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Old 08-25-2010, 01:26 PM   #1
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


Having a slightly moist basement myself, I have always wondered why so many people say you can't fix the problem from the inside. In my case, the basement walls are porous concrete block with a rather ineffective layer of 6-mil plastic on the outside. I don't have water streaming in anywhere, but the blocks do get moist at times, especially near the bottom of the wall. I'm guessing the plastic has been torn or punctured in places by settling back fill. It seems to me that if the inside surface of the wall could be sealed against water pressure, the water would find its way through the rest of the porous block down the footer drain or out the downhill side of the basement. BTW, I'm dealing with a walk-out basement here.

So what's the real reason for the negative view on sealing the inside? Is it simply impossible to do it with the products available? I have indeed seen many instances where DryLoc (and similar) paints have failed miserably. But certainly there should be other processes and materials that could do the job.

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Old 08-25-2010, 03:12 PM   #2
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


it takes a good man to learn from his own mistakes but it takes a better man to learn from others - the temptation's always ' they didn't do it ( right - fast enough - slow enough - use enough mtl - used too much mtl )

so for a base rule, let's agree you can stop if from the inside ( negative side ) however that's only as far's the eye can see,,, what's happening on the other side of the part you do see ? ask some of our clients who have their bsmt walls collapse ( implode ),,, the wtr still attacks the walls but the damage can't be seen till too late.

yes, there are instances in which an interior coating can be effective - my own house, for instance, just before we sell it,,, we'll fix the problem, disclose to the buyers, take the proceeds, & flee legal jurisdiction safe from lawsuits

the bldg code is still the culprit at its core - 6mil disintegrates & 3mil asphalt emulsion is, to say the least, never applied correctly - even if it is, its not elastomeric so crks develop,,, more than likely, reason vapor collects on the btm is that water runs downhill & is collecting at the base of your foundation wall where it sits & can't percolate easily thru the soils.

[ DryLoc = waste of time & $$$ im-n-s-h-fo ]

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Old 08-25-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


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so for a base rule, let's agree you can stop if from the inside ( negative side ) however that's only as far's the eye can see,,, what's happening on the other side of the part you do see ? ask some of our clients who have their bsmt walls collapse ( implode ),,, the wtr still attacks the walls but the damage can't be seen till too late.
So are you saying the water in the concrete block wall actually disintegrates the concrete? Hmmm, I'd think a lot of bridges with concrete footings would have fallen in the water by now.
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


i say just do it
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:01 PM   #5
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


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i say just do it
Some Tyvek and Fan Fold should fix it. That combo always keeps the water out.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:10 AM   #6
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


no, water alone isn't responsible for the damage to block - its the soluble acid salts in the soil,,, bdge crete is generally spec'd to be a higher compressive strength & more strict water/cement ratio thereby contributing to a stronger mix,,, water attacks bdges more often by scouring however those living in salt water environments should know of their dot's efforts to protect bdge crete via coatings & electronic anti-corrosion systems embedded in the crete either at construction or retro.

in general, the bldg code doesn't fully address the issue of habitable space below-grade in residential property,,, any worthwhile engineer/architect absolutely does on commercial work,,, then again, its difficult for a homeowner to increase his investment then cover it so his n-bors can't see it,,, also, in general, homeowners are less concerned w/quality & prefer flash.


tyvek & fan-fold below grade - better stick w/framing & siding, kwik ;-)

therefore, in the inimitable words of the previous poster, tomstruble, ' just do it ! '
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:16 AM   #7
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


Thanks for all the comments folks. Please excuse my ignorance, but what's Fan Fold?

I think I will "just do it" but on a small scale at first to see how it works. Here's my idea: A sodium silicate treatment of the block to help seal the pores, then a rigid closed-cell foam board covering taped at all seams, and finally a wood frame wall with cedar paneling. I've seen lots of troubles with drywall in basements, so I'll pay the premium for real cedar.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


Why: http://www.dnr.mo.gov/ENV/wrc/WaterProblems.htm

Why not: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...gs?full_view=1

Stopping the condensation on concrete: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...ent-insulation

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Old 08-26-2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


insulation foam that comes folded up - usually used in residing above grade on retrofit jobs.

what product(s) do you have in mind & how's that going to stop the wtr from penetrating your very fine foundation's block walls behind those pores you're closing from the INSIDE ( negative side ) ? ? ?

paying ' the premium for real cedar ' makes about as much sense as peeing into the wind while wearing new slacks but that's just me,,, suffice to say, if you're not interested in fixing the problem properly, no amount of $$$ will save your embarrassment when the wife sez ' what happened, mr genius ? ',,, have any idea how much it will cost to have this problem fixed properly in the future ?

decent links, gary, but about as useful as my posts,,, some have to learn the hard way

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Old 08-30-2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


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suffice to say, if you're not interested in fixing the problem properly, no amount of $$$ will save your embarrassment when the wife sez ' what happened, mr genius ? ',,, have any idea how much it will cost to have this problem fixed properly in the future ?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to get by without fixing the problem. I just don't want to do more than necessary. The block walls in my basement are only slightly moist, and that's only when I don't have A/C or a dehumidifier going. I assume they will stay moist behind a vapor barrier. But seriously, how is that moisture going to melt them away?

My first act has been to install gutters and downspouts with the water carried to the downhill side of the house in 4" corrugated plastic pipe. That alone may dry out the block walls. If so, I'll probably just use a vapor barrier on the block and frame in walls over that. Cedar, being more water tolerable than most woods, would seem to be the material of choice for the interior wall surface. Seems to me that plain gypsum board would not be so good.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:47 PM   #11
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Basement moisture - why not seal inside wall?


this is our professional work & i only posted what i would tell any of our clients is necessary,,, ' how is that moisture going to melt them away? ' could be the temp differential between wall & basement - do a moisture test 1st.

gutters/downspouts is always a good idea but won't ' heal ' the underground waterways if that's the cause.

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