I bought a house a few months ago and the basement was basically finished. So I am redoing the bathroom and so I rip out some drywall along the exterior block foundation wall. And noticed the 2 x 4 framing is basically up against the foundation wall, and it has faced insulation between the studs.

All I have read is to put the foam board on the foundation wall then frame etc. Well this wasn't done that way. And I had no plans of ripping everything out and starting from scratch and basically I can not at all afford to do it.

I haven't had any moisture problems, ran a few tests and they came back negative. The foundation wall is painted so maybe that's acting as somewhat of a moisture barrier and then the tabs on the paper backed insulation are acting as a vapor barrier? is that possible?

I guess I am curious what my options are, short of ripping everything out? I did notice the paper on the insulation was a tad dark, either from just time or maybe there is a little moisture. but the insulation itself looked good. Do I have options, I may even go as far as ripping the drywall off if I have options. Any advice would be great, and thanks in advance

I am in Nebraska, USA

  • Have you checked your state and local building code to see if a vapor barrier is required or necessary? This construction may be perfectly fine - it would be in my jurisdiction.
    – user4302
    Mar 31, 2017 at 14:58
  • there is no requirement, but he mentioned it would be a good idea to get a vapor barrier Mar 31, 2017 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


You'll get a lot of opinions on this subject, and there are several lengthy discussions to be found on SE, but the bottom line is that each case needs to be handled individually.

In my area, it's common to have framed energy walls with unfaced fiberglass batts (not faced like you have). Sometimes moisture is an issue, so it's commonly advised to forego a moisture barrier inside the insulation so that the wall can breath and dry out. You don't tend to get the type of condensation that you would in a main-floor wall, which is exposed to the outside air. Poly sheeting is often installed over the insulation in unfinished basements to protect and contain the insulation, and it may or may not be removed when the walls are finished.

In your case, if it hasn't been a problem to date, it probably won't be in the future.

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