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TjbDIY 08-28-2009 08:53 AM

The award for the dampest, smelliest basement closet goes to...Pics enclosed.
I'm looking for help in how to handle a damp, and horribly smelly basement closet / storage space. It was full of "stuff" until about 3 weeks ago when I realized the contents were all damp and for the most part ruined. I pulled all the "stuff" out of it and have been running a dehumidifier and fan ever since. The dehumidifier has sucked gallons of water out, but it still feels damp, and still stinks.

Here are some pics:
Outside of closet
Looking in
Looking back in, closet is under a staircase.
Close-up of the plywood. This is on an outside wall, the other side on the exterior is covered by a concrete staircase, as such I can't see what it looks like on the other side. When touched this plywood feels "spongy".

I suspect the water comes in from the top of the concrete stairs on the other side of the closet, here are some more pics for context:

There are definitely gaps where the water that runs off the roof and on to the top of the stairs could run down the back of the stairs - I bet this is how that plywood shown in the original pics got soaked ( and moldy ).

What's my best bet for stopping water getting down the back of those stairs? Can I caulk that gap where the stairs meet the siding?

Any ideas on what my best plan of action would be? Plans that don't cost an arm and a leg are always appreciated. :)


Thurman 08-28-2009 03:59 PM

I'm not familiar with this type construction, we just don't have basements around here. From the exterior pics, I see concrete basement walls and then what appears to be Hardie Board siding. The plywood you are referring to appears to be OSB to me, small detail, and does look to be moldy. Now, if the top of the basement walls in the exterior pics are the same as the tops of the concrete walls in the interior pics, the OSB is behind the exterior siding below the door. Or did I miss something? I've only seen basement walls poured in the Atlanta area. I have seen contractors spray what appears to be "tar" on the exterior walls and was told this was a "vapor barrier" for the concret. Is there any chance you DO NOT have any vapor barrier below grade? The concrete steps do look familiar to me, they appear to be pre-fabbed concrete steps. If so they were made off-site then brought to the home site to be installed and are not part of an individual pour, nor attached to the basement wall. Water could certainly run off the top "porch" part and down between the steps and basement wall. How would it get behind the siding though? The siding to the left and right of the door appears to have had some degradation caused by water, and has been painted over. SO, water has been infiltrating this siding in some manner, IMO. My eyes (60 yrs.old) can't quite make out the detail of the siding or board just below the door, as far as what it is and how it has been attached to prevent water infiltration. The siding to the left and right of the "porch" appears to have been cut to allow fitting of the "porch" into the siding, bad idea to me. An invitation for water infiltration. So many problems there. You are going to spend some time, hopefully, to solve all of the possible water infiltration areas and make this basement as water-tight as possible. Good Luck, David

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