Finishing a Basement with Insulating Coatings

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  #1  
Old 06-14-07, 12:43 PM
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Finishing a Basement with Insulating Coatings

I've been planning an procrastinating my basement renovation for 2 or 3 years now. My biggest topic of indecision has been how to insulate the walls without creating a breeding ground for mold and without taking up too much room space with thick walls.

Lately, I've been looking into surface coating insulations and could use the group's help determining if they're right for my situation. One option is ceramic paint (namely, Super Therm) and the other is polyurethane foam. Both seem to cost about $1/sf at the recommended application thickness.

If I use a one of these coating instead of the foam panels I was previously considering, I would probably frame the walls with 2x3s, install plumbing and wiring, and then spray in the coating. My block & brick walls are so bumpy and out of plumb, that it should be easy for the foam to fill in around and behind the framing to create a good seal over the entire wall surface. After curing, I'd finish with drywall and paint with latex.

Here are some specific questions I have about these products:

1) Since ceramic paints seem better at resisting radiation than conductance, would they provide any value when used inside a finished wall, against a subterranean masonry surface?

2) If there is value in a ceramic coating on subterranean masonry, would it be a good idea to coat the slab floor with it?

3) Would either product's effectiveness be compromised by the fact that my masonry walls are painted (and in some places, with DryLok)?

4) My french drain has a 6" vinyl "baseboard" that allows any wall surface moisture to fall into the drain and also helps the system dry out. Would the french drain's effectiveness be compromised in any way when the top of the vinyl is sealed under an insulating coating?

5) Would the waterproof nature of these coatings cause problems by not giving the finished wall a chance to dry out, similar to putting 6-mil poly right up against the masonry?

Thanks, as always!
 
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Old 06-14-07, 05:38 PM
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If you have water running down the inside of your wall to a drain I would not recomend finishing it. If it is dry Id go 1x3 with poly stiren.
 
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Old 06-14-07, 05:53 PM
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Thanks for the tip. The basement has been bone dry since the drain was installed. The installer suggested putting plastic against the wall and tucking it into the vinyl so that any hydrostatic seepage flows to the drain. This is not an issue for me, and I think his idea is a bad one because of the likelihood of mold. I'm wondering if condensation is possible, and therefore should be given access to the drain.

So, you're suggesting furring strips, followed by something like PolarGuard panels, and then drywall glued to the panels?
 
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Old 06-15-07, 01:31 PM
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I'm not familiar with polerguard. But a 1 inch thick sheet in between furring strips is fine.
 
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Old 06-16-07, 10:03 PM
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Ok, that's good to know. So what about a vapor retarder/barrior? There will be a lot of gaps between the panels and the furring strips to let moisture and cold air do as they please. PolarGuard is a polystyrene product that has a perforated lamination, thus forming a vapor retarder. The perforations allows the wall system to dry out when necessary. Seam tape seals the gaps between panels to maximize the effectiveness of the wall system.

This approach was my original plan, but it seems like a spray-on coating might be more effective and less labor-intensive. Does anyone here have any experience using the ceramic paints or spray foam in basement walls?
 
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Old 06-17-07, 07:50 AM
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closed cell spray foam is the best thing out their. R7 per inch plus you don't need a VB.
 
  #7  
Old 07-09-07, 09:54 AM
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Super Therm revisited

This past weekend, I found myself at an eco-friendly hardware store that sells Super Therm. The salesman was extremely excited about the product for use in my basement finishing project. I shot back everything I knew about ceramic paints being better suited for external building applications (to resist reflection instead of conduction). I pointed out that the sample doesn't feel warm to the touch, so it couldn't be preventing conduction in the same way foam or batt does.

He started with a statement about Super Therm being more than just ceramic paint. The manufacturers compare and contrast it to ceramic paint as though this is a completely different (and superior) material. It has astronomical ASTM ratings that (he claims) have to be true because ASTM ratings are certified.

Next, he held up 5-inch strip of galvanized steel with a blob of Super Therm in the middle of one side. He had me hold the end below the blob while he heated the other end to red hot with a blowtorch. My end did not get hot at all. What's interesting is that the Super Therm was not a barrier layer between the heat and my fingers. It was simply adhered to the single surface. According to him, it was able to absorb all that heat just by being nearby.

So all this is interesting, but what does it mean for insulating the inside surface of a mostly sub-grade wall? Would Super Therm absorb all the heat from my basement? Would it instead prevent heat from transferring to the cold block walls? Could I be finished insulating my basement after just one coat (rated at R19) of this stuff? Does it make vapor issues moot?

So many questions, so little real-world experience documented on the web...
 
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