We recently purchased a berm home. The main level is cement and we are trying to figure out if there is an alternative to the costly DriCore for a moisture barrier. Also, will we need a moisture barrier throughout the house for all types of flooring?
Mariah H. ~ Bloomfield, Iowa
Mariah, unless there is a significant moisture problem with your home's floors, then you probably don't need to use the DriCore sub-floor panels. Although the DriCore sub-floor system is an excellent choice for wet basements and the like, the product is quite a bit more expensive than other types of floor vapor barriers. The right type of vapor barrier for your house is going to depend on what type of flooring you select to cover the existing cement slab, as well as the current condition of the concrete floors. For example, if you were to install a ceramic or stone tile, there are certain conditions that would allow you to install the tile directly over the existing slab without the need for a plastic vapor barrier. Alternatively, if you choose carpeting or solid wood flooring, then you may have to install a sub-floor system on top of the cement slab, which includes a plastic sheeting vapor barrier, wood sleepers, rigid insulation, and plywood.
I suggest that you decide which type of flooring you want to install, and then you can select the right vapor barrier for that flooring product. It would also be worth talking to some flooring installers who work in the Bloomfield area and have them inspect the specific conditions of your berm house. The few berm houses that I have seen had very durable waterproof barriers on their foundations' exteriors, as well extensive "French Drain" systems around the foundations' perimeters to help prevent any interior moisture problems. Eliminating a home's moisture problems begins on the outside of the foundation, especially when your house is built into an earth berm!