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Old 02-25-2011, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Townsend, Massachusetts
298 posts, read 900,350 times
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I have a very dry basement. Never had any water issues in 15 years. I am planning on finishing half of my basement. Maybe a family room and a "workout room". I live in Massachusetts. I do not plan to "add" any heat to the area. Just what is already available from the existing ductwork. Not really concerned about winter use of the space other than the workout room. Is it necessary to add vapor barrier prior to drywall. There is currently paneling on the stud walls with no insulation and no vapor barrier. Have not had any moisture/mold issues as yet. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
1,413 posts, read 4,285,971 times
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I do not think it would be "required" per se, but I would probably add it. It is relatively inexpensive and not to hard to put in.

I am not a pro so my words are just based off of my own experience.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:59 AM
QIS
 
920 posts, read 4,851,740 times
Reputation: 576
Don't add it! Don't start messing with your blessing!
Adding insulation and drywall will keep the heat in for you. Taping drywall joints and painting creates more of a barrier than the paneling(but not much). Think about it: if you have moisture, and you create a barrier, what are you going to do with the water the barrier collects? You say all is OK, so wrapping the assembly in plastic may be counter-intuitive.
You can add some small round vents like they use for ventilating siding at some areas (stagger top and bottom of walls); that will keep the stud bays "breathing", that can give you some peace of mind, and you will still retain your insulation value. You can always fill the holes if you decide they are really superfluous.
Maintaining the exterior details to prevent water intrusion will always be a great idea! Sounds like a neat project. Please let us know what you end up with!
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:56 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,625,324 times
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Default FOLKS -- completely missing what vapor barriers are for!!!

Insulation is designed to great a zone of ISOLATION between WARM and COOL. The interface where the two meet is subjectt to CONDENSATION because cooler air has less capacity to hold moisture than warmer air. This why windows often have drops of moisture on them in the winter. In the case of the windows that moisture generally goes away as the sun warms up the glass, maybe it "pools"a bit and the dust collects into a dirty spot, but air and light circulate and nothing bad happens.

Inside and insulated wall there is neither light nor air circulation but moisture ABSOLUTELY will condense at the interface. If that moistre SOAKS INTO THE INSULATION you will have IDEAL CONDTIONS FOR MOLD GROWTH!!!!

The vapor barrier is designed to KEEP THE MOISTURE from soaking into the insulation.

DRYWALL IS NOT A BARRIER TO MOISTURE!!!

Frankly paneling breather EVEN better and that probably why the OP has no issues currently.

If the basement or ANY AREA WHERE THERE IS TEMPERATURE INTERFACE is finished with drywall you MUST INSULATE and use a VAPOR BARRIER.


To add info, that the OP probably does not need, but is relevant to comments from others, in basements that are NOT very dry, especially with older style foundations that may have minor issues with moisture migrating through, it is IMPERATIVE that the foundation have a coating applied so that moisture does NOT enter into the insulation from the "cold" side as LIQUID. Remember, VAPOR is invisible water in the air and vapor barriers can handle that. LIQUID water must be SEALED OUT. If the water infiltration is so severe you MUST solve that before thinking about finishing basement. If the coating is not enough there are moisture containmment / routing methods that involve either membrance or panels to direct the "seepage" into a sump. When properly sealed or designed in a way to exhaust vapor and monitored these too are excellent methods of making sure that there is no way for mold to grow...

If you are informed of how these things work do not attempt to DIY!!!
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:04 AM
Status: ""A word to the wise is infuriating"- HSThompson" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
16,254 posts, read 60,320,486 times
Reputation: 20896
There's a big difference between water issues and moisture.
Without going into great detail- yes, a vapor barrier is very necessary.
I have an abundance of info (pdf's) but, C-D won't allow the capacity. So, I'm always having to go back and find a link. Anyway, here's the link you need to read:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/building_america/pdfs/db/35017.pdf (broken link)

To summarize in a word(s)- rigid foam board!
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Lynbrook
517 posts, read 2,409,479 times
Reputation: 326
We're also planning on putting insulation in our basement and switching from paneling to dry wall. If you use rigid foam board do you put vapor barrier over that or behind it? Or does the rigid board act as insulation and vapor barrier? If you're using a separate vapor barrier film, what thickness is usually used?

Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:55 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,625,324 times
Reputation: 18656
Default Rigid foam is "moisture proof"...

...the rule is a vapor barrier goes TOWARD the heated side of the space.
The "standard" is to have the vapor barrier cover the entire wall with the insulation and the furring strips. A thickness of 6mil is generally about right, thinner and it tears / won't hold staples, thicker and it is hard deal with as well more money (which shows overspending is not smart....).
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