Help with Basement

Old 07-07-13, 05:07 PM
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Help with Basement

Hey all,

I've got an issue in the closet in one of my basement bedroom's. The basement was previously finished by the original homeowner/builder and I am suspecting shoddy work.

In the winter, the closet is always noticeably colder compared to the rest of the basement. A number of months ago, I noticed that a poster that was rolled up in its packaging and sitting in the closet corner was mouldy. I looked under the only dresser in the closet and there was significant mould growth on the under side of the bottom dresser drawer and lower portions of the inside areas of the dresser. This dresser was put there in approximately two and a half years ago.

As a job, I am a mould and indoor air quality technologist, so I took some air samples throughout the basement to determine where to start first (there was a previous leak from the washing machine on the main floor into the basement washroom, resulting in water dripping into the basement and water staining on the bathroom ceiling drywall). Results of the samples I took showed that the air was being impacted by mould in the bedroom and living room, while the bathroom was fine.

So I took care of the mould-impacted dresser and decided to see what the wall conditions were like in the closet so I cut the lower portions of drywall around the closet.

Carpet appears fine, however does have some water staining along with the tack strips. A closer look along one of the walls shows about a 1/4" gap between the bottom of the wood sill plate and concrete foundation and the gap is open to the outside (you could see light). Using a hose to simulate rain and spraying it on the vinyl siding, water intrusion was not observed. However, spraying the ground directly in front of the gap, water immediately was observed as the concrete became wet.

Other issues noticed is that there is vapor barrier on the walls in the closet but it's not attached to the floor at all (ends at the wood sill plate). Is this correct? Also, in terms of the framing, the distance between the studs is 16" except in one spot which is 18" (and missing half of the insulation that was present in between the other studs.

So, the question I have is there supposed to a vapor barrier coming out fro the concrete floor to tie into the vapor barrier on the walls?

To fix that gap that runs along the wood sill plate, I was thinking of using spray foam to seal up the gap from the inside, and run flashing with peel and stick from behind the vinyl siding down past the gap that is currently there (as this would stop rain/water from getting into the gap. Is this correct?

If vapor barrier is supposed to be present in the concrete floor, how can this be fixed? In the near future, I would like to replace the carpet currently in the basement with laminate flooring, would there be any issues with not having the wall vapor barrier tied into the concrete floor? I honestly suspect that if it's not tied in in the closet, then it's not tied in anywhere else as I have lifted the carpet in other areas to inspect.

You help/advice/input would be greatly appreciated.
Old 07-07-13, 05:32 PM
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Jus to summarize the construction:

From the floor to the ceiling:
1.) Concrete floor
2.) Gap (~1/4")
3.) Wood sill plate gasket
4.) Wood sill plate
5.) Insulation

From the interior wall to the exterior wall:
1.) Drywall
2.) Vapor barrier
3.) Insulation
4.) Plywood
5.) Vinyl siding
Old 07-08-13, 03:56 AM
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Welcome to the forums! It seems the correct layering took place. There is most likely a vapor barrier under the concrete slab. No guarantees, but it is common practice. NOW, to the part that bothers me most: the gap under the sill plate. Correct please. You have a flat concrete slab with walls built on it. What is the landscaping on the outside? How far below this slab does it start? Any water remediation would be best done from the outside, not inside. Spray foam does not stop water. It only insulates. By seeing daylight, it also bothers me that whatever you have for siding is not properly installed to shed water. It may be difficult, but could you post a few pictures of the foundation-to-sill plate area, inside and out? The vapor barrier should be attached to all the inside surfaces of the studs as well as the top and bottom plates, but no connection to the concrete, as that would be impossible and not help with condensation.

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