09:14AM | 11/07/02
Member Since: 11/05/02
12 lifetime posts
My basement used to be finished but years ago had a frozen pipe disaster that ruined the drywall. I had that all removed when I bought the place 5 years ago, and the demolition crew left all the studs and electrical conduit in place.

So now, I've got a carpenter coming in to insulate and drywall next week. He said it doesn't matter whether my electrical conduit goes behind or in front of the insulation. I think they should run the insulation behind all the wiring and pipes in case I ever need to have the electrical worked on and also to protect the water pipes from freezing. They also told me they don't usually use a vapor barrier between the drywall and the insulation. Is this something I should insist on? I live in Chicago, if that helps. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Jay J

03:41PM | 11/07/02
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi claudine,

Well, lots going on here. If the basement is BELOW grade, usually, a vapor barrier is installed. This is because the 'ground' (below grade) is at a relatively constant 55 degrees, and any warm air coming in contact w/that cool wall, will most likely have moisture in it. Thus, condensation. HOWEVER, if there is a 'space' behind the wall, like say about 3-4", then a vapor barrier may not be necessary AS LONG AS air is allowed to pass 'around' the entire room and there are some 'vents' in the wall that allow air to get back there. (Usually, there are vents at a high spot and a low spot that allows air to 'circulate' behind the wall.)

If you need to protect the pipes from freezing, buy the flexible pipe insulation-tubes from Home Depot or ***** or some place. As for where to put the pipes, let the contractor do what he wants to do. I'll bet he wants to put the piping in the 'middle' and the electrical behind the insulation. NO matter - you can 'slit' the insulation as needed.

You should be worried about someone hanging pictures and such. If the wires or the piping is UP AGAINST the backside of the drywall, guess what might happen??? What you might want to do is take pictures BEFORE the insulation is installed so you know where 'everything' is. Also, consider running Cable TV cables to CTV outlets on EACH wall even if you don't use it. You never know when you, or a future buyer, may rearrange the room. The same goes for phone lines. Be aware - You can't 'mix' certain types of wiring. There's a thing called 'interference' so find out what wires should be run separately from each other (electrical included), and how far 'apart' from each other they should be run.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

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