Nonorganic Materials in Basement after Waterproofing?

mmr1234September 17, 2009

I am in the middle of a basement remodeling. I have damp walls and high humidity after a rain that have caused mold in the past, no actual water leaks. Dehumid drys it out like a bone, but walls still damp after rain due to some exterior issues letting water against foundation. We have done the following to waterproof:

- Exterior work to get water away from foundation (gutters etc). Sealed cracks in driveway/foundation interface etc, grading land away from house better.

- installed french drain with sump pump, vapor barrier that is sealed on the interior walls, and santa fe dehumidifier.

My contractor suggested that I only needed the standard blue board, wood studs, and fiberglass insulation. However, many other people suggest making it as nonorganic as possible through the use of metal studs, rigid foam insulation, and green board.

Upgrading to these materials is an added expense and my contractor stated that he cant use greenboard because plaster doesnt stick to it, but he could get away with green for the bottom foot and blue board the rest of the way.

My question is: If i am going through all of this waterproofing, wouldnt i be OK with the standard blueboard, insulation, and wood studs? Woudln't I be preventing water and moisture and therefore not need to get too carried away with interior materials?

Thanks in advance!

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vapor barrier that is sealed on the interior walls

There's your problem! Get rid of it!

Though I've used them in basements, I would be cautious using metal studding. It's clean and fast and doesn't warp. But it is susceptible to moisture, galvanized or not. I've torn apart renos done a few years before where the bottom plates were already rusted out. Keep the plate off the floor with an inch of XPS under the plates and be sure the walls are either foamed or covered in sufficient foam board (XPS or EPS) to slow moisture movement and keep that dehumidifier on.

Read the publications at Building Science (linked below). There are no higher authorities.

Here is a link that might be useful: Building Science on Basements

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 10:44PM
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My contractor suggested that I only needed the standard blue board, wood studs, and fiberglass insulation.

No fiberglass, unless it's to the interior of foam or foam board. Or, perhaps, you're using Membrain vapour barrier, which is very difficult to find.

Again, see Building Science publications.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 10:49PM
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thanks, helpful!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 11:04AM
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It sounds to me as if you used the wrong approach to eliminate dampness on your walls. Interior water-control systems cannot eliminate dampness of the walls.

You will only accomplish this with actual waterproofing. This requires excavation to the footing. Rpairing cracks, sealing the walls, installing drainage, and backfilling with gravel.

Most interior drain companies claim to be waterproofers, but all they basicly do is control the water once it has entered.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 11:02AM
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