04:03PM | 02/02/14
Member Since: 02/02/14
3 lifetime posts
Hello everyone. I've been lurking here for quite a while. I've recently purchased older home and have some questions regarding how I should go about finishing the basement.

Firstly the home is close to 90 years old. According to the neighbor a previous owner (10+yrs ago) had the entire foundation excavated to improve drainage around the house and seal the block foundation. At the same time an interior french drain and sump pit were installed. There is no evidence that water has entered the home recently despite the 100 year flood we had last spring. I feel very confident the basement will remain dry. At some point in the past the interior of the foundation was covered with some type of mortar, not sure if this was for water issues or to add strength but it remains on the foundation walls.

My plan here is to add an additional bedroom, close off the utility room and frame in and finish (at some point in the future) the laundry room. I've already redone all the gas/water lines to make framing easier and I'll be sealing band joists this afternoon.

Now for the questions. I see A LOT of argument on how to finish a basement and the proper use and location of a vapor barrier. I see the common theme of foam board against the block wall, framing slightly away from the foam, unfaced batts between the studs and sheet rock on top. I see some reccomending plastic sheet directly against the block wall and still others reccomending the same on the warm side of the wall. So really, how should I do this to avoid running into moisture issues within the wall cavity. I did the moisture test (plastic taped to the wall for a few days) and got nothing on either side of the film. Not surprising given its winter and there is dry warm air blowing around the basement. Should I add a barrier? Will the sealed foam and unfaced batts be the best option?

One additional question. The french drain has a piece of flashing that runs 2" up the walls that separates the slab floor from the block walls when the drain was poured in. I can peel this flashing back from the walls and see dirt and the footing. Should I seal the top of this piece of flashing? Will just caulk work? Just the ridgid foam board over top? I feel this gap has the potential to put moisture in the wall cavity.

By the way I am in michigan , we have hot humid summers and cold winters with plenty of snow here. Any information is appreciated, thanks guys I'll have some pics up when I get back to the house!


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