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mgirens

06:25AM | 01/01/01
Member Since: 12/31/00
1 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
I am finishing out rooms in a block basement in Wisconsin. The basement is at grade in front of the house and exposed in the back., with side walls where the block is stepped down with the descending grade and insulated 2 x 6 construction from the lower block areas to the floor joist.

I have never had any previous moisture, condensation, water or mildew problems but I applied 2 coats of latex waterproofing paint as insurance. My framing walls are a green treated 2 x 4 base tap-conned to the floor, 2 x 4 top plate screwed to the floor joists and a 3 ½ steel stud wall in between. I stapled 6 mil plastic to the outside/bottom of the treated base plate and top 2 x 4 plate and applied a heavy bead of 50 year calk to the corner where the concrete block meets the concrete floor. There is a small gap in-between the block wall and plastic, about ¼ to 1/8 inch. I have installed JM comfort-therm 3-½ insulation in-between the steel studs, but have not hung any drywall yet.

The problem is I’ve discovered that in some parts of the wall, particularly where the short block in combination 2 x 6 exterior wall exists, I’m getting condensation on the interior side of the plastic, dampening the plastic sleeve of the insulation. No mold or mildew yet, but I know the condensation I’m seeing now must be addressed in some fashion before I go ahead with drywall. I find it odd that the steel studs seem to have no condensation. It all seems to be on the room side of the cold plastic.

I’ve seen many different opinions on basement vapor barriers but the prevailing opinion seemed to be that it should be against the exterior wall side to prevent dampness from the block. I don’t know how to resolve this problem and I’m reluctant to keep going thinking there’s bound to be a major problem if I don’t resolve this issue now.

What advice do you have or where can I get advice?

Thanks for your consideration of my problem!

WallyV

09:03AM | 02/01/01
Member Since: 01/16/01
71 lifetime posts
From what I gather from your post, there is no insulation between the 6mil poly and the concrete block which will prevent water from entering your finished room from the exterior. However, the vapor barrier will be pretty close to the exterior temperature of the short block so when heated moisture rich interior air hits the colder section of the poly, voila! condensation.

Since it's certain sections of the wall, perhaps there is a "hole" that is allowing cold air to infiltrate the 2x6 exterior wall and more directly hit the poly. Do a draft search and try and seal any if you find them, then check and see if that kills the problem.

If that doesn't do it, you may need to further insulate the exterior wall to prevent conduction of the cold from outside to poly. With 1/4 to 1/8 inch gap to work with between your interior wall and the exterior wall, you don't have too many insulation options to apply from the inside. If you can effectively slide and glue some rigid foam insulation to the interior surface of the exterior wall, you might be able to prevent the poly from coming close to the exterior temp. I'd try and tape up the seams between the foam boards.

WallyV

09:05AM | 02/01/01
Member Since: 01/16/01
71 lifetime posts
Also a good source of info is at the 'Breaktime' discussion board of the "Fine Homebuilding" web site. It's a magazine of Taunton press. You can get there through Taunton's home page, www.taunton.com.

Good luck.

WallyV

09:05AM | 02/01/01
Member Since: 01/16/01
71 lifetime posts
Also a good source of info is at the 'Breaktime' discussion board of the "Fine Homebuilding" web site. It's a magazine of Taunton press. You can get there through Taunton's home page, www.taunton.com.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by WallyV (edited February 02, 2001).]

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