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fholler 09-06-2012 04:34 AM

Materials for damp basement
Hi there,
I have a small basement that's a bit damp. I just use it as storage so I don't want to invest too much money damp proofing it. Currently there's a small untreated laminate wood staircase and wooden floor in there. Both are starting to gather mold, albeit slowly.
So I have 2 questions:
1. Is it best if I treat the staircase, or should I just leave it to breathe? If you recommend to treat it - with what product? Same question for the floor (but I couldn't treat both sides as it's fixed)
2. In time, I will probably have to change materials in there but as I said I am reluctant to invest too much. For the floor, I was thinking of some PVC decking materials. But for the staircase, I have no idea. Can I get aluminium staircases or something made for me??
Thanks for your help

daveb1 09-06-2012 06:45 AM

Even though you don't want to spend money on damp proofing, it would be the best use of your money. Find the cause of the dampness for starters, it might be as simple as extending your downspouts. If you are starting to notice mold, how much could there be that you don't see? And as you have noticed, your mold problem is getting worse albeit slowly. It wont go away on its own.

PoleCat 09-06-2012 08:08 AM

If you got money for an aluminum staircase then you can certainly afford to buy and run a couple of dehumidifiers. Actually you may only need one. Ours keeps the basement dry and fresh.

joecaption 09-06-2012 08:56 AM

All good ideas, no moisture, no mold.

Just a walk around most peoples homes anyone that knows what to look for can see simple things that are causing the mold in the first place.
Leaking, pluged up gutters, down spouts just dumping water right next to the foundation, no slope of the grade away from the foundation, cracked foundation, flower beds forming ponds, dripping outside faucet, mulch piled up againt the foundation holding in water.

DexterII 09-06-2012 09:16 AM

Keep in mind that building materials of all types frequently get wet, whether in transit, storage, or on the job site, and are still fine, so problems seldom arise from them getting wet, but problems will most assuredly will arise if they are allowed to remain wet or damp. Many times, the root cause can be traced to the types of things that Dave and Joe mentioned. Once you have assessed and addressed those things, see where you are at, and maybe a dehumidifier, as Polecat mentioned, will be necessary, or maybe one doesn't keep up, so you add a second one. This is where I would start.

user1007 09-06-2012 07:38 PM

I will chime in on the dehumidifier suggestion too. Get one or two if needed. Set one up with the drain tube to flow into a drain sink or sump well so you do not have to keep emptying it.

And let me offer a tip my former employer probably will not like. I used to be the PMT for a Sears store and at least half or more of the new ones sold were exchanged. Sears carried the same brands many others did so it was not a problem with them. Anyhow, I sent them for repair and rebuilding. When they came back I then placed them on the shelf in back of the appliances for half or so off. Look for them and you will find great units for a fraction of retail and with nice warranties.

I used to love going to Big Lots when there was one near. They also have really nice factory reconditioned dehumidifiers from time to time.

You are also at the end of peak season so there may be some nice deals out there.

LVDIY 09-09-2012 07:40 AM

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As others have mentioned, a dehumidifier is probably the cheapest and easiest way to control the humidity.

I would probably consider just ripping the wood floor out if it's in bad shape, assuming you have a concrete floor under it. Then, if you are only using the basement for storage, buy some plywood and 2x4's and make some platforms to keep everything you store off the ground and keep it a few inches away from the walls to prevent any water damage.

Are your walls finished at all, or is this basically an unfinished basement with a wooden floor?

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