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Vapour barrier I gutted the entire basement and added new insulation. Below grade, there is simply 1 1/2" of white-foam insulation board over concrete blocks. Above grade, there is new Roxul R14 insulation and then the foam board. Do I need to put a vapour barrier over the foam board since I went with the cheaper white-foam insulation? - Dneugebauer via email

Expanded polystyrene (the white stuff) is typically not vapour-impermeable. The polyethylene-film vapour barrier that covers the batt insulation above should continue down over the foam. Technically, the wood strapping that contacts the masonry should also be separated from it by a damp-proofing barrier of some kind. When you get your permit, check with the building department to determine the acceptable damp-proofing in your area. Tar-saturated building paper may be acceptable, and there are a host of liquid roll-on or paint-on membranes that may help your basement wall system to perform optimally.

Michel has contributed to Canadian Home Workshop since 2003. Even though he works as a contractor and furniture builder, he really enjoys motivating others to do things for themselves. He really believes that with a little investment in tools and time, most people can learn to craft and fix things, rather than buy or discard them.

In home improvement terms, he generally works on projects involving cabinetry, tile and trimwork.

Michel is also a great fan of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, and he likes building furniture pieces that reflect that style, though since moving to the West Coast, he’s become more interested in contemporary design.


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