Help with unfinished basement

Discussion in 'Bricks, Masonry and Concrete' started by muzikmaan9, Sep 11, 2019.

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  1. Sep 11, 2019 #1

    muzikmaan9

    muzikmaan9

    muzikmaan9

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    Nick here, new member. Just inquiring about the basement in my new house. I basically just want it decent enough to be able to store some things, play drums, and workout. Here's its' story:

    About 400sq ft below grade 13ft ceiling, concrete floor, cinderblock walls, also with two connected smaller cemented in craw spaces higher up at/above grade.

    Seems like a pretty dry basement. Previous owner mentioned seeing "a couple tiny puddles" over the years and just last May 2019 installed a french drain system w/sump pump. Previous owner drylok'd about half of the walls.

    Fast forward to me moving in July 2019. From experience, seeing that every downspout aimed right at the foundation, one of the first things I did when I moved in was extend every spout 5ft. I noticed an area on the walls was discolored and the drylok chipping so I took a scraper and chipped off any loose parts. Some tiny spots had the cinder block deteriorating just a tad w/efflorescence, so I cleaned each spot out w/masonry cleaner than patched with hydraulic cement. The area in question is I believe the same area the main water source comes in to the house and feeds all areas including the sprinkler system.

    I had an "expert" come check out the basement and tell me the walls with the discoloration and chipping will still have moisture problems only being able to be fully rectified by excavation from the outside and installing their own brand french drain/sump pump. My wife and I just moved in. I'm sorry but excavation of any sort is NOT an option, nor will it be for a long time. The "expert" than stated that I may be fine for years to come if I just get a dehumidifier and just keep an eye on the walls.

    My question is the preservation of the foundation. I don't plan on finishing the room, but I also do not want to run into foundation issues in the future. Only thing I definitely want to do is use a penetrating sealer for the floor, than maybe a floor coating(epoxy?) so that I can do the things I want to do like workout, play drums, store some things etc... but what is in my best interest regarding the walls, if anything? If pictures are absolutely necessary, I'll try to upload.

    Nick
     
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  2. Sep 12, 2019 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    There is no right answer here. So i will just give you some things to help you understand what is happening.
    If the wall had a good damp proofing on the outside and a good drain on the outside the wall would be dry.
    So we know one or both have failed. With that in mind your contractor was right.
    The alternative to that is to trench around the inside and out dig a drain under the floor to a sump and drape the wall so all the water is caught and directed to the below floor drain.
    The other thing to think about, is it might be just a small leak and the heat inside the basement is drawing it thru the wall causing what you see
    Often the block walls are not filled with concrete so if you are seeing this water somewhat up the wall, the block below that area could be full of water.
    It is important to find out what it is and how bad because if the drain is plugged and the dirt outside is filling with water, it could be adding tons of pressure on the wall that it was never designed to retain.
    Is it an IR camera that measures heat, after a rain and you see dampness you could use the camera, I would think if the wall is full of water it will be cooler where the water.
    You could stick a good size piece of 3" foam board over the area and seal it to the wall and remove it have it has turned cold outside.
    Then if you have water behind it. it would be a leak and not caused by heat in the basement.
     
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  3. Sep 12, 2019 #3

    Steve123

    Steve123

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    I also agree that your "expert" was basically correct in saying it would have to be addressed from the outside. IMHO any sealers, drylok, paint, etc on the inside is only playing games and waste of effort. Since you have already decided not to go to the expense of exterior work, I would say don't worry about it. So long as you don't try to finish the basement, it will be fine. When you get a strong rain event --- like 2" in 12 hours --- that will give you a good indicator of extent of any problem.
     
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  4. Sep 12, 2019 #4

    muzikmaan9

    muzikmaan9

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    Awesome thanks for the replies. Little extra info on the house:

    Its only 24 years old, and when it rains, all the walls feel dry except for the one corner which is in fact cool to the touch. That area has the staining and paint chipping. Some spots are pinkish, some brownish(acid in soil?). I haven't seen a drop of water anywhere on walls or floor. I'm wondering if the new french drain system installed just a few months ago plus the downspout work I did alleviated some of the houses' previous issues and I should be ok? I certainly will not be painting drylok over those areas in question. I would love that area to look a little nicer, but I'm under the impression there's nothing I can do cuz the walls need to breathe.

    Can you guys comment on the floor aspect I was inquiring about? I already went around and filled in the few hairline cracks. I want to keep moisture at a minimum of course. I did the plastic sheet test for two days and found no moisture on either side of the 10 small pieces I taped down all around the floor. I also have a moisture meter and the highest reading a got around the floor was about 7%, most read about 4 or 5%. Am I good with this course of action:

    -clean any dirt and take a vacuum to it
    -use a deep penetrating sealer first
    -use an epoxy coating (or something like elastomeric? what's best?)
    -buy a dehumidifier, and run the output hose of that into the sump pump well

    Call it a day with that?
     
  5. Sep 12, 2019 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Your floor sounds good, never impressed with paint. I would seal it with the water based sealer you would do a driveway with.
     
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  6. Sep 13, 2019 #6

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

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    Have you taken any moisture readings on the walls?
     
  7. Sep 14, 2019 #7

    muzikmaan9

    muzikmaan9

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    nealtw - are either of these good picks for me?...

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ghostsh...er-Waterproofer-Plus-Densifier-9500/205212663

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ghostsh...-Plus-Water-and-Salt-Repellent-8500/205212675

    oldognewtrick - yes I have, most walls have readings below 12%, but there is a corner like I mentioned before that has much higher and discoloration. The previous owner did not extend any gutter downspouts (which I just did recently), and the perimeter could use some re-grading in that exact corner. Rest of the walls are in great shape. He did drylok most of the walls though couple years ago, but theyre all mostly fine with zero chipping, discoloration except for that corner.
     

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