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Concrete Block Interior Needs....SOMETHING

988 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  joecaption
We have a 1970's concrete block house with some painted paneling on the interior walls.
I'm noticing that, in places where we have a piece of furniture (especially the bedrooms, which aren't heated), there is condensation forming. If a bed is up against the wall the covers and sheets actually get soaked and the paneling is starting to fall apart where it's getting damp. Short of having all the furniture in the middle of the room I'd like to do something with these walls.
I'd like to pull the paneling off and then seal and paint the walls. I don't *think* putting up drywall is the answer with the dampness but I'm not sure.

Has anyone had any experience with this sort of interior issue and what have you done about it? What products did you use?

I've been looking online but everything is very modern, industrial looking and we have a funky old house on a farm with a limited budget.

Hope this is the correct forum...if I need to move this, please let me know.
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Welcome to the forum Dazi.

"1970's farm house says it all"; Probably built very loose with lots of drafts everywhere. When the warm air in the house meets the cold concrete and paneling plus not properly insulated/vented you're going have moisture condensation issues for sure.

Get a barometer and see what the level of moisture is. Normal levels in living areas are around 30-40 percent.

Couple of suggestions that won't break the budget; Air circulation like a ceiling fan/oscillating fan and dehumidifier may help with controlling some of the condensation. Make sure areas of moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, are properly vented when in use. Limit use of humidifiers regardless of what room they are in.
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Jmon nailed it.

I would also add that your house undoubtedly has poor drainage around the foundation and lacks any kind of drain tile to direct water away from the house. In the 70's they likely didn't even waterproof the exterior of the foundation before backfilling. On a budget, I would do as jmon suggested and see if that helps. If it doesn't help, you likely have bigger issues going on such as the aforementioned drainage, tile, waterproofing issues and those fixes will cost in the thousands.......
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Thanks, guys. I think I'll go throw up now. :-(
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Common problem where I live as most houses here are solid masonry.
You need the right balance with heating, ventilation and insulation of the walls.
Insulated plasterboard is often used on the walls.
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Get a barometer and see what the level of moisture is.
Barometers measure air pressure. While they are sometimes sold combined with a humidity meter, it's the relative humidity meter that's important in this case.
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It's a common problem in any structure, concrete, wood, steel or other, that most don't realize until damage has been done. With wood the moisture usually goes un- detected because of it absorbing the water. To be most effective, any insulation needs to be on the exterior to keep walls above dew point.

To solve the immediate problem remove the paneling and heat the rooms so the interior wall temperature is above dew point temperature or dry the air below dew point temperature. Learn how to check dew point temperature and forget about the ever popular hygrometers on the world market.

This link is handy.
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I own one like that.
Some of the first things I did was dig out for a french drain that runs out to the ditch by the road.
Waterproofed the slab to block joint with foundation sealer.
Installed gutters with there own solid PVC 4" PVC drain.
Changed the grade.
Once done I installed all new constrution windows that I spaced out from the wall with Advantech strips.
I had all the block voids filled with expanding foam.
I then strapped the walls and filled in between them with 3/4" foam board and went over the whole wall with house wrap and vinyl siding.
On the inside I did almost the same thing, strapping, all new wiring, foam then 6 mil. plastic and drywall.
While I had everything ripped apart anyway I also replace all the old steel plumbing with Pex.
Once done my heating bill was cut in 1/2, no more moisture, no more drafts, and a tiny house I had payed $50.000 for is now valued at $110,000.
I did all the work myself except for installing a new panel and wiring up the panel for a generator.
Total cost was about $3000.00 for inside and out.
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