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Old 10-08-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


I hope I'm doing this posting correctly, it's my first time.
Anyway, my husband and I have found a very nice, but old townhouse that we would like to rent, but the only drawback is that the basement has a dirt floor, and it's damp in some parts. I don't believe the problem's too severe because I haven't smelled any mold or mildew.

I'm only looking to use it for storage, but I just didn't want our belongings directly on the dirt floor. One member suggested using pallets and plywood which is cool and inexpensive, but what can I do about reducing the moisture level.

I have a son who does construction work so he could help me with whatever good suggestions you have.

Thanks
TM

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Old 10-08-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


To stop moisture coming up thru the dirt put down a 6 mil thick layer of poly (plastic)
If you can do it in one piece that would be ideal
Since you are renting the pallets/plywood would be inexpensive
Before putting anything to valuable down there make sure it doesn't get wet in heavy rains

Might also run it by the landlord see if they will pick up the cost of the plastic
I'm not how big a piece you need...or how much $$ it will cost
But might not be that much $$

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Old 10-08-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


Plastic is probably the cheapest way to go as mentioned, and is effective as long as the seams are properly sealed with special tape and properly sealed against the walls. You should figure out where any water is coming from first.

If there is water in the crawlspace there will be some mold/mildew and it is not an ideal place for storage unless the above is addressed.

A dehumidier can make the space much improved.

I think this is something you should address with the landlord. You might be willing to do the dirty work in exchange for something from him.

Finally, you might want to be aware of the radon level with a dirt floor if you're in an area that's prone to radon.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:15 AM   #4
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


6mil's old school but still works,,, if spec'd, we'd pick 2 layers of it at right angles to each other,,, preferable is stego 15mil,,, i wouldn't bet radon's an issue unless you decide to LIVE there
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:24 AM   #5
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


Quote:
Originally Posted by walkman View Post
Finally, you might want to be aware of the radon level with a dirt floor if you're in an area that's prone to radon.
Ditto Tests kits are fairly inexpensive. The plastic would be almost a necessity to help contain it if it is present in dangerous amounts.
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:48 AM   #6
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


all good advice. i like the idea of running 2 layers of the poly in opposite direction.. i should remember that when doing my basement. the "special tape" used to connect 2 pieces of poly together, or poly to a framing member, is brand name "Tuct Tape". sell in HD for $10 a roll.. expensive, but its the only stuff that works. the roll is RED in colour. overlap two pieces of poly by at least 6" when you have to connect them together (finding one piece of poly large enough for a basement is probably impossible for DIY'er with no wholesale depot contacts). it is equally important that there be a tight seal where the poly meets the wall. you run the poly up the wall a bit and seal it with the tuct tape and staples (with the tape going over the staples to seal those holes).

a dehumidafyer might be a good idea in your case if it is just damp with no water.

you can seal the foundation walls with paint on dryloc (typically for masonary bloc constructed basements).

for storage, i would stick with plastic as it is water proof & can seal in the materials when the lid is closed (doubt its a perfect seal though..)

you can get plastic utility shelves anywhere, and plastic tubs from walmart.

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Old 10-09-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


we always used silicone to seal the o'lapp'd edges,,, acrylic caulk ages & doesn't hold well & neither did dble-fac'd tape,,, quikly admit no experience w/'tuct tape' & bow to knuck's expertise,,, lemme repeat drylock isn't of any use to us below grade on an interior surface,,, we'd install power'd fans in the foundation vents & control 'em w/humidistat,,, we silicone the barrier to the wall, too.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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inexpensive way to make a damp dirt basement functional


To all responders, thank you for the many suggestions. I see that I am going to love this site.
Meanwhile, when I fgure out which single or combination of options to go with, I'll be sure to keep you all posted.

Stay cool,
TM

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