06:50AM | 08/20/02
Member Since: 08/19/02
1 lifetime posts
I live in a row home in Baltimore City which is over 100 years old. I notice a musty smell whenever I first walk in from outside. It is probably always there and I get used to it.

The basement is half finished and half crawl space(CS). The CS has a dirt floor and sits directly benaeth the dining room. The dining room floor is an old wood floor with some holes large enough to put a finger through.

I was wondering if these holes needed to be repaired and insulated (and if so, how?) and also possibly putting a dehumidifier in the basement. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


08:26AM | 08/20/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
There are several things you can do, but my first suggestion is to make sure there is a layer of plastic on the crawl space floor. This will greatly reduce the humidity level in the crawl space.
It's inexpensive at any hardware store. Just ask for 6-mil plastic sheet for a crawl space.
Insulation certainly wouldn't hurt your heating bills.

[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited August 20, 2002).]

Shad Uttam

01:11PM | 08/30/02
Member Since: 08/26/02
1 lifetime posts
I've considered putting down a layer of plastic too to keep the moisture from the house, however, I am concerned - wouldn't the moisture just be trapped in the dirt under the house, staying soggy longer?


05:29AM | 09/04/02
That is the whole point....keep the moisture out of the crawl space and in the soil where it does no damage.



07:22PM | 09/13/02
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
To supplement what they wrote, gravity is your friend, here. Although the moisture under the sheet will be there, it will "want" to go down with gravity, not up against gravity, unless there is some sort of forceful pressure pushing it up from below or it tries to evaporate into drier air. The plastic sheet creates a barrier that serparates the moisture in the ground from the air in the basement so that it does not evaporate. In other words, the sheet will merely let the water "know" that it can't evaporate there in the crawl space and should just keep going down with gravity to the water table.

Using a dehumidifier will help eliminate the musty smell, too. It will dry the air faster than the moisture evaporates upwards. Again, only a minimal amount of water should normally get there because gravity is pulling it down, not up.

Cleaning the crawl space and other spaces with bleach every once in a while will also kill any mold causing the musty smell. IF it is a disgusting crawl space, all the better to clean it, even if only to dump bleach on it and let it soak/penetrate into the foundation and kill 100 years of potentially built-up mold.

And, yes, you should patch any finger-wide holes in your flooring. Chances are that foot traffic will splinter the floorboards and make the hole bigger with time. Moreover, it is always best to seal the crawl space off from the living space.


04:34AM | 09/18/02
Member Since: 09/16/02
251 lifetime posts
Is your CS wet or just smell damp? I am having the same problems you are and have read numerous websites so I think I am a pro now. I am a new home owner and have never had to deal with these problems. My problem is easy. I need gutters and a slope away from the house. (not towards it) (idiot of the year for not spending time outside looking at the slope of my yard) One website said to tape a piece of aluminum foil to the wall of the CS. Seal it on all four sides. In a week or so go back and look at it. If you have moisture on the side showing your problem is coming from the ground or inside. If the moisture is between the foil and wall it is seeping in from outside. In which case you need gutters, a better slope away from your house or dampproof the walls of the foundation. One website I was at said don not put plastic down until you have solved where your water is coming from. Hope I helped you.


Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.


type the code from the image


Post_new_button or Login_button

A simple banquette piled with pillows and lit from above with a wall sconce is a tempting spot to curl up with a favorite ... Built on a rocky island in the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, this wooden house was cobbled together ... Large steel-framed windows flood the interior of this remodeled Michigan barn with daylight. The owners hired Northworks A... Edging formed with upside-down wine bottles is a refreshing change. Cleverly and artistically involving recycled materials... A Washington State couple called on BC&J Architects to transform their 400-square-foot boathouse into a hub for family bea... Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy... For windows, doors, and mirrors that could use a little definition, the Naples Etched Glass Border adds a decorative flora... The thyme growing between these stepping stones adds a heady fragrance to strolls along this lush, low-maintenance garden ... Decoupage is an easy way to add any paper design to your switch plate, whether it is wallpaper, scrapbook paper, book page... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Reluctant to throw away any of those unidentified keys in your junk drawer? Hang them from a few chains attached to a simp... A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, ...
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon