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Issues & Performance

Building Science: Good Bad & Ugly Of Basement Moisture
Building Science online slide show describes issues and solutions to foundation and basement moisture problems. (PDF)

Building Science: Keeping Water Out of Basements
Building Science Corporation describes issues and considerations for keeping water out of basements.

Building Science: Moisture & Interior Basement Insulation
Building Science research reported in this paper is aimed at increasing the understanding of the hygrothermal performance of interior basement insulation systems by a combination of field monitoring of four assemblies and one-dimensional computer modeling. It is part of a CMHC research program to determine the significance or insignificance of potential moisture problems due to an impermeable polyethylene layer in above- and below-grade walls. (PDF)

CMHC: Avoiding Basement Flooding From Drainage Systems
CMHC report covers different sewer backup and/or flooding problems that might arise with drainage and sump pump systems, as well as their causes and tips for prevention. (PDF)

CMHC: Dry & Comfortable Floors In Existing Basements
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation research highlight covers possible moisture problems and recommends flooring options to make existing basements dry & comfortable. (PDF)

CMHC: Green Renovations To Basements
CMHC says green basement renovations afford many opportunities to build in features and technologies that will improve the performance of the renovated space. (PDF)

CMHC: Guide To Fixing Damp Basement
CMHC publication helps diagnose damp basements covers symptoms, sources, causes, and solutions. It includes a problem-solving flow chart, step-by-step diagnostic directions, and pull-out appendix. (PDF)

CMHC: Renovating Your Basement & Moisture Problems
CMHC guide describes examination for moisture prior to basement renovation, how to remedy the problem, what could happen if left unattended, and a worksheet to identify each problem and associated remedies, skills required and estimated costs. (PDF)

Concrete Network: Basement Wall Tiebacks
Concrete Network describes how helical piers can be used to stabilize bowed basement walls and prevent further damage.

Energy Vanguard: Finding Source of Basement Water Problem
Energy Vanguard says the problem in this basement was that someone back in the history of the house did not understand the first rule for preventing humidity damage.

Fine Homebuilding: Keeping A Basement Dry
Fine Homebuilding article offers suggestions on how to keep a basement dry. (PDF)

GBA: Solving a Basement Odor Problem
Green Building Advisor asks if this basement wall lacks a vital moisture control barrier.

HPBE: Dry Liveable Basements
High Performance Building Exchange says whether you're building new, or hoping to turn an existing basement into occupied space, you need to understand the science of dry basement construction.

JLC: Preventing Condensation Under Basement Flooring
Journal of Light Construction describes how to control moisture condensing on or coming up from a basement slab.

Minnesota Univ: Causes & Solutions Of Moisture In Basements
University Of Minnesota provides this report with easy to read information and lots of drawings on moisture sources, moisture movement, causes of moisture problems, and various solutions.

US DOE: Water Management of Existing Basement/Crawlspace Floor
Building America Solution Center describes issues and considerations for treating bulk water drainage issues and providing additional moisture control measures as needed to address site moisture issues before retrofitting a vented crawlspace to an unvented, insulated crawlspace.

BCBEC: Building Smart With Basements & Parkades
BC Building Envelope Council online video of their workshop Building Smart with Basements and Parkades focuses on the design, construction, maintenance and remediation of basements and parkades in residential buildings.

Building Science: Designing & Installing Basement Insulation
Building Science explains how basements should be designed and constructed to be dry and conditioned for reasons of indoor air quality, pest control, and durability of the building.

Building Science: Do's & Don'ts For Basement & Crawlspace Insulation
Building Science online slide show presentation describes what to do and what not to when insulating basements and crawlspaces. (PDF)

Building Science: Energy Efficient, Durable, Healthy Basements
Building Science online slide show presentation describes how build and retrofit basements so they are energy efficient, durable, and healthy. (PDF)

Building Science: Guideline For Foundation Insulation Retrofits
Building Science research report Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits: Measure Guideline describes a variety of recommended designs and variations for retrofit hybrid assemblies for basements and crawlspaces. (PDF)

Building Science: Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofit
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for retrofitting insulation on hybrid foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Insulating Concrete Basement Walls
Building Science explains causes and solutions of potential problems of moisture on the insides of concrete basement walls with interior insulation. (PDF)

Building Science: Understanding Basements
Building Science digest on basements covers keeping groundwater & contaminants out, insulating, and conclusions.

