Basement floor, isolation, contruction

Hi there, I just buy a house and I need some help, the house was constructed in 1986 it's in Quebec, Canada, so we do have pretty cold and warm climate.
My basement is directly on the slab, all the wall in the basement are finish in sheetrock, the lower part of the wall doesn't seen to be insulated but the upper part is, the lower part (I have look by a little hole in the wall) seen to have a really dark paint on it that is on the concrete, I think you call that tar in english? I heard that the bottom of the wall wasn't insulated to let some heat go to the ground around the foundation so that it doesn't froze? Is that the way to go, should I put some isolation where it doesn't have?
My other question is for my floor, since it's on the slab, I want to put a good wood floor on it, I heard about bad odor in basement and bad stuff, everywhere I look they talk about a wood floor of 2 x 4 with plywood and then the floor, as any of you have try other solution that will not make odor because of wood being atacked by water ...
Have you try this solution? http://www.cosella-doerken.com/deltafl/index.html
It's a plastic with some space in it so that air can circulate so it can fight again water, what do you think of that? Anybody did use this system?
Thank you for your answer.
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Usually they only insulate to the point just below where the soil is likely to freeze. Below that level, the soil never freezes, so they don't insulate. However, the soil is still cold, so it makes sense to insulate.
I'd recommend insulating all the way to the floor. It won't make a big difference in energy savings, but it will be warmer inside.

I haven't used it myself, but I've seen it used and it's highly recommended. There are several companies that make such a waterproof underfloor membrane now and I'd use it. A friend just bought a new house and I'm recommending she use this sort of thing, along with a bit of EPS insulation, to create a warm, dry basement floor.
Mike
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Thanks a lot Michael. SO I guest the they don't isolate until floor is more for a saving from the constructor then a technical thing.
EPS insulation how they will use it with the menbrane, I look and you seen to put plywood directly on top of the membrane.
Michael Daly wrote:

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One of the other vendors of this dimpled membrane subfloor material suggests using the following sequence from the concrete up:
concrete/membrane/EPS/PlywoodSubfloor/flooring
The EPS is only one or two inches thick.
I can't find that web site now, but it's a competitor to deltafl.
Mike
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another strategy I've heard of is to insulate along the surface of the ground outside the perimeter of the house. The cold theoretically has to travel diagonally from the edge (well and through the insualtion itself) to get that deep, and it helps the ground around the house stay warmer. (I think this method is used more to preven frost heave on more shallow footers, but it would help to keep the basement warmer as well)
As far as the musty basment is concerned, you can run a dehumidifier 24/7 if you have moisture problems... but that get to be costly. One method i've heard to use to determine possible moisture problems is to duct tape plastic to the walls/floors and see if it develops condensation on it. I think the best recommendation is:"if you are not sure, get a professional.".
--
be safe.
flip
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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The question begins with whether you actually *need* to create a sub-floor because of existing or potential water leakage/seepage in your basement. That might be a tarry/rubber membrane on your foundation wall indicating there has/had been some seepage issues in the past, or someone might've just liked dark colored paint. Dunno. That's a good thing to find out, so you should.
The other thing about using 2x4s for a subfloor is that you'll lose at least 4 inches of head room. Here in the US in old/er houses, the ceilings are very low with only about 6-7 feet of room between floor and ceiling joists. Subtract just shy of 1 foot from that and you end up with tall guests banging their heads on stuff. And no matter *what* kind of treated wood you use, it'll rot and mold eventually. Might take 20 years to happen, but it will happen.
We just rehabbed our seepy basement using DriCore panels (http://www.dricore.com ) -- and they're made in Canada. Here in the US they're sold at Menard's stores. They're 2'x2' tongue and groove chipboard panels only about 3/4" thick with pastic dimples on the bottom that raise the subfloor up off the slab slightly, which saves pretty much all your existing head space. Any seepage you get only comes in contact with the plastic dimples, so not rot forever. Plus it makes the floor about 5 degrees warmer, and your good wood flooring goes right over it. We're really happy with them and solved a lot of challenges to making our basement an actual living space.
If you do get these, make sure you can get the DriCore levelers should you run into a low spot or two on the slab. The come 24 to a box and fit right over the little dimples on the bottom of the panels.
AJS
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Thanks a lot for your answer I have look around and find it to be a great product (http://www.dricore.com ), the product as a warranty of 25 years which is more then an other equivalent product (http://www.subflor.com /) which use the delta-fl procudt but has only a 15 years warranty.
I also did find a site where they did they installation of the dricore product: http://www.markrushton.com/house/dricore.htm
It will surely the product I will use.
AJScott wrote:

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Warranty issues aside, the only reason I like the continuous membrane more than the dricore is the fact that it's continuous. With the dricore, you have a tiny gap every two feet.
The dricore will be easier to install, since it's like laying tile. However, adding insulation is trickier.
If you use a carpet with generous, good quality underpadding, you'll get some insulation.
Mike
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It's probably best to find out whether you have a moisture problem to begin with.
One way is to tape down a 2' square sheet of heavy clear plastic down on the concrete (tape all edges down), and see if you get condensation under it over the next couple of days or weeks.

