COMMUNITY FORUM

Alan

03:23AM | 10/11/01
Member Since: 10/09/01
48 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
A relative of mine has a 100 year old farmhouse and the basement (cellar) has a dirt floor and a mixture of concrete block and stone walls.

He can live with the "unsightlyness" of it but the damp musty smell is noticeable upstairs.

It is located in a cold area of Canada but I have suggested that he ignore the heating aspect and provide adequate year round ventilation.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks, Alan

Jay J

05:53AM | 10/11/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Alan,

In short, the damp air is rising up through the soil and making its way into the living space. What he essentially has is a HUGE crawlspace.

The only way to eliminate this problem is to lay down some 6 mil thick plastic and lay some gravel or pressure-treated wood along the ENTIRE edge to keep the plastic down and prevent the moisture from rising. Let it collect UNDER the plastic. Other than that, you could consider installing a poured floor and go from there. If the room was to be heated, it would only 'encourge' the moisture to collect. Remember - Warm air holds MORE water than relatively cooler air. After he 'covers' the floor, and he notices that there is still a smell, consider a dehumidifier. He may also have to 'clean' anything that has mold/mildew on it. Use a mixture of 1 cup bleach per 1 gallon as a minimum. Use more bleach for a stronger mixture. If what's being cleaned remains 'black', than it's probably dirt; not mold/mildew. Overlap the plastic and tape the seams with duct tape. He may want to lay down some wide 'boards' to walk on. That is, assuming the floor is somewhat level.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

Alan

03:09AM | 10/12/01
Member Since: 10/09/01
48 lifetime posts
Thanks Jay J.

Your suggestion makes sense and that's what we'll do. However, I would very much appreciate your comments on whether or not good ventilation would further improve the situation.

I would like to repeat your PS and add that your Canadian friends share your sorrow and are with you all 100%.

Thanks again, Alan (Kuwiat Crisis 1961)

Jay J

04:48AM | 10/12/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Alan,

First, on behalf of ALL Americans, I thank you and your fellow Canadians for your support. Your thoughts mean a lot to me.

RE: Ventilating the basement - Well, that depends. If the basement is 'devoid' of things like a water heater, washer/dryer, HVAC, 'personal stuff', etc., etc., where it's kinda like a crawlspace vs. a basement, then you could ventilate it. HOWEVER, if the basement DOES have appliances and such in it, I wouldn't ventilate it at all. Instead, first, I'd cover the floor and see how that goes. If it's still not enough, buy a dehumidifier that's properly sized for the room. Get a unit that automatically empties the water for you. (You don't want a unit that has a 'bucket' where you'll have to empty it every day. In this case, you can FORGET about going on vacation!)

If the concrete blocks, if they are dry, you can clean them and then apply a block sealer. I wouldn't seal them if they're actually wet. (This is another problem.) Visit EverCreteCanada.com for a good start.

As for the stone, your moisture is coming from the 'grout', or from inbetween the rock; not the rock itself. If the grout is dry, you can seal it with a concrete sealer. But you MAY not be able to use the same sealer that you used on the block walls. The block isn't grout, and vice-versa. Talk to 'someone' about that (or post back here.)

RE: 'Another Problem' ... - Search the Forum for questions that have to do with gutters and downspouts (as search keywords.) I, personally, have talked about problems relating to that for YEARS. This will address what needs to be done around the home to mitigate/eliminate water from entering the basement.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

PPS: (I've been putting the above 'statement' in all my follow-ups since 9/11 ...)

Alan

03:42AM | 10/13/01
Member Since: 10/09/01
48 lifetime posts
Hi Jay J,

Just a brief thanks for your explicit comments. It is just an oversize empty crawlspace except for the oil furnace. So we'll start with covering the floor and work from there.

Thanks again and keep up the good work and the PATRIOTISM. On a personal note, as an English/Canadian "Snowbird", God be with you all in keeping the USA and it's people safe.

Alan

Jay J

10:24AM | 10/13/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Alan,

10-4 on the crawlspace.

And, the free world (Canada included) will survive.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God BLess America!

JJB

05:24PM | 11/02/01
Member Since: 11/01/01
2 lifetime posts
Jay J & Allen,

You might want to check out this website, it maybe of some use to you. http://www.neutocrete.com

They have a patented product that permanently seals dirt crawlspaces.

JJB

Jay J

04:15AM | 11/03/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi JJB,

I did take a look at the Neurocrete and, well, to be honest w/you, from what little I've seen, it's not doing much more than laying 6 mil plastic down and covering the sides w/gravel or something. They don't tout any 'advantage' to just covering the crawl with just plastic.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

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