CHAPTER 8- REDUCING THE MOISTURE

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1 CHAPTER 8- REDUCING THE MOISTURE I ve learned many different ways to cut down on moisture and dampness over my many years of being a homeowner. All those tips I ve included right here for you so that you don t have to go through the long process of trial and error that I needed to go through. You ll be glad you just read this book instead of trying to tough it out alone. Waterproof Membranes A waterproof membrane is a thin layer of material that goes between the concrete and the flooring of your home. That means it would go directly on the concrete layer. This is perfect for homes with concrete floors because that extra layer pushes moisture away because it s a type of liquid itself. It keeps out other moisture but it can become degraded or compromised over time. That s why it s important that you continually check for damage or moisture throughout your basement, including on the floors. Damp Coursing If you have damp walls or musty walls then you re going to want to do anything you can to keep that moisture out. One of the easiest methods of doing just that is to apply waterproofing paint to the bottom two feet or your walls. It actually helps to repel the moisture and keep your basement dry and all you

2 need to do is paint your walls with it. How much easier could that be? Waterproof Membranes On the Walls The same membranes we told you to put in your floors can also be put in your walls. It is very simple and very inexpensive as far as waterproofing methods go. You just buy extra from what you were going to put in your floors anyway. Then you apply it to the walls and let it air dry. This membrane will actually dry into a material that s harder than your concrete foundation and it will keep out moisture easily. We have more to say but that s still to come. Air Bricks If your basement is airtight you might think you re safe from moisture but you re actually not. You probably experience more dampness in your basement than those with less airtight basements do. This is because you are keeping out the warmth and a lot of ventilation. That ventilation and warm air help to get rid of moisture more quickly so you actually end up with not only moisture after all, but moisture that stays for a long time. Unfortunately for you this means that mold grows more easily in your damp, musty basement and that s definitely not something you re going to want to encourage. You want to protect your basement from that moisture and the best way to do that is to install air bricks. That s because these bricks will allow air to flow throughout your basement. Keep in mind that

3 these are still bricks however and that means they won t compromise the integrity of your basement. They ll only increase air flow. You re not going to replace all of your bricks with air bricks. You re only going to create a row of them that will allow some air but not too much. What you need to do is find a height that works best for your home. That means it needs to be above the possible water level so you don t allow water to seep in through the walls but not too high that it doesn t get enough air into your basement. You ll have to do some research to find the exact right height. Water Socks These are likely what you re already thinking of. They are a type of mesh material that helps to absorb moisture. If you ve ever walked over a wet floor in your socks you know what these water socks are. The sock is installed around the house into the soil. Next you install a layer of gravel over the sock

4 and then add the soil back in. This helps to absorb a large amount of water because it has to be absorbed into the soil then make its way through the rock and then it s absorbed by the water sock. These socks can actually absorb large amounts of water into them and then as the soil gets dry the water is gradually released. This method is quite invasive since you have to dig up the soil around your basement but it can work very well. Unfortunately it doesn t work perfectly and you will have some seeping water and dampness. That s why this is best as a combination approach with something else. It will work better if you also use another interior or exterior barrier. Solid Membranes We ve already talked about liquid membranes for your floors and your walls but there is another method of using membranes. These are called solid membranes and they are actually very different from what we ve just talked about. A liquid membrane is applied to the floor or walls and becomes solid so that water cannot get through and doesn t dampen or floor your basement. This is actually a type of diversion rather than a prevention technique. A solid membrane is laid down over the regular basement flooring and then it diverts water away. It actually has small pockets in its plastic construction which gather the water together and then divert it through the drains in your basement. You need to make sure that this is installed in the

5 right place so that it collects the water that comes into your house even if you decide to install a floor on top of it. You need proper drainage and proper placement to ensure this happens. Don t Leave Cracks In order for your barrier system to be most effective you re going to need to keep your entire basement free of cracks. You need to remember that water is very capable of getting through the smallest of cracks and gaps so make sure every crack is filled in. You don t want to leave any way for that water to seep into your basement and ruin all your hard work. You want to make sure you are locating every single crack in your basement. That means even the ones that are a millimeter wide. You ll want to fill them in with either caulk or epoxy to ensure that water can t get through them. Either one will work quite well and are waterproof however they do have slight differences in other areas. An epoxy is an adhesive seal which works even on wet surfaces so if your basement is already damp this will still apply and seal the cracks. It may also be able to be applied to wood or hard plastic as well as concrete. Caulk on the other hand is made out of a silicone material. This is a little less flexible in areas that it can be used and surfaces as well. Make sure you find and fill in any cracks before you apply interior sealants or you ll defeat the purpose entirely.

6 Exterior Waterproofing One of the easiest ways to help the exterior of your home is to apply asphalt however it s important to understand this is only a temporary fix and it will need to be replaced with something that lasts very quickly. Dehumidifiers These are great for nearly any home and though they are not 100% effective (unless you spend a lot of money on a very high quality one) they are very helpful. These help to draw moisture out of the air so that the inside of your basement stays dry and you can reduce mold or mildew. If you have either of these you should definitely get a dehumidifier even if you re using other methods of moisture control. Finding out where the moisture is really coming from is the first step so you ll know where to put your dehumidifier. It will work through a large area but if you place it properly from the start you ll have less problems with your problem areas later on. We ll give you some more information on dehumidifiers later on. Don t Forget to Paint Painting is actually very beneficial for keeping out water and moisture. You may not realize it but that waterproof paint keeps water and moisture off your walls for quite a while. So

7 if you re getting some problems with moisture think about repainting your basement with a quality waterproof paint. Diversion Works Outside your home there is plenty that can be done to prevent moisture in your basement as well. The landscaping of your home actually has a lot to do with how water gets in. If you have a lot of water that moves towards your house or that seems to pool up next to your house then you re not optimizing your landscaping. In fact, you re doing the opposite of what you should be doing in terms of your landscaping. Try to arrange plants or other objects so that water flows away from your home. You can also check your roof at the same time to ensure water that comes off the roof is being pushed away from the house. It should flow into the gutters and your gutter drains should point away from your home and not be diverted back by any of the landscaping they encounter after that. You need your gutter to work at all times and to take water approximately five feet from the house so it doesn t seep into your basement. Utilize Gravel Gravel is very cheap which makes it an excellent tool for improving the absorption of your landscaping. It doesn t always look the best however so many people don t want to use it. What it does however is filter water and absorb a large

8 amount of it so most of it won t get into your home. This can be added right around your foundation so when water starts seeping towards your basement the gravel begins to absorb it. You re not going to get away with installing gravel and nothing else since this is only a partial fix. It won t keep your basement from flooding entirely. It s only going to cut down on the amount of moisture that gets in. Make sure you re using another barrier system along with this to improve your results drastically.

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