Update on my basement finishing project and 2 new little questions

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Posted by: from Ottawa
10/19/2012 at 2:20:11 PM

Well, I had posted this and appreciated the responses so i thought I would update and ask a couple follow up questions.

After speaking with my helpful contractor who suggested not widening my basement windows (because the cost of doing so would be 3X that of just increasing the height of the windows and because replacing the lintel risks cracking my exterior stucco) I hired him to resize (vertically only) them and replace them. Too much effort to do alone & myself - and time is of the essense for me on this one.

I also dug out the sprayfoam quote I got for my +/- 900 sq ft basement exterior walls which was $2300. I did some math and figure that insulating with pink rigid board + batting would cost me $1500 (installing myself) or same at $1700 using Roxal. To me the sprayfoam looks like good value (and less labour by me :)). Does my assessment sound right?

When I got the quote, I didnt know the difference between closed and open cell sprayfoam so I didn't ask. I will ask now though. I thought originally that I definitely did not need a vapour barrier after sprayfoam, but since then I read/heard that maybe I do. I get different answers depending who I talk to and searching online doesn't really help because it seems to depend on the climate of where you are (Ottawa for me). I understand that I don't need vapour barrier with closed cell, but what about open cell: some said that would CAUSE a moisture problem and others said I need it. What's right??

My other question is about the screened drain in the middle of my basement floor: I want to put a bamboo or laminate floor down but rather than just cover the drain I would like to be able to access it (without busting up the floor) if needed. Any suggestions? I figure there must be a good way to do this.



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Date/Time10/25/2012 at 5:15:07 PM

Hi Andy,

1. Spray foam all the way. Especially at that minor of a cost difference. We use it on every project. It is the "bees knees" for basement walls but only the closed cell IMHO. 2" or thicker and you do not need a vapor barrier as it creates a complete thermal break. Keep in mind though, as it is a relatively new product that has gained popularity in residential applications, the building code is a little vague on it. Check with your local PPD. In Winnipeg, they allow it at 2" or thicker without a VB. Out of hundreds of applications, we have never had a call back. I am not a fan of open cell, but if you choose to use it you do need a vapor barrier as it is permeable.

2. Floor drain- you need an access to it. Without seeing it I can't give a great suggestion. I would highly suggest a good sub floor system though.

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Andy in Ottawa
Date/Time10/29/2012 at 4:17:13 PM

Thanks. I think I'll take a picture of my floor drain to see if anyone has an idea.

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