, you will have high humidity and no airflow, so it would not be surprising if there was some mold growth behind the foam at some point. Point being, better behind the foam where it is sealed up than behind your drywall.

It is always a possibility that you could get some mold inside the framed wall. For instance, in winter months, if it's very cold out and the ground is frozen, your 3/4" foam will be cold. (This is why the thicker the foam is, the better. 2" is usually recommended) Plus, if there is any air leakage, cold air behind the drywall could cause condensation when it hits a warm surface. That's one of the biggest causes of mold... so stopping air leaks is the key.
 
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