Conflicting advice about insulation for walkout basement

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4rtemis

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Our home has a walkout basement. The entire foundation is block, including the end with the walk out. There are glass block windows on either side of a 48" steel door. The ground slopes down from both the front and back with this walkout at the side. At the front it's almost completely below grade and at the back that corner is about 50% below grade (which then slopes up along the back.) Since there is no insulation on the block it loses a lot of heat in the winter. None of the basement is finished, but this section of the house was built in 1949 and the rest was added in 1969. There is a door from the newer section of the basement to this older section. There is a very noticeable drop in temperature during winter when you go into the older part.

I'm trying to figure out the most cost effective way of insulating that wall. The entire length is about 32'. We do have a serious foundation issue at the front that needs to be fixed but are probably 18 months away from being able to do that. (Cracked foundation in the front older section, water seepage in the front newer section, effluence on the back wall of the newer section. Plan to excavate, repair, replace drains, etc.) I was thinking of getting 3" foam boards but they are expensive and still need to be covered. So if I have to frame and drywall, maybe fiberglass makes more sense. Then I got concerned about moisture even though most of this wall is above grade. Do I need some kind of vapor barrier? If so, what? Should I use 1" foam board, then frame and use fiberglass?

At this point my head is spinning. After the foundation issues are addressed we will hopefully be able to insulate the below grade walls but I'd like to get the walkout done asap to help with heating costs and to make the room above it more comfortable.
 

John Gayewski

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If your excavating then the outside of the wall should be thoroughly waterproofed. From what I gather your not going to excavate the whole perimeter, but that would be the very best way to do it. You could then have it cleaned and sprayed with whatever rubberized compound is being used these days.

On the inside of the walls if they are not waterproofed from the outside I think you need a vapor permeable but water proof coating (the product I'm not sure of) then foam board between the wall and a framed 2x4 wall. In the 2x4 wall you would use fiberglass insulation with a plastic sheath over it. I believe I have bought bats of fiberglass insulation that comes sheathed in thin plastic.
 

4rtemis

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My intention in the long term is to waterproof the outside, below grade foundation walls. What I'm wanting to do right now is to insulate the walkout wall which is probably 70% above grade and nothing more than cinderblock.
 

Fitter30

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First put on a coat or two of DryLoc to seal the block or a product like it. Then do a moisture test with 24" square of plastic duct tape to wall for moisture.
 

Maximus_Slime

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There is a cementitious product called Xypex that is brushed on as a slurry that supposedly can waterproof concrete from the inside, but ideally is applied on the outside.


I have some, but haven't tried it out yet.

And I'm not sure if blocks only liquid moisture or vapor too.
 
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