Eliminating Basement Moisture

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 11, Part 1

Bob is in Melrose to review progress, much of which includes creating a dry and moisture-proof basement. He reviews measures taken to develop perimeter drainage, isolate exterior walls to drain into the channel, install a sump system with power backup, and connect a dehumidifier that is designed to work with basement moisture and lower temperatures. An inorganic underlayment for the carpet will keep this finished basement dry even if water makes a return visit. A unique take on window blinds covers the three-panel sliding door with sheer washable fabric that pulls across the surface for privacy and resembles hanging drapes. In the living room, the family opts for blinds that can pull up or down for varying light and privacy levels. A whole-home audio system is also installed with adjustable surround sound, speakers, and multiple remotes for ultimate sound control. The audio source controls multiple zones, including the kitchen and the yard, which has special weatherproof speakers. In the basement a new laundry and utility area is outfitted with a front-loading, energy-efficient washer and dryer, a new freezer, a refrigerator, and a microwave for easy living. A 50-inch flatscreen television and a separate TV for the kids' bedroom complete the technology makeover.

Part 1: Eliminating Basement Moisture

One of the key aspects of refinishing a basement is making sure it's dry and warm. Bob talks with Larry Janesky of Basement Systems about the steps taken to keep the Melrose basement dry. An interlocking plastic underlayment works as a subfloor for the basement floor. It's very important not to have organic material on the floor as it will be susceptible to mold from water vapor. Before the underlayment was put in place however, a perimeter drain was dug into the basement floor. The perimeter drain sends the water to a sump pump system. The system installed is called a Triple Safe System as it has three pumps inside; an AC pump, an AC backup, and a DC battery backup pump. Using this system, the basement should stay flood-proof. There is some standing water where the sump pump is being installed but this should not be a problem since the system has an air-tight lid on it so water cannot evaporate back into the home. A charger box for the sump pump alerts the homeowner when the pump is running on battery backup. Ice guard fittings have been placed over the pipes that carry the water to the exterior of the home so that water will drain even when water in the pipes is frozen. In an older home like this one, the foundation may be a little weaker and more porous than homes built today. To prevent rain water from seeping in through the foundation, a vapor barrier was installed. A product called Clean Space was also installed over the walls to direct water buildup from condensed water vapor into the perimeter drain. A flood ring was installed around the water heater, which will drain water into the perimeter drain. Dehumidifiers in basements should be basement rated. Normal dehumidifiers are designed to take water out of warmer air and might not be adequate for dehumidifying basements. A SaniDry Basement Air System was installed in the basement of the Melrose home. It can process 100 pints per day and has air filtration built into it. The system is Energy Star rated and will perform well in basement environments.

Part 2: Installing Blinds and Window Shades
Part 3: Installing Whole-Home Audio and Appliances
Bob Vila helps a young family with an old house create family and recreational space for their active kids. Projects include replacement window installation, innovative plumbing solutions, and smart storage to make indoor and outdoor spaces ideal for this growing family.

Also from Basement Finishing and Family Space

  • Episode 1 - Removing Unwanted Junk and Combatting Basement Moisture


    <p>In Melrose, MA, a family with two young sons needs extra room and looks to Bob and his team to repurpose their damp basement for expanded living space. Homeowner Sarah Monzon shows Bob the backyard of the 1921 gambrel with a stone retaining wall they created to manage the slope for the kids&rsquo; play yard. She explains how the exterior has water intrusion and moisture buildup problems. Inside, Cyrus Beasley rips out the under-stair closet and assesses the stair support required while the plumber disconnects the old soapstone sink. The Monzons then clear out years of junk and demolition waste before calling 1-800-Got-Junk to stack, sort, and dispose of everything to donation centers, recycling sites, and the dump for a set price. Larry Janesky of Basement Systems reviews the exterior drainage problems of the home with Bob and then explains how they will reduce moisture on the inside. The crew breaks up the concrete floor to create an interior drainage trench, applies Clean Walls to isolate the stone walls and send moisture runoff to the drainage trench and sump, installs Thermal Dry radiant barrier behind finished walls to prevent moisture transfer, and creates a hole for the sump.</p>
  • Episode 2 - Basement Waterproofing, New Plumbing, and On-Demand Hot Water


