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  1. #1
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    Default Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    My family and I bought our 1st house this spring and have had major water problems ever since. The water problems have recently been fixed by a reputable contractor and is warrantied for life for a small yearly fee. Now I am focusing on redoing the finished basement. The walls were put together in every wrong way by the previous owner and need to be replaced. When I replace these should I install a plastic vapor barrier between the foundation walls and the studs, if so what? Or will this cause problems trapping potential moisture on the foundation walls and leading to mold? Also should I install any insulation, if so what? Rigid insulation was removed from the outside of the walls during repairs (it was not replaced the foundation was sealed with mason's tar) there was none on the inside. We live in Wisconsin and I would anticipate heat loss in the winter but don't know yet.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    If you plan on using the basement for more than just cold storage (like some place to play pool or watch TV), you should insulate.

    For a warm basement, frame your walls 2" out from the basement wall, do all your wiring, then call in someone who does spray foam insullation. If you have 2" or more sprayed on the cement wall, you benefit as you will not need a vapour barrier. You'll also get a wonderful insulation job on the joists sills.

    For a really warm basement, fill the framed walls over the spray foam with Roxul .. a mineral insullation that does not sag if perchance it ever gets wet.

    Put up your drywall, paint, the do your ceiling. If you need some extra height, check out a product called Ceilinglink.

    Then put up your feet, and watch your tv in your toasty warm dry basement.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    Quote Originally Posted by jloesch View Post
    My family and I bought our 1st house this spring and have had major water problems ever since. The water problems have recently been fixed by a reputable contractor and is warrantied for life for a small yearly fee. Now I am focusing on redoing the finished basement. The walls were put together in every wrong way by the previous owner and need to be replaced. When I replace these should I install a plastic vapor barrier between the foundation walls and the studs, if so what? Or will this cause problems trapping potential moisture on the foundation walls and leading to mold? Also should I install any insulation, if so what? Rigid insulation was removed from the outside of the walls during repairs (it was not replaced the foundation was sealed with mason's tar) there was none on the inside. We live in Wisconsin and I would anticipate heat loss in the winter but don't know yet.
    Forgive me for being blunt ....aside from this one you've made a couple posts on this subject and have received suggestions .... so what is it that you're not getting?



    http://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?p=4749#post4749

    http://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?p=6686#post6686


    This link was provided for you to look at in the first thread ... I recommend you read it again :
    http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...term=minnesota

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    9

    Default Re: Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    Be as blunt as you feel you need to, I assure you it will not hurt my feelings. My issues were as I said in the previous posts. Some replies I have read prior to posting mine were a link to a website. I am sorry I do not have the know how or expertise that some members have. These websites are greek to me and I asked for further explanation, but once again I recieved the link to a website I don't understand. Also because it was recommended that I use a certain insulation and a certain method as a vapor barrier by people I know who I would not call experts. So I reached out again. Your response with 1 other to my last posting was the one I valued most as it explains it to me a little better and gives me a different perspective on the proposed insulation. I say this with pause not to anger the TOH gods, but keep in mind that you are replying to a young guy, who extended his families income to purchase a first home and then ran into 40,000 dollars in foundation repairs. Needless to say I am a little on edge, stressed out and looking for as much advice as possible so I don't screw things up. I am nervous, out of money and scared of screwing things up. So in essence sorry about the several posts, I put them in different areas hoping for maximum response. I guess I was wrong on doing that, I am still learning.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    Be as blunt as you feel you need to, I assure you it will not hurt my feelings
    jloesch,
    I'm glad .... since that wasn't my intention though the reply was blunt.

    When you make posts in numerous places that are referring to the same subject it tends to indicate either impatience or you're ignoring the replies people have offered. In some cases people may ignore you if this takes place.... just continue on with the original place you post. If you require further information or explanations just continue on that thread. There are varying degrees of expertise for recommendations from contractors (current and former) , experienced do-it-yourselfers , novice DYI , etc. that volunteer their time and experiences here.

    On to your issue...

    The links are sometimes provided as reference material to help educate and in this case regarding insulating it can be a lengthy topic to write down every nuance that should be done.

    Since you live in Wisconsin you are in a cold winter zone (relatively speaking ).
    The general rule of thumb for a winter zone is the vapor barrier is always on the warm ( room) side of the insulation.

    The reason is when the moist warm air from the room contacts the cold air inside the wall condensation will occur and moisture is the result. The vapor barrier is just that ... it's a barrier between the warm and cold areas.

    If you put the vapor barrier against the foundation first ....then the studs and insulation.... this will trap moisture. What this does is decrease the performance of the insulation and the worst thing ....will encourage mold.

    There have been mention of materials as an alternate choice to fiberglass bats like the rigid sheets of foam and the more costly spray foam insulation. They have advantages and can provide better performance without the worry of installing a proper vapor barrier.

    One other valuable resource is your municipal building authority since they would provide the information as to what is acceptable in your area. They would probably provide useful advice as to materials and application.


    If you need other answers to your questions please post them and I'm sure someone will try and help.

    Hopefully this helps.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do I need insulation and a vapor barrier in a Wisconsin basement?

    Quote Originally Posted by YukYuk View Post
    You might want to use closed cell foam boards as your combination vapor barrier and insulation then your studs.
    Most common foam sheats like MEPS and XEPS are closed cell.

    Check this link : http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/.../mytopic=11620

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