How to Finish Basement Walls With a Vapor Barrier

What You'll Need
Vapor barrier
Soft-bristle scrub brush
Wire brush
Asphalt mastic
Shrink-resistant repair mortar
Epoxy gel adhesive
Joint repair sealant
Wire brush
Yellow spray paint
Utility knife

To make a basement into a livable space, finishing the basement walls is a necessity. Concrete is not insulated, let alone waterproof. Finishing basement walls with a vapor barrier will help make them waterproof. When you install framing, insulation, and drywall, you can be certain that your basement will remain dry. Finishing basement walls using a vapor barrier is easy, and the article below will show you how.

Step 1 - Remove the Damage

If your basement wall is brand new, then you can skip this step. Over time, your concrete basement walls can become damaged due to many factors. The concrete may not have cured correctly, or the mortar was applied incorrectly to individual blocks of concrete. There may also have been excessive dampness or water present in the concrete.

The most common reason for damage is the settling of a house. Finishing basement walls with a vapor barrier is not hard, but it can be a tedious job. Inspect every inch of the walls. Look for holes, cracks, and pieces of loose concrete. Use yellow spray paint to mark the areas. Use a wire brush to scrape the damaged areas you marked. Be gentle and only remove loose bits of concrete. When finished, vacuum the debris.

Step 2 - Clean the Walls

Finishing basement walls requires that you have a surface which is free of oils and other naturally occurring substances. Choose a cleanser that is pH-neutral. Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to scrub the walls. Rinse the walls with clean water and allow them to dry. If you are in a hurry, you can run a dehumidifier to leach water vapor from the air.

Step 3 - Repair

All of the cracks and holes you located and cleaned must now be repaired. Fill the cracks and small holes using joint sealant. Apply the sealant with a putty knife by spreading it evenly over the area. Make sure you feather it so that it is flush with the wall. Prepare large hole by applying epoxy gel around the edges. You will then fill the area with shrink-resistant mortar. Level the mortar using a trowel. Allow the mortar to dry according to the directions.

Step 4 - The Vapor Barrier

Spread the mastic over the wall using the flat side of a trowel. Spread it evenly. Go over the mastic using the notched side of the trowel in order to create grooves. The mastic needs to settle for 30 minutes. Place the vapor barrier evenly over the mastic and press it into place. Overlap new sheets by 4-inches. Trim the sheets around electrical boxes, pipes, and ducts with the utility knife. Trim away excess lengths of plastic. Use spray adhesive to seal the vapor barrier around the edges.