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Old 07-27-2019, 08:40 AM   #1
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How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Long story short, I purchased a house last year and it's 20 years old. I tore up the existing partially finished basement and found some water marks on the walls. Since then I have taken steps externally to grade the land around the house, installing downspout extensions to take water away from house, installing window well covers and gutter cleaning. I then punched a few holes in the bottom of the front wall where I saw more of the moisture and water started flowing out. The basement is a floating floor as in there is a 4 inch deep trench running all around with 1 inch spacing from the wall. So the water did not come to the floor but ran in the trench. When I traced the area where I see moisture to the outside of the house I found it is exactly on both sides of the stairs leading to the house. I saw a few gaps there I then applied backed rod with Sika flex to gaps around that area. There are some left over spots that I will finish soon.

I then painted the whole basement with two coats of drylok. Now the question is that I have had several waterproofing companies recommend an interior French drain. But I also heard from one structural engineer that I should not have to worry since a) I have taken actions externally and b) the basement has not flooded before. He in fact suggested I even close up the weep holes I drilled.

Ironically the basement I demolished had metal studs but the basement finishing company I use now will be using wooden studs. I just came upon a video saying how metal studs are better. Well so much for hindsight. My questions are as follows:

1. Can I be reasonably certain that actions taken outside will help?
2. Do I need an interior French drain as recommended by basement waterproofing companies (and are expensive)?
3. Is there any additional barrier I can apply on the wall to prevent mold growth?
4. Should I close the weep holes as suggested by the structural engineer?

Thanks for your help.

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Old 07-27-2019, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


How old is the home?



Block wall foundation?
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous1977 View Post
1. Can I be reasonably certain that actions taken outside will help?
2. Do I need an interior French drain as recommended by basement waterproofing companies (and are expensive)?
3. Is there any additional barrier I can apply on the wall to prevent mold growth?
4. Should I close the weep holes as suggested by the structural engineer?
This may seem a bit sharp.

This is a nuanced situation that has been delved into in your other thread. You either disagree or are not satisfied with the advice given there, or are looking for a magic bullet that will give you reassurance. There exists none with water in a basement. So,

1. No, not with a backer rod and sealant.
2. Your call.
3. No.
4. Combines with #2 above.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:58 AM   #4
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


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Originally Posted by 3onthetree View Post
This may seem a bit sharp.



This is a nuanced situation that has been delved into in your other thread. You either disagree or are not satisfied with the advice given there, or are looking for a magic bullet that will give you reassurance. There exists none with water in a basement. So,



1. No, not with a backer rod and sealant.

2. Your call.

3. No.

4. Combines with #2 above.
Correct. I am not satisfied with the advice there. Hence this thread. If you have already commented there , you could hold off on commenting here.

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Old 07-27-2019, 08:08 PM   #5
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


If a foundation has water flowing out, if wall has water flowing over it, then there is too much water around the foundation. Grading helps but it's not THE answer. If I had given grading as an advice, I probably would have said try and see what happens or one of few options. I don't know if I did, just saying grading may or may not solve the problem.


I don't have big budget for my house. So I am going to try grading. 3 yrs in this house and don't see water, so betting that grading would add extra insurance for one of those 500 or 1000 year rain, such as down pour for hours for 3-4 days. I lived through one of those in nj about 10 yrs ago? Never had water in bsmt but that time.
But grading I'm going to do is bit different. I'm not going to disturb the soil. I'm going to get some inorganic soil, from some construction site, build slight slope where the deck will stand, then cover it with water proof material. Corrugated roofing or roll roofing. Then cover that with gravel or something. This way, water doesn't soak through the grading and goes away at least 8' or so from the foundation. This will be for the backyard which is flat. 3 other sides slopes a lot and not much water has a chance to stand and soak through much.


Lot said so far but that is my guess. I think the key is that water should flow over the surface of the grade. If water is soaking through, grading may not help much.
So, how much slope did you put there and is the soil compact and protected enough?


My advice would be to wait and see if the work you did worked. Or install inside french drain if you can't wait a few years. Only time will tell. If grading didn't work, you will have water again, on wall or under slab and neither is good.


As it is, I would not finish the wall, esp with wood studs. Assuming you have a french drain and sump pump, one way to keep extra moisture away from building materials is to cover the foundation with xps foam boards. Vertical glue beads so water drains. Seal the top and bottom outside edge. Then screw furring strips over the boards or stand the stud wall. If your hired company wants to put wood studs next to foundation, it is not looking out for you.



Even with this, bsmt can smell dank. NJ. In summers I used a dehumidifier in the finished room. My current unfinished bsmt, I just run a small fan 24/7. One of those small window fans with 2 blades through bsmt awning.


BTW, I'm not giving you hope, just what can happen and what I think. To me, hope equals murphys law.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


1.Go to the local big box store, grab about 10 day laborers. Give them shovels and have them dig around the foundation all the way past the footing. You need enough space to get in there and work.

2. Powerwash the dirt off the foundation.

3. Go to a roofing supply house and purchase Grace bituthene self adhering waterproofing (not ice and water shield). Its about 300 bucks a roll, covers about 180 square feet.

4. Chalk a line at the top of the foundation to have a stopping point.

5. Apply the bituthene, follow overlap guide printed on each roll. Cover entire foundation, let the bituthene cover over the footing all the way to the dirt.

6. Apply termination bar to top of waterproofing, then completely caulk over it. Could skip term bar and just caulk top edge of waterproofing membrane.

6. Protect new waterproofing. Either with drain board, rolled roofing, or whatever you can think of that wont fall apart when back filling.

7. Go back to big box home store get 10 labors and give them shovels, again. Have them back fill.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


If applied horizontally start at the bottom and work up so you overlap the correct way for watershed. If vertically installed then start on a corner, and cover the corner with half on one side, and half on the other.

If you have inside corners, always detail those with a piece first. Then cover it with the straight wall waterproofing.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous1977 View Post
Long story short, I purchased a house last year and it's 20 years old.

..... and b) the basement has not flooded before.
Wait 5 years and then you really know what the condition is.
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:07 PM   #9
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by lug-nuts View Post
If applied horizontally start at the bottom and work up so you overlap the correct way for watershed. If vertically installed then start on a corner, and cover the corner with half on one side, and half on the other.

If you have inside corners, always detail those with a piece first. Then cover it with the straight wall waterproofing.
Are you talking about an exterior solution?

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Old 07-29-2019, 08:08 PM   #10
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Yes, exterior repair. The best way, dont let the water destroy your foundation.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:46 PM   #11
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Re: How to prevent mold from basement walls before finishing?


Reading through your original post -- you said you found water marks on the walls after tearing out the original finishes. Did you have mold? or just see evidence that the foundation is/was previously wet?

Making a basement bone-dry and preventing mold (via excess condensation) are potentially two different topics.

One might have you chasing your tail and digging up an entire foundation. The other may involve being very careful with the wall assembly you put up.

That said, if you have water pouring in through holes you cut in the foundation, finishing the basement certainly sounds risky until you can remedy that.
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