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Basement Finishing and Renovations Has it been 2 years already? Time to work on finishing the basement into some extra living space.


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Old 2014-03-29, 07:23 PM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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Default Basement - Condensation or Leak?

I've been in my house for just about three years now. I won't go into the details of the insulation problems in our basement, but suffice it to say, the builders "blanket insulation" doesn't mix well with new concrete. Moisture problems galore.

Initially we thought there was a leak or something major, but after tearing out 80% of the blanket insulation two years ago (where it's below grade) and keeping an eye on things ever since, I can say that there are no leaks.

I'm now in the process of framing my basement, so earlier tonight I started taking the top row of insulation off. I then decided to check a few "rim joist" areas and a couple of mine appear to have a water problem (see pics).

In this area of my house there are no vents or anything cut in the siding, it's fully sealed and it's along the side of my house. The only possibility I can see for a leak is that there's a narrow window (maybe 16" wide") in the vicinity of the area, although I'm not buying this theory because I'd expect to see more water and not just along the plate.

The area in question DID have the insulation below it hanging loose all winter, so air tight it was not. Also, those rim joist areas were not sealed very well at all with insulation or vapour barrier. I'm wondering if maybe it was condensation? Warm air in my basement meeting the cold plate causing condensation....I don't know. My only other thought is a leak between the siding and the poured foundation but the builder's wrap would take care of that, no?

Anyway, my plan is to leave it uncovered and see if it dries out. If it does and we get a few rain storms without any moisture then I'll chalk it up to condensation. If it leaks like mad then I guess I have some work to do.

I just wondered if any of you have experienced anything similar or if you had any other ideas?

I spot checked a few other areas around my basement - all fine.
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Old 2014-03-29, 11:02 PM
5fourty 5fourty is offline
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You appear to be getting condensation on the inside of the rim joist. The pockets (voids between the joists along the exterior wall) should be insulated with fiberglass insulation such as the exterior studs and should also have a vapour barrier on them. Your picture doesn't show insulation or poly? Have you removed them?

Your probably checking for condensation and by removing the insulation which is actually aggravating the situation by allowing condensation to form on the rim joist with the difference of temperature (inside vs outside).

Take a photo of the exterior cladding in the same area as the interior pic.
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Old 2014-03-30, 08:14 AM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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The rim joist was insulated - it wasn't until I started working in the basement that I took the insulation out to have a look and see in a few areas that I noticed the water.

I do have a small update. I left the insulation off for the night and when I went to check on it this morning it's almost dry.

My current working theory is that it's condensation and that once I finish the framing and spray foam, the problem will be solved. Until then, I'll keep an eye on that area during and after rain storms to rule out the leak theory.
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Old 2014-03-30, 10:05 AM
waikiki waikiki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrudge View Post
The rim joist was insulated - it wasn't until I started working in the basement that I took the insulation out to have a look and see in a few areas that I noticed the water.

I do have a small update. I left the insulation off for the night and when I went to check on it this morning it's almost dry.

My current working theory is that it's condensation and that once I finish the framing and spray foam, the problem will be solved. Until then, I'll keep an eye on that area during and after rain storms to rule out the leak theory.
The only way to tell if you have a leak is to do a water test around the areas. After all the water issues that we had in the basement there's no way I would finish it without doing a water test all around where we have not checked. If you rely on the rain to tell you if there's a leak it will not be conclusive in my opinion and what we experienced the first 2 years in our place. Sometimes the wind/rain hits in different places and an area might appear to be ok until you do the water test.
You need to start at the bottom and work your way up slowly. It will take you a few days to check the area completely.

The bottom area (platon and drainage around your house foundation) is checked first. Run a water hose on low setting without a sprayer around the foundation. This simulates snow melting. The test is around 10-20 min. Turn the hose off and check. Waiting a bit longer after you checked is a good idea for slow leaks.

After the bottom area is checked, put the sprayer on the hose- Shower setting and start spraying a section while standing 6' from the wall. Spray for 10 min, stop and check. If you have a leak I was told by the Tarion inspector that it will show usually in 10 min. In our case he was right on. Once you confirmed that the area is ok, gradually move your hose up, spray another 10 min and check.
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Old 2014-03-30, 12:24 PM
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good2know good2know is offline
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That looks like melted frost and or condensation to me sealing the air leakes from outside and vb leaks from inside will fix it all up

Let it dry two or three weeks before foaming
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