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Reno's any tips for damp basement?

erykah1310
February 6th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Here's a bit of info,
Our basement that never leaked all last year even with all the rain we had is extremely damp.
If we run a dehumidifier the canister will fill up with in 3 hours, and I mean full, all day every day.
We ideally want to finish the basement ( currently is cement floors with block walls) and move our living room down there and make a bedroom down there as well.
However, with the dampness I can not imagine putting our couch tv or anything down there.
All winter long our windows have been fogged up and frozen shut, this spring we are reinsulating the whole house, changing windows/doors and putting new siding up. Hopefully this will help with some of the moisture or atleast help keep the drafts from coming in.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what may be causing the dampness?

Melinda
February 6th, 2010, 05:19 PM
do you have a subpump? if so, set it a little lower (the ball) so it drains more often, if you have a drainage in the floor, consider putting ahose on the connection of your dehumidifier and just let it run steady , like a furnace it will eventually catch up to the dampness and turn itself off and on, do you have any heating ducts down there? If so make sure they are opened and not blocked somewhere throughout the piping.

hazelrunpack
February 6th, 2010, 10:04 PM
How is the drainage on the outside of the foundation? Is there drain tile around the basement? Does the ground slope away from the house on all sides? We have a damp basement due to a high water table. Making sure the landscaping shunts water away from the house and keeping the drain tile in good condition around the foundation helps to keep the basement drier.

Myka
February 6th, 2010, 10:13 PM
Most renovation companies will do a free consultation for you. They can give you ideas, as well as estimates.

I would put up a vapor barrier on the floor as well as the walls sealing with the existing vapor barrier on the floor above. Then build over that. As far as preventing the dampness at its root, I would take a closer look at the drainage around the outside of the house. You may need to install/replace the weeping tile around the house. You will have to drain the weeping tile into the storm drain system, which could require a sump pump located in a well-like or septic tank type system.

aslan
February 7th, 2010, 08:50 AM
Erykah, definately sounds like you have a high water table happening, melinda gave you good advice..I would definately look into a sump pump first off and Myka is wrong about drainage now..Ontario is pushing hugely to remove drainage from the sewer systems so they would drain it farther out onto the actual property. I know you can get government grants to help out..They're also steering away from weeping tiles and using weeping tubes instead..most companies are tarring the exterior wall then putting a plastic membrane over the actual concrete. Aaaaanyway,,when you do the reno's if you're doing it yourself, always put a rubber membrane between the concrete floor and the bottom of a stud wall. If the concrete ever gets damp the wood will work like a wick and suck water up.. to help with the dampness, get a couple 2L pop bottles, cut them in half and take the lid off the bottle..pour epsom salts into the bottom of the bottle then turn the top part upside down and insert into the bottom half..helps with dampness and get rid of the musty smell. Any questions feel free to pm me.

erykah1310
February 7th, 2010, 09:16 AM
Our house is on top of a hill with amazing drainage, we have a sump pump that rarely goes on, our drainage is out on the back part of the hill , it does not go into our septic at all.
Thanks for all the tips so far

Myka
February 7th, 2010, 09:46 AM
Myka is wrong about drainage now..Ontario is pushing hugely to remove drainage from the sewer systems so they would drain it farther out onto the actual property...They're also steering away from weeping tiles and using weeping tubes instead..

Aslan, I'm not wrong that's how we do it out here in the western provinces. I said storm drain, not sewer system. I'm not sure if it is the same in Ontario or not, but sewer system and storm drain system are two separate systems. Our storm drains go directly into the closest water body (lake, river) without any filtering. There are little fish printed on the manholes and drains to remind people to not dump crap down them.

If there are no storm drains in the area of the house in question is it is usually pumped out to a pit that has been dug out and filled with gravel. Where I have worked and lived, the water table is never too high to do that. If the water table is higher or close to the floor of the basement, you will have to figure out something a bit more creative to get it under control. Simply pumping it out to the ground surface away from the house will not solve the problem.

Out here we call the weeping "tubes" as weeping "tile". The actual clay tiles haven't been used in new builds/renos for decades.

Whatever happens, as I stated and Aslan added detail to, you will need to install a vapor barrier to keep the dampness out, but it sounds like you need to get someone out there to find out where the dampness is coming from since you suggest your house has great drainage. You need to get that dampness out of there ASAP as you will get molds very quickly that can be seriously detrimental to your health. Your best bet is to get a contractor or two or three (hard to find a good one sometimes) to come out and take a look at your basement. No matter how skilled any of us may be, it's one thing to suggest a course of action on a blind project, and another to actually see the problem.

hazelrunpack
February 7th, 2010, 09:54 AM
Erykah, what kind of soil do you have? Is it clay?

erykah1310
February 7th, 2010, 09:58 AM
We're mostly on rock, no clay. Most of our yard is actually a thick layer of gravel with a good layer of topsoil over top of it. Havent really dug very deep to see.

aslan
February 7th, 2010, 10:04 AM
myka, storm drain and sewers are the same thing, and since erykah is in ontario and not Sask then you were wrong with the information you gave her..now if she were in sask you would have been correct..weeping tile is a bed of gravel down so many feet under the surface covering a certain thickness, a weeping tube is a black plastic tube with holes in it then covered in a cloth fabric allowing water but not dirt or gravel into the tube. In Ontario they are steering away from weeping tile as it doesn't steer the water away from the house..

