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Wrong way to do things

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  • Wrong way to do things

    Steve caught this on Google the other day. Thought that I would bring it to your attention and my comment made back to the author of this "help" article.

    QUESTION: I am finishing my basement for living space. I have applied two coats of a waterproofing paint to the walls and have not detected any moisture for two years. I plan to use fiberglass insulation and wood framing. Do I need a vapor barrier between the wall and fiberglass? - P. Knight

    ANSWER: If you are satisfied that there is no leakage through the walls, you should not need a vapor barrier on the wall side. However, if your house is heated in winter, you should use a vapor barrier on the inside of the insulation to prevent moisture penetration. You can either use kraft-faced fiberglass, stapling the paper flanges to the inside of the wood studs, or you can use a vapor-barrier primer on the inside of the drywall that should cover the insulation.

    A few other points to keep in mind: Be sure and carefully insulate the band joist around the top perimeter of the basement walls. You can cut chunks of fiberglass and stuff them into the joist cavities. Also, you might consider other options for insulating the walls. For example, OXXXXXXng, a leading manufacturer of fiberglass, makes other products that could be used, including rigid foam insulation and a Basement Finishing System that eliminates framing, drywall and painting. For more information, visit
    My comment back:


    Your comment about the vapor barrier is sadly wrong.

    Vapor barriers should only be used in a basement when connected to a closed waterproofing system. Installing it on ether the foundation side or finished side would create a microcosm that can actually intensify the amount of moisture trapped behind your walls. This moisture can and will then form as condensation and flow down the vapor barrier as it was intended, but without having a drain system to enter, the water will end up on the floor. Yes, a vapor barrier is definitely needed in a basement finishing project; however it must be connected to a closed interior drain system so that the moisture it keeps out has someplace to go.

    P.Knight never mentioned actually sealing the area just behind the wall on the floor ether. That?s a key area that could also emanate moisture behind the walls. Using wood framing is also bad. Being that the basement is a moist environment in the first place; wood is just food at the buffet for the mold spores in the air. You?ll see mold colonies in no time flat.

    Don?t want you getting sued when he takes on water Gene.
    It's something that we're dealing with constantly. You can't build in the basement the same way you would above ground. It's critical that you deal with the moisture content first, gain control of that, and finish over a closed system. There's no other way to ensure that moisture can be gaged and controlled.

  • #2

    here's a video talking about exactly why (in worst case) you shouldn't install a vapor barrier the way mentioned above.