That's what we did, and the heavy underpadding made a huge difference.
Only if you have a real moisture problem do you need to consider a flooring membrane of some kind.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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On 12-Feb-2004, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

If it's new construction, you may have to wait awhile to find out. Putting a membrane down is insurance against later problems. I'm not talking about major floods, of course, but minor leakage. Major leaks will need to be addressed regardless.
All concrete will allow some moisture to pass through. Using a dimpled membrane ensures that this moisture has some possibility of moving and provides a bit of breathability to allow it to come into balance with the inside air and dry out. Just putting a moisture barrier in contact doesn't allow this.
Putting wood in direct contact with bare concrete floors is a bad idea. I'm not sure about the code on this but common practice it to put a barrier between the wood and the concrete. I think that the dimpled membrane is much better than just a plastic membrane as I see commonly used. With the dimpled membrane you can construct non-load bearing partitions over the subfloor and have a continuous air/moisture flow underneath.
It may not be the cheapest option, but it looks to me like the route to quality construction.
Mike
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In article

Excellent point. Rubber membrane -- or any other manner of sealing -- is always good insurance when making basement living spaces because, well, how many people do we see here every month with slab crack problems?
Also, Mike brings up another great point about the need for putting air space betwen the slab and subfloor, should future moisture problems do come up. Membranes fail, hydro cement doesn't work forever, etc. etc. Not only does seep water need to be able to actually *move* somewhere to go away (usually a floor drain), but air flow is also needed to hasten evaporation of any standing moisture.
AJS
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Yes and that's the way I will go, now I look around the product and as I said they are two main product for this:
http://www.subflor.com / and http://www.dricore.com /
for now the big difference is the warranty, 15 years for subflor and 25 for dricore (I found somewhere on dricore site that the warranty was 10 years they change it to 25 years after some more test, that's what they say to me after an email). Well dricore can support more stuff on it too, better resistance to weight, no problem for a pool table.
I also fund that subflor will have a new product that they will call subflor advance, no information yet, well the REP is suppose to send me some information on it, the website should be updated in a couple of days he said. I will tell you more when I will have more information.
Thanks all for your good answer.
AJScott wrote:

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In article

Not so, Mike -- at least not where those "gaps" make an actual difference. The tongue on each DriCore panel extends out 3/8" into a 3/8" groove, making it a unified, solid-panel subfloor. Likewise, the tongues themselves are 3/16" thick -- quite solid, IMO. The tiny little gaps (and they're not even gaps; more like miniscule joining lines) between each panel are the cut-back parts of the panel behind and over the tongues, and they make no difference for anything.
Carpet with underpadding? Nice insulator, but sucks up seepage like a sponge and grows mold when wet like the dickens.
AJS
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I meant gaps in the plastic layer on the bottom. Since there is no way to seal the plastic bits, in a worst case scenario, standing water could seep up through the teensy gap and wet the ply part of the panel and damage the wood bits.
With the continuous dimpled membrane, there are no gaps in the plastic over the length and, when installed, you overlap the width and seal with a caulk. You can do this easily, since the membrane is not attached to the subfloor prior to installation like the dricore is.
This may be a minor issue.

But I meant - over the dricore or other membrane - should be dry in that case.
Mike
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Aye, this is true, Mike. There is a tiny border on the underside not covered by the plastic. And there's just under a half-inch of space allowed by those underside dimples, so DriCore panels are good for people with relatively manageable and minor seasonal seepage that heads straight for the floor drains (but should be attacked with a sealant of some sort anyway), not continually awful unchecked seepage or flooding. Great insulating subfloor, tho.

In that case, you'd be correct as well.
AJS
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I live in a 55 year old concrete block cape cod in Ottawa, Canada. Same weather as Francis for sure, I recently finished the lower level. The old concrete floor was dry enough but unlevel in some places place. I wanted to save on headroom, and I like the idea that the dimpled flooring would provide an insulation layer. Also that any minor moisture problems under the floor would possibly evaporate or make its way to a drain. I used the Delta Floor dimpled product, then 3/4 inch OSB, a fibre matt and then a IKEA birch laminate, the glued variety, which I got very cheap. I also installed a small gas fireplace and large capacity Humidex machine, which uses a low currrent fan to push damp moist air out of the basement. The lower level (we don't call it a basement any more !) worked out great, no musty odours, floor is warm. Its like upstairs space.
I have seen the drilock squares and the only advantage, it seems to me, would be that they might be a bit easier to install. They cost twice as much. I dont think that I would worry about the differences in warranty - its inert.
I agree with those who stated that the first issue is to ensure that you do not have moisture issues. If you do, none of this is going to fix them.
Bonne chance Francis!

