BSI-125: Concrete Basement Foundations

Basements – back to the basics!

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WOBO thanks the Building Science Corporation for the link to their article on Concrete Basement Foundations which creates a focus on the activities dealt with on a daily basis.

One of the most common foundation approaches to residential construction are concrete basements.  They can be insulated on the inside or the outside.  The basis of all basement foundations is as follows:

  •  Control liquid flow due to groundwater
  •  Control liquid flow due to capillarity
  •  Control soil gas
  •  Keep the water vapor out
  •  Let the water vapor out if it gets in

Groundwater control is principally accomplished by draining groundwater away from foundation wall perimeters, using free draining materials such as sand, gravel or drainage boards.

Capillary control is principally accomplished by installing capillary breaks to fill the pores in capillary susceptible materials such as concrete.  The most common capillary break used in residential foundation construction is dampproofing.  The dampproofing fills the pores in the concrete to control capillarity.  Under concrete floor slabs, the stone layer combined with sheet polyethylene serves a similar function.

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Building Science Corporation

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