Basement Drying >> How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor

Building science research supports installing exterior (soil side) foundation insulation as the optimal method to enhance the hygrothermal performance of new homes. With exterior foundation insulation, water management strategies are maximized while insulating the basement space and ensuring a more even temperature at the How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor foundation wall.
 
 Controlling for bulk water, vapor, and wall temperature differential reduces the risk of rot and mold formation to insulation and building materials, How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor thereby improving opportunities for structural integrity, indoor air quality, comfort, and energy efficiency. 

The intent of this study by the NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership team is to search for combinations of existing technologies that could enable a minimally invasive, cost-competitive, easily deployable How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor method of upgrading soil-side foundation insulation in existing buildings.
 
Currently, insulating foundation walls on the exterior side involves exposing the foundation wall using an excavator. Following excavation, these walls can be waterproofed, and are typically insulated with board foam in a process similar to new construction. This process is expensive and highly disruptive to the landscape How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor and the homeowner. 

Also, barriers such as porches and sidewalks prevent trenching. An ideal approach would involve How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor excavating a very narrow trench directly next to the foundation wall. Full-height foundation wall insulation might be desired, so the trenching technology should be able to dig to a depth of 7 or 8 ft. 

Because houses often have hardscape obstructions that are expensive to demolish and remove, the ideal technology would be capable of digging under at least some obstructions that would remain in place. The resulting trench would How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor be filled with a flowable material that has insulating value once cured, and potentially would possess water management characteristics consistent with a waterproofing or damp-proofing material. 

Because this approach has no well-documented precedent, it must be considered speculative. How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor The goal of this work is not to design a complete, deployable new system, but to discover if it is feasible to develop such a system using available techniques and materials. 

This report synthesizes the case for exterior foundation insulation installation as a technique that creates conditions to prevent How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor moisture intrusion into the wall, and to allow moisture in the wall to dry to the interior. It also includes a review of current recommendations for exterior foundation insulation upgrades. 

In addition, two detailed case studies are presented, including detailed cost information. How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor An important cause of the high cost of conventional excavations comes from the tearing out and replacing hardscape features like porches, stoops, decks, and sidewalks. 

This study How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor quantified the type and coverage of such obstructions on four blocks in four residential neighborhoods in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, metropolitan area. Nearly all houses surveyed have exterior concrete walks and stoops. 

On average, about 25% of the perimeter of each house is obstructed, some to the degree that conventional excavation is not feasible. A series of explorations into innovative excavation technologies and potential flowable How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor insulation materials consisted of a preliminary survey of technologies, and interviews with suppliers or contractors for those technologies and materials.
 
A How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor single excavation technology was identified as having the characteristics identified in an ideal approach. Three insulation materials were identified as having potential to serve in this application. Industry representatives supplied preliminary cost data, and these costs were compared with the case study conventional costs.
 
The excavation technology (hydro-vac/air-vac), paired with any of the three insulation materials, appears to offer a very cost-effective solution to exterior foundation insulation upgrades. How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor Of the three materials, pourable polyurethane foam appears to offer the lowest cost and highest R-value. 

In the upper Midwest, where annual frost depths of 3 to 6 feet are not uncommon, basements are common in older housing stock. With foundation walls for homes typically extending 4 feet or more below How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor grade (a structural code requirement to protect the foundation from frost heave); a full basement was and is a matter of practicality.
 
Basements often contain mechanical equipment and plumbing systems, which are at risk if the temperature of the basement falls below freezing. Therefore, whether occupied or not, basement spaces in very How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor cold climates are usually functionally inside the thermal envelope and must remain so to protect the systems inside.
 
 Most basements in homes are heated either directly or indirectly, but insulating basement walls or slabs was not common practice until energy code requirements mandated this practice. How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor Thus, most basements in homes built before 1993 (the time when the first model energy code began to be adopted in the United States) are uninsulated. 

Heat loss through uninsulated basements walls is a significant energy penalty in heating climates (Lstiburek and Yost 2002). How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor As more and more attention is focused nationwide on improving the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock, it becomes imperative that "a home with a basement must have basement insulation to be called "energy efficient”. 

With uninsulated, conditioned basements common in cold climate regions, it follows that millions of homes could potentially benefit from basement insulation retrofit measures.
 
Yet, an affordable, durable, scalable method for insulating basement foundation walls does not currently exist. If How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor such a method could be identified, it would become a valuable part of the integrated approach used in the Building America program’s adoption and implementation strategies aimed at climate-specific solutions that reduce home energy by 30%.
 
Where To Place the Insulation "There are only three ways to insulate a basement wall,” Lstiburek and Yost (2002) stated in a research report: "on the interior, on the exterior, or in the middle.” They further noted How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor that of the three approaches, the most common was to insulate on the interior, and that the reason for this is mainly cost. 

Recent code requirements for increased basement wall insulation levels have coincided with an increased use of ICFs (insulated concrete forms) for building new basements in cold climates. With an ICF, rigid insulation is used as the form for the poured concrete wall, and integral fastening systems on the interior face of the foam allow interior finish materials to be attached How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor to the wall without wood framing. 

Combining form and insulation in a single system has proven to be very cost-effective in new construction. How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor The typical ICF uses EPS (expanded polystyrene) on both the interior and exterior of the wall, and installation guidelines manage water and air issues by requiring a waterproof membrane on the exterior between the EPS and the ground.

As well as vapor permeable paint on gypsum board (for required fire protection) as the interior finish to How To Damp Proof An Interior Basement Floor allow the wall to dry to the inside. Introducing ICF could be called a fourth way to insulate a basement wall, on both the interior and the exterior.

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