Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


06:14PM | 09/28/04
Member Since: 09/27/04
11 lifetime posts
We bought a house this past spring. We're in VA on a wooded lot that gets little breeze. Upon the inspection, mold and some wood deterioration was detected in the crawl. We had a engineer/handyman look at the floor structure and he gave it the green light.

The homeowners had put down a vapor barrier a year or two ago and it had a few gaps in it near the footers (I've been reading it needs to be sealed tight).

The homeowners had a pest company come in and treat the wood for mold and install 70/30 auto vents.

Ever since then, we have been dealing with moisture problems down there. It has been a rainy year but I am very concerned about structural damage to the house and recurring maintenance issues.

I've hired the company to come back in and treat the mold again (it cropped back up). Also, our insulation was ruined by moisture seeping into it. We have to replace that.

He installed a fanned vent to draw air through the crawl which is controlled by a thermostat set at 50 - 55 degrees.

Our biggest problem was condensation on the ductwork and water pipes during the hot, humid summer.

We're hoping that will work.

We had problems with water seeping in from a downspout close to the house but with extended that downgrade into the yard and didn't have any problems since.

Tonight, I had a shocking experience.

We got 4" of rain from Ivan last weekend and got 5" of rain from Hurricane Jeanne today.

I wanted to see if it did anything to the crawl and went down there and to my surprise

there was about 2" of standing water everywhere.

The pest guy had pulled up the vapor barrier to do the mold treatment so it was just the dirt floor in water.

I did a perimeter check and all downspouts appeared to be carrying water away from the foundation.

I'm concerned about the water spreading mold, etc. I'm also concerned because our 1st floor HVAC unit is down there and don't want it to get damaged.

I'm really at a loss at what to do.

Any help would be much appreciated.




02:33PM | 10/04/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1278 lifetime posts
This is major and it sounds like all the 'help' you have had recently is going the wrong dirtection.

First, you need a sump pump installed in a pot dug into the ground to eject water from the ground to the outside.

Then you need a ground cover sealed all around to prevent moisture from wicking ground to air to be able to condense on the wood floor above it, where it feeds rot.

Now - to controll all this condensation getting to things, you need to close and seal all the vents to ourtside. What is happeninng is that you are drawing warm moist air from the exterior into the crawl where all surfaces are cooler. when warm moist air touches cool surfaces, the moisture is deposited there. It is called dew. So stop that moisture from emntering the crawlspace on the air.

Now, you have a Dehumidifieer installed down there, withthe drain hose leading to the sump pit. It will remove excess moisture from the air BEFORE irt has a chance to condense on surfaces.

boratesare a good treatment fopr preventing spread of rot

Excellence is its own reward!


07:10PM | 10/06/04
Member Since: 09/27/04
11 lifetime posts

I have read the controversy over sealing off a crawlspace vs. venting.

I'm really not sure what to do. I have heard both sides of the argument.

The hurricane rains drained back down into the ground - it was a once in 10 year type deal. I still need to monitor the downspouts.

A new vapor barrier has been put down (but I'm not crazy that it is 4 mil) and he did a good job of putting it over the footers and support columsn.

The borate treatment was done but has stunk up the house - so I need to air out.

Another question - all the insulation was ripped out due to moisture damage - the guy who did the work advised to not insulate over winter (i.e. under the floor joist) and wait and see what the moisutre will do in spring but go ahead and insulate the block walls.

Any thoughts on this?

I'm kind of torn about shutting off the crawl from outside air due to the fact that I can't get a consistent opinion and it also depends on where you live it seems.



07:39PM | 10/06/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1278 lifetime posts
Google for a site called Building Science where Joe Lstibruek (sp?) has tons of advice for youy and possibly links to knowledgeable people in your area. He might even be able to help you out one way or another.

even so, the knowledge there will help you become comfortable about how to deal with this.

I might also tend to leave the insulation out for a year or so.

borates can be applied in many ways. They may have used a vehicle for application that left the odor. I don't necessarily remember any smell from it that was bothersome.

You can buy it in a form called Timbor gel and repell rods. The rods are drilled into structural lumber and inserted. Anytime that moistures is present in an amount that would contribute to rot or mold, it is enoguh to also disolve the rods and carry the inert borate through the wood channels . Thus, the same water that would encourage rot is carrying the innoculation against it.

Excellence is its own reward!

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