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Unread 10-08-2006, 02:27 PM   #16
Trask
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That may be a possible solution..though I'm not sure if it will achieve as good of an end result. My first thought was just that...Pour another slab over the top with a sandwich membrane isolating the two pours completely. The membrane should likely flash up the walls to prevent moisure inrusion from wicking up and around the new slab. I intallly thought you could then pardge the outside walls and add a good drainage system arounf the entire foundation. I'm not sure if adding another membrane to the outside is a good idea as you may end up tapping moisture ...Others will know more on this. I do think regardless drainage around the house is very important.
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Unread 10-09-2006, 05:13 PM   #17
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Dont Do It

Vapor considerations would be satisfied, but the cracking of the first slab as it settles over dirt will transfer straight up to the slab above. It will take longer to notice but where will you be then?
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Unread 10-11-2006, 01:01 PM   #18
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Is there potential for mold to grow under the Ditre or for the moisture to transfer into the framed walls and cause a mold problem?

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Unread 10-11-2006, 02:42 PM   #19
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While I think the additional slab over a gravel bed and moisture barrier would stop most of the vapor transmission to the surface, and certainly provide a greater crack isolation than the Ditra, it won't really solve any of the problem, just mitigate the symptoms, which is all the Ditra is gonna do, too.

The gravel bed and moisture barrier under the original slab is to keep there from ever being significant moisture against the bottom of the slab to begin with by allowing it to go somewhere else. The gravel bed and barrier under a second slab would keep the moisture from being up against the second slab without providing it any place else to go. It would allow liquid water to collect on top of the bottom slab and reduce the vapor pressure, but again, that's what the Ditra is s'posta do in this situation.

I think I'd try the Ditra myownself, but I wouldn't absolve the builder of responsibility for the repair for at least two years to see if it's gonna work well through seasonal changes. He won't go for that, invite him to remove and replace the slab instead.

No, there should be no mould problem under the Ditra. It is inert and is installed with an un-modified thinset mortar directly to the concrete. There is nothing in the mix for mould to feed upon. Again, that's the theory. Might make you feel better to verify that with Herr Schluter's people, too.

Ooops, missed the second part of the question. Yes, there will be moisture migration where there is no Ditra. And I know of no way to stop that. But the actual area of the wall plates and such is small by comparison and you hope the de-humidifier is able to cope with that moisture. Might wanna vent all the wall cavities down there somehow, too. Hafta ponder that some.

It's never gonna really be a hunnert percent right, CL. You're gonna hafta decide just what you can accept. I think the Ditra and de-humidifier might make the basement work quite well, but I'd not wanna be the one to give you any kinda guarantee.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 10:00 AM   #20
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When I spoke to Ann at Schluter she recommended insalling the Ditre with the Kerdi band against the walls. Is this going to force the moisture back down into the slab instead of up into the wall cavity?

The builder will be resposible for any corrections made. I personally would like a five year warranty. I think Schluter 's warranty is five years on the Ditre as long as its installed according to their specifications. What exactly do we specify the builder to warranty? Should it be that this application will prevent moisture problems in our home. Or more specifically because he omitted the vapor barrier and the gravel base as specified on our blueprints he will warranty the application of Ditre and tile for five years to relieve the hydrostatic pressure, prevent moisture related problems and cracking of the tiled surface.

Thanks for your advice,

C.L.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 10:17 PM   #21
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What exactly do we specify the builder to warranty?
Lawyer question, and we got no lawyer.

You're gonna hafta make it sufficiently broad to cover any kind of failure of that tile floor and any other problems that could have been reasonably expected to have been controlled with the proper foundation bedding and moisture barrier installation - and proper curing of the concrete and proper water/cement ratio and use or lack of use of curing compounds or moist-curing techniques and anything and everything else that might have been done incorrectly in the placing of that slab. Cracking, unbonding, moisture migration problems both real and imagined, etc. If anything bad happens on or about the slab you want it to be his fault - and it probably will be.

He, on the other hand, is gonna want the warranty to be very specific and for as short a duration as possible, because he probably knows (or should know) that any or all of the possible problems that occur on or near that slab are a direct result of his actions or inactions.

Y'all gonna hafta come to some agreement. I'd start by writing it one hundred-twenty percent in my favor and negotiate down to ninety-nine.
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I personally would like a five year warranty.
So state in the contract as a minimum. Maybe start the bidding at ten.

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he will warranty the application of Ditre and tile for five years to relieve the hydrostatic pressure
You gotta be really careful when you try to be that specific. You might talk to Schluter again, but I don't think they're gonna make any claim about stopping moisture under hydrostatic pressure. Their claim is to stop moisture migration from differential vapor pressure. Please verify that with them, but I think that's correct.

If you find you actually have a hydrostatic pressure problem there, that's what proper foundation design and drainage and such would have addressed. Different issues, but you'd want him to be responsible for that, too. But if you had that sorta problem at the time of your Calcium Chloride test you'd be dealing with a lot more than six pounds of moisture, think I.

At any rate, I still think I'd wanna stay away from any such specifics to the extent possible. Too easy to fashion them into loopholes for a skilled weaver on the other side of the table.

Have you talked at all with a lawyer about this? If so, was it a lawyer familiar with construction issues? Or you fixin' to just go mano a mano with this builder yourownself?