    <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>221</o:Words> <o:Characters>1265</o:Characters> <o:Company>Blue Iceberg LLC</o:Company> <o:Lines>10</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>2</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>1553</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]-->Bob and Larry Janesky of Basement Systems review the work being done to cut a drainage trench in the concrete around the perimeter of the basement floor. Water will be channeled through the trench to a sump &ndash; dug at the lowest spot in the basement &ndash; where it can be pumped out of the home. <span>&nbsp;</span>A triple safe power pump protects the home even if there is a loss of power.<span>&nbsp; </span>Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal and demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Old brass water pipes are replaced with PEX tubing, creating more headroom in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated.<span>&nbsp; </span>Bob talks with Dan Driscoll of Rinnai about the new on-demand water heater being installed. The heater is a whole-house system sized for a three-bathroom household, laundry, and cleaning. An on-demand, tankless water heater saves basement space <span>&nbsp;</span>and is energy efficient because it does not store hot water. Driscoll opens up the water heater to show how the system works. Once the water is turned on, sensors detect the amount of water being used and the temperature of the incoming cold water. The on-demand system is about 40% more efficient than gas-fueled tank water heaters and 70% more efficient than electric tank water heaters.</p> <!--EndFragment--> <!--EndFragment--> <p>&nbsp;</p>
  • Episode 3 - Moving the Oil Tank for New Heating, Cooling, and Air Filtration


    <p>Bob is in Melrose where John Ambrosino of Total Temperature Control installs the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Because of clearance issues, the unit is installed horizontally and tied to the joists with steel rods. Ambrosino explains how the unit pulls air in for exchange, to be heated or cooled, then pushes it through a fan and into the ducts for circulation. The 16 SEER unit is very big for maximum efficiency, quiet operation, and up to 45 percent savings over current energy costs. Mark Hagan shows Bob the Trane CleanEffects whole-house three-stage air-cleaning system that cleans the air of 99.98 percent of particulates, filtering first for large particles, then charging the small particles and capturing them in a collection filter for healthy indoor air. Don Adams of Bond-Tite Tank Service shows Bob how they move the oil tank, reattach it, set it in a trough to catch leaks and drips, and apply Tank-Guard to isolate condensing water and prevent tank corrosion. Bob talks to Howard Brickman about how to control squeaking floors either by drawing the wood floor tight against the subfloor with screws, connecting blocking to the joists and subfloor from below, or shimming the space between the subfloor and joists.</p>
  • Episode 4 - Basement Finishing System and Custom Windows

  • Episode 5 - Exterior Upgrades for 1921 Gambrel

  • Episode 6 - Hardscaping, Removing Rot, and Fighting Insect Damage

  • Episode 7 - New Backyard Fence and Basement Half-Bath

  • Episode 8 - Basement Carpet, Storage, and Closet Design

  • Episode 9 - Low-Maintenance Landscaping, Gutters, and Pantry

  • Episode 10 - Stucco Painting, Exterior Repairs, Shutters, and High-End Decking

  • Episode 12 - Exterior Lighting, Audio, Video, and D├ęcor for the Melrose Home

Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome to the show here in Melrose where our basement finishing project is nearly complete.

Today we are going to be recapping how we keep the moisture out of this space down there. But we are also be shopping for appliances laundry equipment and the like, putting in a fabulous Bose AV system, and some window treatments like we never seen before. Stick around.

One of the key things about refinishing a basement is to make sure that it's going to be dry and then warm. So we've got together with our friends from Basement Systems. We couldn't have done it without them.

Lots of measures here to kind of waterproof this basement area, and this is the latest.


This is an underlayment, right?

It is. It's a plastic sub floor made specifically for basements.

And , you know, in a basement it's very important that we don't have organic material on the floor, because we have water vapor coming up through concrete that's porous, and we don't want to have mold underneath the floor.

Now, before we got this far, let's just recap some of the methods that have been used for water proofing this basement. The first things that we did involved a perimeter drain system. You want to recap that for us?

