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Fibreglass insulation on the outside of a foundation???

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Posted by: from Newmarket
11/30/2011 at 8:43:46 PM

I'm not sure if this would be better to ask in the Contractor Talk section but here goes:

I was at a customer's today to do some external painting. He mentioned that his basement is leaking and asked me to look at it. When I examined the outside, I noticed a crack and dug a bit of the dirt away from the foundation to get a better look. While I was digging (only about an inch or three), I noticed that there is fibreglass insulation against the outside of the foundation. I have seen rigid foam insulation on the outside but never fibreglass. The owner said he bought the house new 8 years ago and has done nothing so assumes the builder did this. Has anyone ever heard of fibreglass on the outside of the foundation below grade?

I am in the Toronto area.

REPLIES (2)
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Kevin from Urban Improvements in Orono
Date/Time11/30/2011 at 9:09:53 PM

I've definitely never seen fiberglass insulation since I've been a contractor

As far as I know it must be a 2" rigid foam that is designed to be below grade. Fiberglass will simply rot!!

Rigid foam is also a water barrier along as a thermal barrier so I just don't understand what your homeowner has below grade.

Definitely worth checking out for their sake.

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Date/Time11/30/2011 at 10:21:05 PM

Hi Brett,

The fiberglass is compressed and treated to resist water. It is probably about 1 - 1.5" thick and is used as a drainage board over the water proofing. It serves the same purpose as the dimpled plastic products but has an actual insulation value. This is one of the products available.

http://tuffndri.com/Canada/products/tuffndri_canada.asp

If the owner hasn't done anything since moving in, I would guess some settling has occurred around his foundation and changed the grading so the water is running towards the house instead of away. You could also suggest downspout extensions to get the rainwater at least 6 ft. away from the foundation.

I have seen homeowners put in raised beds around the foundation and just pile dirt up against the house wall. This will hold water and it will eventually work its way into the house through the brick and concrete. It is also probably slowly cracking apart their foundation / bricks / mortar as it goes through freeze / thaw cycles.

The more water you can get rid of on the surface, the less chance it has of leaking into the basement.

Good Luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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