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Water Barrier

Posted by PatM on August 7th, 2000 07:46 PM
In reply to water barrier by Harold Kestenholz - Hydronic Network on August 2nd, 2000 02:26 PM [Go to top of thread]

Firstly, as an innocent bystander, I have to say some of the things Harold said here don't add up: a) When it's minus 20 outside, the interior wall of the basement is NOT nearly as cold as the exterior at any point, not even at the top, science makes this so by fact and not by my opinion or anyone elses; b) The temperature gradient at the surface along the 9 feet or so of basement wall from floor to ceiling is not nearly as important as the temperature gradient between the room and the concrete wall - it might be a consideration if insulation wasn't present and there was a significant air space in the gap between the drywall and concrete, but otherwise, get real! - it pails in comparison to adsorption, absorption and convection along the 4 inch path between the drywall and concrete; c) Overwhelmingly conventional practice amongst the very best builders in Canada's harshest, seasonally-varied climate suggests that plastic vapor-barriers stop condensation-related moisture problems in the basement more than not (foundation leaks and poor vapor-barrier installs being the notable exceptions).

If the house is in a highly temperate, southern climate, well then I defer to everyone else and his dog too, but otherwise ....

Since I am definitely not an expert, I do have a question of my own: If the basement smells must in an old home and there is no obvious source, what is the likelihood that the problem is related to inadequate vapor-barriers+insulations versus poor ventilation versus ??? We're thinking of buying just such a home and would appreciate knowing what the odds are of having to spend little money versus lots of money. Naturally, we'll enlist an inspector if it gets to that, but up front .... Any thoughts?

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