Yeah, in order to keep the floor dry, and to drain water from the floor and the walls, the first thing that we did was put a perimeter drain in. What we did was take all that water from the perimeter drain to a sump location The sump system we installed is called the TripleSafe because it has three pumps in it. You have an AC pump, you have an AC backup, and a DC a battery backup pump.

So you're covered in all cases. You're not going to be flooded from pump failure.

OK. So we've got the lid on it and we are just adding more crushed stone to secure it. But there's always going to be some standing water in that. Isn't that a problem?

Normally it would be, but this sump system has an airtight lid on it, so that's full of water that's sitting there all the time. It doesn't evaporate.

So, it can't evaporate back in, all right.

Yeah. And we've also included an air tight floor drain in the sump lid. So this way, if there was a plumbing leak from any plumbing source in the house, it would run to this low spot and then run down this floor drain which lets water down, but damp air cannot come up, because it has a cup and check ball underneath that floor drain.

So you've thought of everything.

We try.

But what about if you run out of power, and you go on battery power.

Well, that's important that the home owner knows that they're on the battery power. So this is the charger box and control box for battery backup pump. And we're gonna mount this on the wall up there. And there's a loud alarm that sounds off when the home owner is on battery power to tell them, hey, you've got to restore these primary pumps before the battery goes dead.

Ok. It seems like you've thought about everything. But there's gotta be some other potential problems down the line. I mean, you're taking all the water that collects here up and then through and between the sealing joints to an outside location. What about the issues of freezing?

Yeah, that's an important issue, too. And we have the solution to that. They're called ice guard fittings, and we've mounted them outside already.

And this is all kind of aimed at controlling any water infiltration from underground.


Right. It's rainwater what you're particularly concerned about. out when it rains a lot the back fill gets saturated on the outside of the foundation. It creates a little hydrostatic pressure, pushes water through the walls and up at the floor wall joint.

Terrible, terrible thought. And then, speaking of the walls, an older house like this, it's not quite a century old, but still the quality of the foundation walls is not what you'd expect in today's homes where you have a uniform concrete floor. Here it's kind of a punky and rubble stone and...


What have we done to deal with water infiltration through the walls?

Well, what we wanted to do was create a vapor barrier on the inside of the walls to prevent water vapor from evaporating into the basement environment, and we wanted to drain any leaks that come through the walls, down into the perimeter drain without being exposed to the basement environment. So we put a product called Cleanspace, which is a reinforced vapor barrier, on the walls and tucked it down into our perimeter drain, so we take care of those.

And what about other issues like appliances that, like the water heater ,for example, if it should fail and it' s now in a finished basement.

What we've done there is we've installed a ring, called a flood ring, around the water heater that will drain water away into our perimeter drain. In the event, well, the eventuality that the water heater would leak or any of the fittings associated with it would leak.

Okay, then the last question is, very often people have to go down and buy a dehumidifier even though they've taken all these measures to control moisture. They still feel there's damp in there.

That's right.

And the furniture's going to get ruined or whatever , or mold growth. What do you suggest in terms of dehumidifying space?

Well, you need a dehumidification system that's made for basement environments. Most dehumidifiers are rated at 80 degree, 60 percent relative humidity. And at 80 degrees it's easy to take water out the air because you cool it a little. A little bit and you get condensation. But in basements we have temperatures that are much cooler, maybe sixty two degrees, sixty five degrees.


And we need a dehumidifier that is made for that environment. And here we've installed what we call a Sanidry Basement Air System, and it is a one hundred pint per day dehumidification system.

It has air filtration built-in. It's very energy efficient, in fact, it's Energy Star rated. And it will perform very, very well in basements that have the cool temperatures.

Thanks, Larry. And, of course, we added new windows, and we've just trimmed them out with these new Bali blinds. Up in the kitchen we've installed, where we have a 9-foot patio door, we've installed a very unique new treatment. Watch.

OK, what we're putting up here today is the sheer enchantment blind from Bali. And first of all, we're going to start with these heavy duty brackets I have already measured.

So what we'll do is put 'em in, and then we'll put the head rail up.

