Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


06:14PM | 04/06/03
Member Since: 03/09/03
26 lifetime posts
My home was built in 1926 and has a full basement. I would like to finish the basement and I would like to waterproof the walls first. I have cleaned the walls with bleach and cleaner and I have filled in all the holes in the exterior walls with cement patch. I have removed the loose mortar and filled those gaps in with cement patch. I painted the walls with some waterproofing paint. I also built up the dirt around the exterior of the house for proper drainage. Is there anything else I can do to prevent water or moisture from getting through. I have heard about people putting up a vapor barrier directly on the brick and I have read about people stapling some type of foam to the walls before they frame. Any suggestions?


12:17AM | 04/11/03
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
You have done everthing you "need" to do and apparently thought it out well.

Moisture and vapor barriers are two different things that serve a similar purpose: preventing mold from rotting out building materials. The purpose of vapor barriers is to prevent condensation inside an exterior, non-basement wall. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air. In winter, as the warm, moist indoor air changes temperature inside the walls to the outdoor temperature, the water vapor could condense inside the insulation, creating mold. Thus, the vapor barrier between the wall surface and the insulation keeps the moist water vapor inside the room, away from the insulation.

However, in basements, the outdoor surface rarely gets that cold so as to create such a difference. (Some disagree, but that's my opinion). Moreover, the problem in basements is often not moisture from indoor air creeping into the walls and condensing, but moisture from the soil outside the foundation wall creeping in. I thus suggest not using a vapor barrier in a basement and instead using a moisture barrier on the foundation walls to prevent water from seeping IN.

Keep in mind two things. First, you do not want to trap moisture. One side of the insulation should be able to "breathe" to allow any water that accidentally DOES get in there to eventually evaporate. (With the correct barrier, the water should not be replentished and presumably will be a one-time thing.) You want to make sure there is no way that the humidity of the air in the insulation is higher than BOTH the indoor and outdoor air. If you have sealed the wall from moisture, then do not put a vapor barrier on the insulation. If the insulation comes with a vapor barrier, remove it or face the vapor barrier toward the exterior, not the interior. You might want to add a 6 mil sheet of plastic between the wall and insulation as an additional moisture barrier because it will last longer than the waterproof paint.

As for mositure in a basement from the exterior, the threat is often exaggerated unless your basement lies under the water table. The water "wants" to go down with gravity, not sideways into your basement. If your wall is pourous, then it will create a path of less resistance from the soil and moisture will seep in. But the slight barrier that you have done will make the water travel through the soil downward with gravity. You need not fortify your wall like a pool.

The foam insulation is for insulation, not water or vapor protection. Indeed, it needs protection from vapor condenscing in it as the temperature changes insides the insulation to cross the dewpoint and potentially condense water inside the foam.

[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited April 11, 2003).]


01:30PM | 05/11/11
Member Since: 01/21/03
3 lifetime posts
Koster waterproofing products are made for your application.
You might check out their website for some waterproofing information as well as products.


12:13AM | 06/06/11
Member Since: 03/24/08
62 lifetime posts
Depending on how big the water problem is, you could add French drain and/or sump pump to make sure the water drains where you want it--away from the house. Here's a good read on

basement waterproofing


12:23AM | 06/21/11
Member Since: 03/24/08
62 lifetime posts
One more thought....make sure you check your exterior grading to ensure it's not funneling water toward the basement. You want the ground to slope away and have water go somewhere in your yard. (Better to have it collecting in a pond or on your patio than in your basement). Also make sure downspouts have extenders and move water away from the foundation.


02:51AM | 10/19/11
Member Since: 07/07/11
8 lifetime posts
When you are looking for the best system to use the basement, it is important to consider several factors and consider them carefully.

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