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Old 12-09-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
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100 year old basement


Hi fellaz,

I just moved into my first home in York, Pa. The house was built in the early 1800s and the basement has never been remodled. I would love to clean it up and make a little workshop down there. My only problem is that the task of cleaning 100 years of dust and dirt seem overwhelming. I tried to take a broom to the wall and gently brush off a layer of dirt but the concrete that covers the stone wall of the basement started to fall apart.

I guess my question is:

Where do i start with cleaning up an old, very dusty, very dirty basement and fixing it up to be a clean work environment? Are there people who specialize in these sorts of things? I would like to eventually move my home-brewer's set down there but the environment would have to be semi-sterile. Can you even make a 100 year old basement "sterile"?

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question. I'm a first-time home owner who moved in last week... I'm a noob. Thanks!

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Old 12-09-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
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Why not leave the dust on the stone/brick foundation, and build nice new clean walls in front of them?

My first basement remodel (many years ago) was on an 1880's era house. We framed out the walls (leaving a 2" space). Then installed poly over the concrete, and plywood over that = Clean spaces.

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Old 12-11-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
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Sorry I took so long to respond, became violently ill for a couple days.

That idea sounds like an easy fix but it sounds like i'll loose quite a bit of square footage and what about the moisture between the 2 walls? My humidifier sucks about a gallon of water out of the basement every 2 days. I would think all that moisture would accumulate behind the walls and cause problems later down the road.

What do you think?

Anyone else willing to comment?

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:26 PM   #4
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There is moisture present in the majority of all basement's air. The point of leaving the 2" or even 3" space between the new wall, and the old foundation is to allow for air circulation of the moist air.
If you are experiencing unusual amounts of moisture, the causes should be remedied, or dealt with, prior to any remodeling/finishing work.

Based on the age of your basement, I'd suggest that if you do finish the areas off, that you use PT lumber, paperless drywall, and rigid foam insulation, as well as installing a dehumidifier with a direct draining feature (hose directly connected to a plumbing-drain line)
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:32 PM   #5
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Thank you for your response!

I was origonaly thinking the task of cleaning the basement would prove to be too intimidating for me but now that i've started it seems doable with a little persistence and patience.

I was in the basement this morning with a shop-vac, vacuming the walls from the floor to about 2 feet up so that i could keep my cats' litter boxes down there... i don't want them sticking their noses into all that dust. While i was sucking the cobwebs and grit off, chunks of the old concrete that covers the stone and brick started crumbling off in huge pieces.

I started thinking about maybe chipping it all off and applying a fresh layer and then sealing the new wall. Is this an option? Or is it way more complicated that just chippin off the old and slapping on some new?

I'm not looking to make anything pretty, just less jagged. All i need are walls that i can whipe down and clean but as it is now, the walls are a mix of brick covered in a 1/4" of aged concrete sitting on a gnarley stone base.

Building a new wall out of drywall sounds like a fine idea but if there was a more utilitarian way to go, i'd lean more towards that. If i could just strip the walls to their foundation and then seal them, that would be good enough for me... Of course i don't know the first thing about concrete or sealing a basement.

Thanks again for your suggestions and help, i really appreciate it!
Sorry for any spelling errors.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:57 PM   #6
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i want to drywall a room down in my basement how much would that run and is it hard???
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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Bejeezes,

Okay here is my slant on this and I recognize that you are a new homeowner and btw congrats on the new home. Now here is what I see and read Atlantic gave you some excellent advice and I think that is what I would opt to do because you stated that you wanted a semi sterile environment. You will never be able to wipe down the brick wall no matter what you intend to do you will always have to clean it off with a vac if you want to clean it. Now you could do some cool effects with the brick being exposed however you need to be able to wipe down the walls so that once again is out of the question.

Next, yes you could chip it all off and re coat with a stucco process however you need to know how to perform the steps associated with stuccoing and once again you will still not achieve a wipe able surface. The only way I see you achieving a wipable surface is to drywall this wall or cover it in some fashion. When it comes to design there are many options out there but the drywalling will be the most economical of all of them. You could design some things with glass, different metals or tile but I am guessing you are not seeking to dump a lot of money into it, am I correct? You could also strip down the walls and clean them with an acid wash as do masons but you will have to make suer that you get it to the point where it is ready for an acid wash. You could also call an area mason and get their input on the project but pay them for their time if they come out and you never intend to use them.

These projects are ones that are doable you just have to know how to do them. I also realize that is why you have come here but it is hard to see what it is that you have and give you the right steps for your specified project. Also you got some solid info from WB and that did not seem to wet your whistle but once again I think you know what you want to do so you are going to have to make the ultimate decision as to what it is that you want.

LAIN

It just all depends on what needs to be done and what the going rates are in your area. Each area varies in regards to how much things cost so you may be best to call a couple contractors in your area and you can tell them what your criteria is and they will tell you what their rate is or they will come out and give you an estimate.

Is it hard? Yes drywall is hard laborious work but a trained monkey can do it (notice I said trained). Drywall is not a finish material however a hack can really butcher the job bad which a good taper can fix however the good taper fixing uneven seems, excessive butt joints and blow outs can end up costing you a lot in the end. I have seen some jobs that have been done by homeowners that have been horrible atrocities and if you don't know find someone who does.

I realize that this is very vague and ONCE AGAIN you have come here to get DIY advice it just depends is what I am trying to say.

Good luck all and be safe.

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