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Old 10-17-2009, 06:06 AM
 
113 posts, read 565,940 times
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I have been doing an almost shameful amount of reading on basement insulation, as I plan on finishing our basement soon. I want to know if anybody here has any experience in this state specifically in this matter.

Basically, most people's basements (in the past and even new ones now) have loose fiberglass batts up against the foundation wall, then covered in a vapor barrier. Stud wall is either in front of this or the insulation is built into the stud wall. Literally everything I have been reading, particularly from building science.com, finehomebuilding, even department of energy, says that this approach is bad, encourages rot, etc.

So my plans are to use rigid foam insulation directly against the foundation sealed with adhesive, then my stud wall and I may or may not fill the stud wall with unfaced batt insulation. My concern is, before I talk to my building inspector about this, is this to code in the state? Something I'm reading now says that, for example in Minnesota, code requires a vapor barrier on both sides of the insulation. This rule is apparently not based on an proof of efficacy and is an injurious approach.

Anyone here have any input on NY specific rules? I don't have the NY state building code as it is literally hundreds of pages long and I cannot seem to google its contents...
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
1,283 posts, read 2,657,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWilliams View Post
I have been doing an almost shameful amount of reading on basement insulation, as I plan on finishing our basement soon. I want to know if anybody here has any experience in this state specifically in this matter.

Basically, most people's basements (in the past and even new ones now) have loose fiberglass batts up against the foundation wall, then covered in a vapor barrier. Stud wall is either in front of this or the insulation is built into the stud wall. Literally everything I have been reading, particularly from building science.com, finehomebuilding, even department of energy, says that this approach is bad, encourages rot, etc.

So my plans are to use rigid foam insulation directly against the foundation sealed with adhesive, then my stud wall and I may or may not fill the stud wall with unfaced batt insulation. My concern is, before I talk to my building inspector about this, is this to code in the state? Something I'm reading now says that, for example in Minnesota, code requires a vapor barrier on both sides of the insulation. This rule is apparently not based on an proof of efficacy and is an injurious approach.

Anyone here have any input on NY specific rules? I don't have the NY state building code as it is literally hundreds of pages long and I cannot seem to google its contents...
Great question. In a place like Rochester, or, for that matter, most of Upstate, you have to take the climate, moisture issues, etc., into consideration when doing work in a basement/finishing one.

What I did in 4 different basements (two friends', my mother's, and our house), was to waterproof the basement, first, then move ahead and do semi and full finishing. I was fortunate in that all 4 basements had "floating" floors, in that they were post-war and modern homes and had a slab, with a gap between the slab and the foundation, and had channels underneath the slab which lead to a sump pump cistern.

This is the ideal situation.

After waterproofing, I put sheet plastic against the foundation. Any "weep" through the drylock paint I used would be minimal, since I'd waterproofed by drilling 1/2" holes through the bottom blocks of the foundation (3 holes per block, one per cavity) to allow any moisture which "builds up" to weep out those bottom holes, all the way around the basement, in two cases, and 1/2 way around in two other cases since they had moisture issues only 1/2 around the foundation. The water comes through the holes, then goes under the slab. This is what the contractors in that area do, and it's expensive. In all 4 instances I was able to waterproof for under $350 (including drill rental), what would normally cost $6,000 on a contract. For example, my mom's basement was the worst of the 4, moisture-wise, and when I drilled the holes 1st week of July, 2002, water came out of about 6 or so of the blocks.

That was a normal summer, for Rochester. What happens is the water builds up inside the foundation, but has nowhere to go but:

A) Evaporate, and/or

B) Come through the foundation. During the Spring I would imagine some folks in that area have water 1/2 up their foundations, or worse. In mom's case, water would build up then COME OVER THE TOP of the foundation, in the worst years (about every 4 or 5 years). Consideration of outside landscaping come into play, here, too.

Drylock paint would have done its job, in her case, but eventually the root cause of the issue would have reared its ugly head, again, and moisture would have come right through the drylock paint.

I also used that drylock floor paint, to prevent moisture from coming through the slab, and thus protect anything put on top of the slab (I'd recommend plastic here, too).

After putting up the sheet plastic, I'd then frame with 2x4's, THEN would start cutting my drywall. I'd cut the drywall, then put another sheet of plastic on the back side of the drywall using small staples. I'd attach the insulation (R-25 or similar), using a high-grade cement to the plastic on the back side of the drywall, noting where the studs are, then would mount the drywall per code. The R-25 insulation, plus careful placement of plastic sheeting, made sure there was some circulation behind the walls, which helps in Spring or after heavy rainfalls in more damp areas (like flood plains, and there are some around Rochester, especially north of 104).

Keep in mind the chains carry water-resistant drywall, too. FYI.

All 4 basements have been inspected by NYS certified Energy Star (or whomever they are), folks, and they passed with flying colors. I'd recommend using foam pipe insulators, R-25 or better batts between the joists, and insluation around HVAC stuff (ducting, etc., which you can find at the chains), too. Between the joists you could probably get away with R-30 or better, even.

Hope this helps.


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Old 01-03-2010, 12:12 PM
 
113 posts, read 565,940 times
Reputation: 105
Thanks, Howard.

Have you heard much in our area, or any, about floating walls? These are walls that can float an inch or so in relation to the upper levels. They are attached generally with L-shaped clips, this way if the slab moves independent of the rest of the house the walls will not inadvertently become load-bearing and cause issues above (like effectively pushing the house up from the foundation walls)?
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:07 PM
 
113 posts, read 565,940 times
Reputation: 105
I read more about these walls, seems irrelevant to our area. A couple of town inspectors do not require it or have any interest in it. It is relevant in parts of Colorado at least but mostly not worth worrying about.
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