There’s a lot of talk circulating around forums and interest boards about basement waterproofing. A standard question comes up about this topic about Vapor Barriers: Do I need one and how do I install it?
Traditional techniques dictate that the location of the Vapor Barrier should be placed outside of the studs, covering both the studs and the insulation. The drywall is then installed on top of the Barrier. It’s the right idea in the wrong order.
That style of technique is wrong because it allows any of the moisture that’s trapped from the barrier to sit behind it. If it’s coming in contact with regular fiberglass insulation you’re then adding that moisture to the fiberglass which can propagate mold and mildew. The second problem is that the barrier isn’t connected to a draining system. The water has no where to go. Typically the barrier sometimes doesn’t even reach the floor and won’t stop water from coming into the active living space. It allows the water to find the drywall and wick up the back of it to cause more damage.
A very simple solution can solve all this issue.
Place the vapor barrier ON the concrete wall, run it to a drainage system that can handle the water/moisture that the barrier traps. Install BasementShield 1″-2″ away from the barrier and you’ll be completely protected and insulated properly from any style of moisture/vapor/water that could seep/leak/wick through the concrete walls and infect your areas.
So: YES, you need a vapor barrier to keep moisture/V.O.C.s/radon/water out of your living space. You install it directly on the concrete. You then need a drainage system to actually help remove the water from behind the barrier. Next you need to install non-organic construction like BasementShield 1-2″ from the barrier in order to remove food for mold and mildew to feed on. The barrier is for your health, to protect from water damage, to restrict the effect of radon and other V.O.C.s from affecting your air quality, and to protect the rest of the investment in the basement finishing that you’ve put your equity into.
Most, if not all, 4mil vapor barriers are not fire rated.
The Vapor Barriers that are used by Pioneer Basement are all 6mil plus in thickness. The most important thing is that Pioneer only uses Class A Fire Retardant barriers. That means that the barrier won’t ignite in contact with fire, but will melt and smolder itself out. We then added anti-microbial to the barrier to greater enhance the effect it has on eliminating mold and mildew from growing as well as the creeping of Iron Bacteria up the vapor barrier