We've got the heavy duty head rail here, and if you look inside it's got a steel pantograph or a scissors option, which give you smooth traversing when you put the blind up. And it's always good to have a second pair of hands, because we've got a nine foot slider and that's kind of hard to do by yourself. But it just snaps right in.

OK, now we are going to snap the veins in The veins snap right into the vinyl stems. And just remember to put the notch towards the back wall.

And if the plastic stems, down the road, happen to break they're very easily replaced.

OK, now that we've got the louvers in now, we have the controls which will give you total privacy. If you close them, or you can open them up so you can see outside.

But now, we're going to go one step further with the fabric we're going to add on top of this. The valley sheer enchantment will give you the. look of draperies. And how we're gonna do that , we're just going to snap it right onto each loop.

You start at one corner, doesn't make any difference, what you want to do. Slide this right on. You notice those little snaps? And, just go all the way down the line.

The beauty of this is if it happens to get dirty then you can just unsnap it, throw it in the wash with a little Woolite.

Do not put it in the dryer, and just hang it right back up. And you get it nice and clean. At the bottom we hold the sheer in place by a thread which just slips right into the vein.

To cap it off, we add the beautiful wood cornice option to hide the headrail.

Make sure you screw down the core so children can't get at it. It's a safety feature, make sure you do it.

With everything in place, we're going to show you the three light control options. First of all, with the vanes closed, we have total room darkening and you open them up, and we look through sheer fabric. It gives you a beautiful drapery look, and third of all, if you traverse the blind out of the way, we give the clear view of your backyard.

Upstairs, in the bedroom and in the dressing room, we feature Bali DiamondCell cordless shades and they also have a top down, bottom up feature, which gives you privacy and also lets you have light come in through the top.

They're cordless, which are great for kids, there's no strings in the boy's bedroom, Bally roller shades, they come in really cool racing stripe, colors, blues and yellows, and the kids love them.

There room darkening, and the kids really sleep late in the morning, and Sarah loves that.

OK, down in the basement we feature Bally Natural Shades. Those are made of natural products, like reed and bamboo, and they also feature a beautiful wooden balance and some edge banning to go around and really, fits into the decor really nice. Andrew Gilles is with us now. He's a friend of the homeowner's and he is an expert on the latest in audiovisual equipment. And we need your help.

Now what did they choose, this is a Bose system, right?

Right. This is the Bose Lifestyle whole home audio system.


It basically does surround sound down here in this room for the television and then it also has zones throughout the house that do audio for the different rooms.

So we have got the capability of putting different sounds, different music selections, in different parts of the house. And even though this is a small house it's still, it's now four levels I think. So you can get all over the place. Now, is that achieved wirelessly?

Well, some of the parts are wireless. See, there is a wireless zone that you can put anywhere in the house where you can get music and then there's also fixed zones in the kitchen and then outside in the garden.

And there's a remote, a wireless remote for each one of those. What is this thing that were looking at right here?

This is sort of the core of the whole system here. This is where all of the music is stored and we sort of configure the system. And, all of the other remotes actually, you know, use this system to to send audio to the rest of the house.

Does it equate to what I think is a tuner and then a DVD player and a CD player and that sort of thing?

Yeah, this is actually all of those things in one you can actually take all of your CD library and store it in this system and then have access to it.

They, yeah, no Ricardo our homeowner is a musician and I understand he has over 300 CDs here in the house. How many can you burn in here?

This is holds 340 CDs.


So you can take 300 in here, and then the system you can actually set up, a sort of music libraries for each person in the home.

And as they listen to the music and they pick which songs they like and which ones they don't the system will actually adapt to them and help them find songs that they like automatically. That's actually what I'm setting up here I have set up some zones.

So you've got a holiday mix right now but you've got one zone for the kids and one for the husband and one for the wife.

So, this, this is our back room panel for all of our, all of our, av equipment. This is where, this is where I'm mounting the amplifiers that go with the, with, with the Bose media center. The Bose media center has multiple components, and we're connecting them all with this, with this Bose interconnect cable.

And this is the hub, right here, that you wire the , connects all of the wires together.

