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