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I will like to know what is your large capacity Humidex machine does it push air under the membrane? I was thinking that the best system will be to find a way to push air under the membrane this way some air will circulate and help to fight against the nasty odor. It will be an even better system.
I didn't did the plastic strip on conrecte to see if I get to much water in, but it did smell bad in one room in the basement, the people who were living put some carpet directly on the concrete, this place was not well ventilate and not well heated (since this thermostat was in an other room !!!!???) we removed the carpet and keep the door open so no problem anymore.
Jveedub wrote:

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Really, fans aren't necessary to provide adequate ventilation beneath raised subfloors. For basements (especially below-ground ones) with no or very minor/slightly insignificant seepage problems that have somewhere for the water to adequately drain off so it doesn't stand still and stagnate and come into regular contact with uncoated building materials, the air beneath the floor will move naturally enough to keep nature in relatively proper balance. May not seem like it would without the need for a fan to go pushing the air around for a lot of us regular home-owning folk, but it does.
The fact that you're smelling strong musty odor tells me that you have some rather sizeable issues that need to be dealt with before putting down a membrane because, well, simply sticking a fan beneath a membrane won't solve the problem because that odor has to go *somewhere* if you're not going to be eliminating the actual source that causes or helps carry that odor. In other words, that odor has to go *somewhere*, and simply blowing it around with a fan just means you're going to be doing nothing but moving it around. You'll still be smelling it. And if you have noticeable odor, you have a noticeable moisture problem -- and you'll still have the same problem even after you spend a whole boatload of money to refinish the basement. Which will mean you'll certainly end up having to rip out everything you've just put up sooner or later.
A dehumidifier *might* help, but it's nowhere near a proper solution. Especially if you try using one of those dinky room dehumidifiers, which is what a lot of cheap-ass people tend to do and think it'll do anything notable.
Your musty smell could, in fact, be caused by mold somewhere -- especially if you're getting a good whiff of it during the winter, when the air's really dry. A musty house is a sick house in some form or fashion. If you've got drywall, wood studs, or -- egad -- wood paneling on your walls, betcha dollars to donuts that it (and chances are your foundation walls, if they've been painted -- and if I recall right, yours have been) has mold growing on it from being continually moist from seepage. That was the case with our basement, and I was totally ASTOUNDED by how much mold was covering everything once we ripped down every square inch of studding and drywall put up by the former owners. For 6 years after we moved into this house, my wife (who's slightly asthmatic) couldn't figure out why in daylights she was wheezing so much, waking up with headaches, coughing, etc. Our basement didn't have a major musty smell, but it start surfacing somewhat during the humid dead-summer months. Since the IRS was very good to us last tax year, I insisted on using the cash to totally re-do the basement and swear to God, I was totally floored by the mold farm that was going on behind the walls. The whole project took 3 months and a few thousand dollars to complete, including waterproofing masures, but the results from tearing out every stud and every single hunk of drywall and scrubbing the foundation walls (I used an almost 100% bleach solution on the walls, it was that bad) was noticed virtually immediately by my wife who pretty much paid no mind to what I was doing in demolishing the basement. Within 2-3 days the wheezing, headaches, and coughing disappeared completely.
You've got water-related problems somewhere in or adjoining that room, amigo, and you really need to solve those problems and get rid of anything affected by it (moist studding/drywall/paneling, etc.) before you go doing anything else to turn that level into something people are going to be using all the time.
AJS
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(snip)

One other thing, Francis: Contrary to what you might think, removing the bad carpeting and keeping the door open does not make for "no problem anymore." You've merely addressed a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself. What you've dne is the same as people with bad back problems who do nothing but "solve" the problem of their bad backs, knees, or bad whatevers, by popping pain pills for years instead of just having an operation on their back. Their bad whatevers just continue to get worse, and pretty soon the pills don't work anymore -- or worse, they also end up with a bad addition to pain pills to go along with their bad whatever.
Something made that carpet continually wet in the first place. You need to find out what it was, where it's coming from, and have it fixed before you do anything else.
AJS
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Good point AJS, if it was smelling bad that's for a reason, I do see juste a little mold on the bottom of the wall, it doesn't smell anything now since we removed the carpet and like I said proper eating is kicking in now, I do know that we have some crack in the basement and a expert came to evaluate how much it will cost, well the old proprietary did say that no water get in when the expert was there and the crack are really little (and we will make theme repair), I will demolish part of this wall for sure when the weather will be a little more hot to see whats is behind it. Do the crack go side by side and do we have moist on back of the wall, I do have an air exchanger in that room who get cold air in and does drop a little bite of water in a can, maybe that was the cause, I don't know will have to see. We have the house for 2 month no smell since the bad carpet was removed, but it is really dry, around 30 -35 % of humidity. I wonder how it look in summer ...
Thanks a lot again to all.
AJScott wrote:

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