Outside, we have our our Bose outdoor-rated speaker, here. These can actually be buried a little bit in the ground, and that allows them to, to have a sound that fills the yard, but, but not be seen.

What's this all cost?

I believe this system is, is about $5,000.

For, for all the different rooms in the house.

That's mostly just for the base, I think the other ones are extra.

Ok. And what other pieces of equipment are involved in whole thing? It's pretty much just this system here, there's also an amplifier that works with each of the system, the speakers upstairs.

Does this open?

Yeah, this is, you can actually put a DVD in here if you want to watch it on the screen here. But yeah , most of the system is controlled with the remote control.

Even when you're outdoors?

Yeah, all of Bose remotes are radio, so you don't have to be in the room where you're using them. You can be anywhere and they'll work.

OK, and then what about, this is the main place where the action takes place. This is where they're the getting the big screen TV . Will this also provide them with a surround sound capability?

Yeah, this has 5.1 channel surround sound. It has the Acoustimass module on the floor here, and tiny speakers front and back

And what is the Adapt IQ do for it?

This system actually, can be adapted to the room. A lot of high end homes have these custom audio systems That have, you have to have an engineer come in, and actually tune the system to your house.

To the conditions of the room.

Right, because of course the rooms are different and people sit different places and so the system you actually put on this little headset and walk around the room and it will tune the system.

Automatically. So once they have the furniture arranged, and this is not a huge room. It's kind of a rectangular room. It's twice as long as it is deep. The ceilings are low, there is acoustical walls and everything. It's an unusual space, so once they've laid out their furniture and such they can use those to perfectly balance the system.

Yeah, you only have to do it once. It takes about ten minutes and once it's tuned to that room, you'll always get really good sound no matter what's going on.

Sounds like heaven. Thanks Dan.

One of the other things that we got to do in creating this new basement space was to carve-out a half bathroom and a laundry room. And everything is on a pump system because we're in a basement space below the grade of the street.

So, we've got a limestone deep laundry sink with one of these great Moen faucets here, we have room for the ideal laundry equipment. This is of course the front loaders from whirlpool that make life easier for the homeowner especially since they're elevated and have the storage space underneath it. And on and on, there's so many details that managed to get fit right into this very tight space.

You know Sarah and Ricardo had a lot of different appliances and electronics to fit in their house, and they had some really unique constraints, like, the size of this room. So, what they did was they went online to brandsource.com get the different brands, sizes and shapes to fit in here.

You know, BrandSource is a national entity that has almost 2,500 retail outlets, doing almost ten billion dollars with great buying power, so they got an awesome deal.

Everything was professionally installed by our local dealer, Gray's Appliance here in Melrose. This is a state of the art whirlpool duet pair, you can manually set everything to have a customized wash, or let the machine do everything for you. It's extra large capacity it'll save tons of energy and it has great storage underneath, and these machines are ultra quiet.

Mom and dad in this family both work, so they can't shop for groceries every other day. That's why they need a large freezer, like this one, from Amana. Plus, it fits great under the stairs.

And, if that's not enough, we have even more freezer space in this bottom-up freezer from Amana. With more refrigeration for extra beverages, birthday cakes, and everything else you need for entertaining.

In the other room we even have a GE wine cooler which will chill your beverages to the perfect temperature. And we have a GE microwave for popping the perfect popcorn. Because there's going to be a lot of movies here, with all the home theater, that we have in the other room.

And anchoring the system down here is a fifty inch Samsung flat panel. Samsung is state of the art, top end, its flat panel and it really brings the movie theater experience home.

And in the master bedroom a slightly smaller 42 inch Samsung plasma is great because its so slim it doesn't dominate the decor. And the kids even got their own little Samsung LCD set up for watching DVDs in their own room.

And all these units were easy to compare and contrast online at brandsource.com. Plus the homeowners got great quality service from our local brand source outlet which allowed them even more time for this beautiful stainless steel grill.

That's it for this week. Next week, we will be showing the completed project. Including all the furnishings that are coming down into the wonderful basement family room, as well some of the changes throughout the rest of the house. Until then, I'm Bob Vila. Thanks for joining us.



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