Even more than usual, the above is:

My opinion; worth price charged.

Oh, and would you get Ms. Ann to 'splain us just what benefit the use of Kerdi up the walls in this situation? Is she talking about interior walls or exterior walls, or both? If I understand what they think the Ditra does as concerns moisture migration, I don't understand how turning up the wall is gonna be of much benefit.

Lot I don't understand, eh?
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Unread 10-14-2006, 08:46 AM   #22
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Ann stated that "all seams in the Schluter Ditra matting and floor/wall transitions must be sealed with Schluter Kerdi Band using unmodified thin set mortar". This statement is in the Ditra installatin handbook under waterproofing. I think she felt that if this application prevents water from getting to the concrete slab that it will also prevent moisture from comming into the living space.

I know that the only way to feel totally comfortable with the solution is to rip it out and pour again or sue the contractor along with the city for gross negligence. However, because the ceiling height in my basement is 9'6" and I can accomodate another slab over this one, there has got to be a way to do it without ripping out the existing slab. I don't want my family to be inhaling concrete dust for months. Is it viable to place vapor barrier down, rigid foam insulation over that, a layer of sand and then 4" slab?

Your advice is greatly appreciated,

C.L.
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Unread 10-14-2006, 09:30 AM   #23
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While I agree that the seams in the Ditra need to be sealed with the KerdiBand, I still see no advantage to trying to seal the floor/wall "transitions." On the exterior walls it couldn't hurt, I suppose, but......... I'm thinking one of us doesn't fully understand the concept here.

You'll find absolutely no recourse in suing the city, unfortunately. Look carefully at your permitting paperwork and I bet you'll find a disclaimer saying you are liable for fines and other penalties if you fail to call for inspections, and give the city two or three chances to come and inspect, with two or three days between chances, and then you can proceed without inspection if they never show up. But it will also say they are not in any way responsible for completing the inspections nor are they responsible for any deficiencies that result from their failure to comply with their own requirements. I'd sure like to see you sue them and prevail, but I bet your attorney will tell you you'll have better luck trying to piss up a rope.

I kinda like the idea of putting in some rigid foam and a new slab, though. Haven't thought it all the way through and I hope we get some more input on that. But for sure I think adding a sand layer is of no value at all in this situation. You could invite the builder to install some nice hydronic heating tubing in the new slab, too. You should also look into maybe installing some kinda drainage mat such as Schluter's Troba (only one I'm familiar with) directly on the slab before the foam or concrete. Some engineering involved in using the foam product, for sure, and you should seek good counsel on that.

But again, unless you're willing to remove all the interior walls and pour a continuous slab over a continuous moisture barrier, I don't really see that you're gaining anything much over just installing the Ditra and tile. Lot of it is gonna depend upon your tolerance for what's required to do the chosen repair.

Tough situation. Wish we could get comments from more Yankees in here who are familiar with basement construction issues.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-14-2006, 11:41 AM   #24
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Lacking the 4" gravel base the soil should have been at the very least compacted. Since he omitted both the gravel and vapor barrier I seriously doubt he did this. Very good chance the original slab will eventually crack as a result of this omission and probably any new slab poured on top.
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Unread 10-14-2006, 11:46 AM   #25
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In August the contractor stated to us that he would hire an engineer to evaluate the situation. Well we have yet to see any engineer and when I later asked him when he was going to have the engineer look at the basement he stated that he didn't think an engineer could tell us anything.

I think we are going to have to write him another letter stating that we have given him ample time to hire an engineer to evaluate our situation and because he hasn't followed through with what he stated, he will pay for an engineering company of our choosing to evaluate the structural viability of removing the existing slab and to advise us on how we should proceed.

Thanks again for your insight,

C.L.
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Unread 10-14-2006, 07:52 PM   #26
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Time keeps on tickin' tickin' tickin'...

Steve Miller is right on here. The faster you take serious action here the better. This builder is giving you what I like to call "carnival talk." Get after him now. It may seem like you are keeping the peace and being a nice diplomatic guy here, but, this is all talk. I happen to think this builder intends to talk to you as long as he possibly can. The longer you both wait to resolve a solution, the better for him & the worse for you.

CX - "we got no lawyer here" Beautiful
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Unread 10-14-2006, 08:23 PM   #27
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In August the contractor stated to us that he would hire an engineer to evaluate the situation.
I think I'd be hirin' my own, regardless. And I'd do it yesterday. Gotta go with Grasshoppa - this character is doing the rope-a-dope. I wouldn't even trust him to be in business - under his current name - a whole lot longer.

as for the warranty, most states now have statutory requirements that exceed the "warranty" you receive from the builder.

here's something else I haven't seen mentioned. What happens when you go to sell someday? You got a whole lot of disclosure to cough up if you have a house that's not built to code. In some states (like CA) that could even impact a buyer's ability to get a mortgage.

methinks Chris from SD might have the best plan.
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Unread 11-08-2006, 01:14 PM   #28
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CL

Take a look @ this article

http://www.buildingscience.com/resou...r_Renovate.pdf

pages 16-21

Extruded polystrene over slab is an option
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Unread 11-08-2006, 03:00 PM   #29
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You might want to look at thisthread starting with post # 116, last page.

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...303#post459303
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