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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am new to the forum although I have been scouring it for quite some time now. One topic that I have always been learning and reading about is basement insulation.

I am basically looking to see if anyone has had or seen a bad outcome with your standard minimum code insulation (felt paper, studs, pink r12 fibreglass insulation, vapour barrier) . I would like to hear about some experiences where this was done but done properly. Please don't misinterpret me, I know this system is crap and I do not use it but by done properly I mean how you would vapour barrier and insulate upper floors. Tuck taped, acoustic sealed, batts fit snug, etc..

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, and unfortunately our building code and department here is behind the times and no matter what kind of system you employ some inspectors want a vapour barrier anyway despite all the information and evidence stating a vapour barrier is bad. Even with spray foam I have seen and heard inspectors call for a vapour barrier on top of it.

Personally I have only seen one basement that was done with minimum code insulation that had vapour barrier all sealed up and it was fine. It was actually my old house (basement finished before I bought it) and I lived in it for five years with no mold or signs of moisture. It was however a high ranch so much less concrete, it also had an hrv so much better circulation and moisture control.

Anyone have any experiences with this? Thanks for any input.

Don
 

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Hey. My name is steve.

standard minimum code
What's that? Isn't code standard? And so, isn't what's required the "minimum", or it wouldn't pass?

Have you also been reading the schluter/schulter sponsored boards too? :laughing:

I'd just go to your building inspector and argue with him/her as we have no say in what's "minimum code" in your area, nor "maximum code" or any code between. Only the local yes/no govt official can do that.

Don't arm yourself with BS slogans as it all comes down to the local inspector.
 

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If you don't like tar paper, fiberglass and 6 mil poly how do you insulate your basements?

Ontario is an outlier with sprayfoam, any situation where you can't get a continuous layer we have to add 6mil poly on top, therefore if there is a gap behind the studs on a basement wall we don't need it, if there isn't we have to put it up for the inspector (then rip it down :whistling).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have used and been on projects that have done a few different insulation systems in the basement.

Have used spray foam with and without a vapour barrier. Always with a gap between studs and concrete to form a complete seal.

Have put 2" xps foam glued to the concrete taped and foamed at gaps, then batts (roxul) , then vapour barrier, also have done this without vapour barrier (my preferred).

Have done typar, roxul batts, then vapour barrier.

Have never constructed tar paper, fibreglass batts, then vapour barrier. I am basically just looking to learn from anyone's experience building this way and seeing if they had moisture problems. I have heard this system causes moisture problems but I have never personally seen it. Most (or all) of the basements I have demolished have had even worse insulation systems if you can call it that.

Also, minimum code I am referring to the Ontario building code. It's the only one I know so I am sure it is different elsewhere.

I have no idea on any schluter systems for basements but wouldn't mind learning about it if you have some information.

Never argued with an inspector but have talked with many. Most are willing to discuss different building methods . It's how we learn and improve. Building code is exactly that, it is the minimum required to pass but you can go above and beyond. I don't know what you mean by arming myself with bs slogans.
 

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You can insulate it however you want & not have any problems - the problems occur when there is a leak & then the last thing I would want is plastic, fiberglass, etc... there.

The issue isn't with what was used, it was where it was used & the issues that led to failure.

The simple rule is if moisture might be a concern you need to use Closed Cell foam - if you can guarantee that moisture will never be an issue than use whatever you like
 

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If you don't like tar paper, fiberglass and 6 mil poly how do you insulate your basements?

Ontario is an outlier with sprayfoam, any situation where you can't get a continuous layer we have to add 6mil poly on top, therefore if there is a gap behind the studs on a basement wall we don't need it, if there isn't we have to put it up for the inspector (then rip it down :whistling).
Ottawa doesn't seem to recognize spray foam as a type II vapour barrier. Lanark county does and has no problem with it. A friend of mine moved across the border and built the same way he did here in town and had the bldg insp tell him he needed poly, he argued, they said you need poly...period, it was the ONLY vapour barrier they would recognize.
 

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Ottawa doesn't seem to recognize spray foam as a type II vapour barrier. Lanark county does and has no problem with it. A friend of mine moved across the border and built the same way he did here in town and had the bldg insp tell him he needed poly, he argued, they said you need poly...period, it was the ONLY vapour barrier they would recognize.
It really depends on the inspector you get, but I believe the paperwork says you have to have poly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the responses guys. As much as I read about how felt paper, fibreglass, and vapour barrier doesn't work in a basement it seems there are no real stories of contractors taking this out due to mold issues.

I would love to hear from people who have remodelled a basement that is 5, 10, or more years in age with felt paper, fibreglass, and vapour barrier in the walls and let me know what kind of shape it was in. Not a basement that was just for storage either, one that was lived in.

I completely agree with if you can't guarantee no water issues (when can you?) then having plastic and fibreglass is the last thing you want.

Also, it is really rare in Ottawa that an inspector will ever let the insulation and vapour barrier inspection pass without a 6 mil poly vapour barrier, no matter what insulation system is used.

Thanks for the input
 

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extruded polystyrene is a type II vapour barrier, meaning it IS a vapour barrier but just. Some municipalities accept it, others don't. Ottawa doesn't...for them it's case closed no discussion. Other municipalities minutes away with all the same climactic zones etc... are just fine with it. 6mil poly or heavier is the ONLY VB that Ottawa accepts (that I have heard of)
 
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