CMHC: Basement Renovation Structural Issues & Soil Conditions
CMHC checklist identifies common problems such as cracks in slabs, walls and footings, and provides recommendations for each problem with comments on what could happen if no repair work is done. (PDF)

CMHC: Classification System For Design & Construction Of Basements
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report shows the quality of basement finishing depends upon intended occupancy, and recommends basement quality according to occupancy types. (PDF)

CMHC: Economic Assessment Of Basement System Insulation Options
CMHC study on economic assessment of residential basement systems analyzes various basement insulation options, capital costs builder carrying costs and profit margins, and energy prices and forecasts. Computer simulations were also performed to determine the energy performance of three basement classes in five Canadian cities. (PDF)

CMHC: Renovating A Basement For Livability
CMHC fact sheet helps you assess basements and determine which improvements will be required in order to turn it into livable space. It covers identifying possible sources of moisture and ensuring that systems which prevent moisture problems are in place, plus foundations, floors, ventilation and safety. (PDF)

Fine Homebuilding: Design For Making The Most Of Basement Rooms
Fine Homebuilding article describes how when a basement is finished with as much care and detail as the house above, the message is that the space is an equal part of the home, not subordinate to it.

Fine Homebuilding: Preparing To Insulate Your Basement
Fine Homebuilding online video describes a walkthrough of an unfinished basement looking for signs of water entry through the slab, walls, and windows, and outlines a plan to deal with each issue to get the basement dry before moving on with the rest of the insulation work.

GBA: All About Basements
Green Building Advisor says it's perfectly possible to build a great house on any one of these three foundation types, as long as everything is properly detailed. Each type of foundation has advantages as well as disadvantages.

GBA: Construction Details For Dry Comfortable Basements
Green Building Advisor online construction details describe how to construct a basement that insulates against water, weather, and radon gas.

GBA: How To Insulate A Basement Wall
Green Building Advisor describes how to insulate a basement wall, saying that if you want to avoid moisture problems and mold, choose your insulation materials carefully.

GBA: Taming a Basement From Hell
Green Building Advisor describes the lower level of the 1950s house that was one of its most unappealing features. With some planning and elbow grease, however, the space would be turned into a dry, comfortable living space.

IRC: Options In Selection Of Materials For Basement Construction
Canadian Institute for Research in Construcion bulletin discusses some key materials issues in basement construction and reviews options for available materials and methods, including recent developments that enhance performance and efficiency. (PDF)

IRC: Performance Guidelines For Cold Climate Basement Envelopes
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction basement guidelines facilitate design and construction of cost-effective basement systems that will achieve satisfactory performance in our cold climate. They are intended for technical decision-makers in the home building industry along with material manufacturers, home warranty agencies, building officials, as well as educators. The guidelines are divided into six parts: 1) performance requirements; 2) envelope system selection; 3) materials and equipment; 4) critical design details; 5) quality assurance; 6) cost-benefit analysis. (PDF)

JLC: Lowering A Basement Floor
Journal of Light Construction describes how to transform a head-bumping basement from a drawback to an asset by lowering the floor to create a reasonable amount of headroom.

NRCan: Insulating Basements & Foundations
Natural Resources Canada online guide Keeping The Heat In describes how to insulate basements from outside and inside, crawl spaces, open foundations, and concrete slab on grade.

US DOE: Air Sealed, Insulated Basements
US Department of Energy describes how to insulate a basement to improve the overall thermal performance of the building and provide more dry, usable conditioned space for home occupants and for HVAC equipment.

US DOE: Guidelines For Basement Insulation
US Department of Energy online Measure Guideline: Basement Insulation Basics describes good practices for insulating basements in new and existing homes. (PDF)
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