03:23AM | 02/07/08
Member Since: 02/06/08
1 lifetime posts

I have a 9-year-old cement foundation, that is 24x50 and live in New Hampshire. One full length of the foundation is an exposed walk-out with wood walls. The other 3 sides are cement and mostly underground (approx 2 ft exposed above ground). I have no water problems and have a French Drain around the foundation. The walls are always dry. The basement has low humidity as I run a dehumidifier in the summer and a woodstove in the winter. My ultimate goal is to drywall or panel over the cement walls and never have to do it again.

Thinking that it would be a simple project, I have nailed 2x3 furring strips (flat-side against the wall) horizontally along the base of the wall and the top of the wall. I then nailed 2x3 vertical furring strips (flat side against the wall)every 16" on-center. The furring strips are kiln dried and not treated. The cement wall has not been water-proofed. Since nailing on the furring strips, I have heard conflicting reports on what to do next.

Questions: Should I Tear off furring strips and start over (I would really hate to do this)???? Waterproof the cement wall??? Add rigid insulation between furring strips??? Do I need to add a vapor barrier??? If so, is the VB to be placed between the furring strips and drywall/panel??? Any advantages to paneling vs drywall??? I want to make sure I do this project right, and not create mold/moisture problems that I will later regret. I would appreciate any advice you can provide. Thank you very much.


04:32PM | 02/10/08
Member Since: 03/03/05
273 lifetime posts
Being in the mold remediation business, I am always asked this question and asked how to "do it right". The answer is, there is no right answer.

1. Waterproofing from the outside is best.

2. Moisture barriers are good, but can still trap moisture.

3. Wood strips are organic and are a perfect source of food for mold.

4. Standard drywall has paper liners with act likes sponges and are also a food source for mold.

5. Wood paneling is a source of food for mold.

I have inspected walls with vapor barriers behind drywall walls with massive amounts of mold growth. The key is to eliminate the moisture. However if you heat the basement and the foundation is cold, you have the potential for condensation. Even the driest of basements can get wet, it's a matter of when.

So, it comes down to what you think is a reasonable plan. First off, using non organic building materials is a start. If you can create air movement behind the walls, it would be benificial.

We consulted on a basement project in Beverly, MA that consisted of vented walls with partial framing to allow for air flow. We installed two air handling units and it was enough to create enough air flow behind the walls to produce a wicking effect behind the walls dry.

I'm in the Boston area, if you would like to correspond, email me at and we can go from there.

Good luck!


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