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Old 10-29-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
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Help removing stink from basement


So my basement stinks like mold/mildew. We just purchased the house a few months ago and never really did anything about it as we've been pretty busy over the summer. There are a number of issues that might have been the cause. The basement flooded previously, the gutters have been clogged, the grading is incorrect, and the gutters are draining right against the foundation. All that being said, we're aren't getting any water coming in, except for some efflorescence on the walls. But I did notice mold growing on some leather items I put in the basement when we moved in. We've done some stuff to help the causes, but they won't really be fixed until we fix the grading. I'm wondering if it's worth my time to scrub down the walls with a bleach solution before winter starts to try to improve the smell.

Things we've done so far:

1) Put in a dehumidifier running constantly draining into the sump pump.
2) Cleaned the gutters
3) Added extended downspouts

Things we're planning to do in the spring:

1) Replace the gutters and reroute some of them ( some of them are in stupid locations )
2) Get a ton of dirt and stone to improve the grading around the foundation so it's sloping away, some spots are pretty bad.

So the root of my question is how to clean the basement. Should I just mix like 1 part bleach to 5 parts water, put it in like a garden spray thing, spray and scrub on the walls? Do I need rinse it? Do you think I'll be wasting my time if I do this before we fix the grading? Is there anything else you'd recommend? I've heard mixed reviews of applying like a drylock paint after you clean it. I think it'd help a lot with the moisture, but wouldn't the water end up staying in the concrete eventually causing cracks?

Any help is much appreciated, this is our first basement and excited to get it all straightened out so we can enjoy all the space we have down there and eventually finish it once we have all the moisture issues resolved.

Some pics below




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Old 10-29-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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Help removing stink from basement


I see a lot of this.

1) Keep the water away from the foundation. (sounds like your working on that.
2) Get a fan in there to keep the air moving. dead damp air = mold

3) Use the unscented bleach and mix 3-4- or 5 to one and spray. No need to scrub yet.

4) Repeat #3. You may not need to actually scrub at all and rinising off isn't really necessary for what I'm seeing in your pic.

Not a bad idea to get out of the house using bleach. Within a few hours it should dissipate. If anyone has alergies/reaction to chemicals keep them out of the house until the bleach smell is gone.

There are chemicals out on the market that will do the same thing as bleach. Maybe you want to look into those as well.

Just my 2˘

Edit, keep running the dehumidifier!

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Old 10-29-2008, 06:34 PM   #3
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Help removing stink from basement


The concentration ratios are okay, but you do not want to spray this solution under any circumstances as it will burn your sinus cavities big time. Simply use a roller to apply it. Put a fan in the window and wear a respirator designed for this. Seal off any openings to the rest of the house.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
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Help removing stink from basement


You are on the right track as far as controlling moisture and mold. Get a cheapo humidity gauge and see where you are at. You may need a second, or larger dehumidifier.

Are you sure the stink is from mold and mildew? Do you have any floor drains? Maybe water in the ducts? Stagnant water in the sump pit? Just things to think about.

Kudos on your water mitigation plan. Its exactly on target at this step of the game.

When you are ready to think aBout finishing your basement we did a series of shows on the topic. You can check them out here.
http://www.handyguyspodcast.com/tag/...nishing-series
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:21 PM   #5
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Help removing stink from basement


I was pulling down some of the insulation and noticed that it looks like there is a little bit of mold on the paper of the insulation and in some spots on the wood. It's very faint, you can't really notice it unless you shine a flashlight on it. But it sounds like I will need to replace the insulation.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:24 PM   #6
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Help removing stink from basement


I don't have any drains, but I do have a sump pump, but it has never run since I moved in. It's not connected to any drain tiles or anything, its just a hole in the ground with a pump. I haven't really stuck my head in the hole, but I'll check it out.

The smell is the worse that the top of the stairs when you first open the door. This is the only spot in the basement that has drywall. There is some mold on the bottom corner of it, I bet they put boots on the top step and water was getting into the drywall.

Ugh, what a mess. Did I tell you there were dead mice in the insulation too. It just gets better.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:28 PM   #7
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Help removing stink from basement


Ahh, dead mice. They will only stink for about a month, after that their fur will add to the R value of the insulation!
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:11 AM   #8
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I would get the dirt around the foundation yet this year before winter sets in. skidloaders can be rented,or wheelbarrows used, but it will help the very most. Stick lengths,,,long lengths of pipe over the gutter outlets for winter with enough slope to drain fast. Watch out if you have never used a skid loader before,,they can buck like a wild bronc.(and tip over),,,AND keeep the kids inside the house or at grandmas so you dont back over them.

buy another dehumidifier

I also read someplace that some sheetrock was made in china and contains some smells(from who knows what hidden inside),,,how old is this sheetrock???you speak of?? How old is the whole house??
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:15 AM   #9
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Help removing stink from basement


House was built in 1989, so it's relatively new. The drywall is only on the stairwell going down the stairs.

I'm thinking that a ceiling of insulation with mold on the paper would be pretty stinky...

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