Erykah aslong as it's just a dampness and not actual water pooling in the basement, that is atleast a good sign. Some basements are just damper than others due to environment,,melinda's suggestion of running a hose from a de-humidifier directly to a drain is a perfect solution and highly used.

hazelrunpack
February 7th, 2010, 10:28 AM
You'd think you'd have excellent drainage with gravel in the works...

We have a slab of sandstone sitting under our sandy topsoil, though, and we still have the dampness problem. The thaw water pools on top of the stone in spring and takes its own sweet time to percolate through. We run cold-temp dehumidifiers down there all summer. In winter, the furnace dries out the air. And the HVAC guy installed some kind of vent on the ducting to reduce the extra humidity...I think it's called a skuttle vent or somesuch, but I can't remember for sure. Evidently it introduces a puff of outside air when the furnace is running and somehow that gets rid of the humidity. I never did understand it, but overnight on the day it was installed, the inside humidity fell from over 70% to less than 50% :thumbs up

buddingartist
February 7th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Here are a few things we did to the house we moved in 4 years ago. The main living area is all on one floor and with have an addition that consists of a workshop/painting studio with a private appartment above. Where I live, the water table is very high (very few houses have basements here).

We have a painting studio/workshop which is built on slab. It was so humid that we had to buy an additional dehumidifier. You could smell the humidity when you went in to that room. For the first month that I ran the dehumidifier, I had to empty that bucket twice a day and it then subsided.
For the floor, we did the humidity test and afterwards sealed the floor. On top of that, we put in DryCore and covered that with a thick laminate. I would never put carpet in damp areas but it is a matter of choice.
We also added a gas fireplace (propane) and we were advised to keep the pilot on all the time which really made a difference in the humidity to a point where I barely had to use the dehumidifier.

As for the crawlspace, we just had foam insulation blown in up to the rim joists. It is soya base, closed cell and environmtally friendly. We saw a huge difference. It costs approx $3.25 to $3.50 a sqft, pricey but well worth the investment for both cost of heating and comfort.
We also added another gas fireplace in the family room and also leave the pilot on. This year has been a very rainy season and I have not used the humidifier.

Good luck in your project

Myka
February 7th, 2010, 11:58 AM
myka, storm drain and sewers are the same thing, and since erykah is in ontario and not Sask then you were wrong with the information you gave her..now if she were in sask you would have been correct..weeping tile is a bed of gravel down so many feet under the surface covering a certain thickness, a weeping tube is a black plastic tube with holes in it then covered in a cloth fabric allowing water but not dirt or gravel into the tube. In Ontario they are steering away from weeping tile as it doesn't steer the water away from the house..

Aslan, I am familiar with BC building codes. Never built a thing in Saskatchewan.

In BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan sewer lines and storm drains are different so that the rain water doesn't have to go through the processing plants like the sewage does. Are you sure the rain water runs in with the sewage in Ontario?? I've never been to Ontario, but processing all that rain water needlessly doesn't sound right. These days, I flush these lines professionally, so I am VERY familiar with how they work.

Weeping TILE is a baked clay hexagonal tube that comes in 14" sections. You lay down gravel, lay the clay pieces down next to each other and they make a tube. Bury them in gravel. The water will seep into the clay tubes, and run away to a pit or the storm drain - wherever you lay the tiles to go. THAT is weeping tile. You see it on older buildings/houses. What you are calling "tile" sounds pretty useless. In BC, the weeping tube is generally still called "weeping tile" as builders' slang since any loompa knows weeping TILE isn't around any longer. I am quite familiar with the black weeping tube, and its installation. ;)

ANYWAY...it doesn't sound like weeping STUFF is the cause of the OP's dampness.

aslan
February 7th, 2010, 12:55 PM
As a contractor i'm talking Ontario, not BC, or any other province. Since i'm pretty sure Erykah's house is older, she would have the old fashioned weeping bed.. But as already pointed out, it is dampness not sitting water so the whole thing is redundant.

buddingartist
February 7th, 2010, 02:03 PM
Erikah
I thought you would find this link useful reading

http://www.mikeholmesfanforum.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=28199

Cheers