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Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

I am preparing to *finally* refinish our basement. The purpose is to have a nice laundry room, pantry and clean storage. Right now, it's dank, filled with cob webs, and not very pleasant. It also has some minor seepage in small cracks in the concrete floor along with some yellowing/effloresence on the old block walls. I am moderately skilled at DIY -- have been updated home for last 12 years. But, where the basement is concerned, I'm stumped. I realize I have a bunch of questions, so if you can only answer a few, I completely understand and appreciate any input.

Here are my questions, if anyone is kind enough to respond/help:

There are some fine cracks in the concrete floor that I assume I need to fix first, do I use a concrete "plug" material?

The floors and walls were painted about 8/9 years ago with Dry-Lock -- it is yellowing/peeling in some spots, some black mold in two tiny spots, and the floor has peeled up in spots, how do I remove or prep the walls/floor in order to re-paint.

I was thinking about using the epoxy floor paint with colored chips for the floor, anyone have experience with that?

I was going to paint the ceiling, pipes and all, should I insulate these pipes first? Any other ceiling options -- they are about 7.5 feet tall.

  • I am going to insulate the rim joint/sill plate area first, any recommendations on using the rigid insulation or any other methods? Currently, there is moldy pink batting that must go.
  • If I frame in the basement (I may just leave the concrete block walls), I will use a pressure treated bottom plate but regular lumber for the studs and top plate. How do I attach the bottom plate to concrete floor and am I just asking for more water to come up? My basement has moisture but no flooding problem?

    This is a 1925 home in Rochester, New York -- think harsh winters, so any advice relevant to a Northeast climate is most helpful.

    Any other advice to prep or finish that I need to know.

    Thanks so much in advance for the help!

    Re: Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

    The first thing I would do if it was my house is to attack the moisture/water problem----this is NOT done, at least in the initial stages, by doing anything INSIDE the basement, but closely inspecting the OUTSIDE perimeter of the house to make sure all the rain/snow water diversion systems are in place & working correctly.

    The idea is to prevent as much as possible the accumulation of rain water & snow melt from soaking in around the house's outside perimeter-----are the roof gutters all in place, with no clogged downspouts so no "spillover" of rain water is happening; do the downspouts at the base of the building lead into a working pipe drain system, or do the downspouts have pitched horizontal plastic conductors that direct the roof runoff 10' away from the house foundation?

    Is there any concrete or stone "apron" or walkways surrounding the house that pitch away from the house & conduct rain/snow runoff AWAY from the foundation; is the ground at the foundation pitched AWAY from the foundation, or does it incorrectly pitch toward the house, allowing water to accumulate at the foundation?

    Personally, I wouldn't even THINK of remodeling the inside basement until you have addressed the issue of how to keep the cellar dry----it's clear you have basement water issues now that can only get worse in the future; it's fruitless to spend time & money making repairs on the INSIDE when water seems to be accumulating to some degree around the outside of the foundation; the water thru the inside cracks, the UGL Drylock on the walls & the black mold all point to moisture problems that should be addressed from the outside of the building before remodeling takes place; otherwise, you will spend lots of $$$$ on remodeling that will be later lost due to water damage.

    Watch the weather forecasts closely & plan to be home when the next rain storm comes; you don't have to wait for the next rain to check the roof/roof gutter system; simply take out the garden hose & soak the roof near the peaks or middle & closely watch the roof drains to see how well they collect & direct the water into the roof gutters, then down the downspouts, and away from the foundation; you should now be able to see "water runoff" with a fresh eye and be able to make any needed corrections.

    Every time it rains, many hundreds, if not thousands of gallons of water fall on your property, on or near your house----ask yourself, at YOUR house where does all this water go? There has to be some way that all this water is directed away from the building by underground or surface drain pipes (usually 4" plastic) that conduct the runoff into the street (if allowed by code) or into an underground "drywell" so that the basement stays dry.

    If your property is on a hill, or halfway up a hill, you may be lucky enough to have 4" drainpipes that conduct the water to the street, where if flows harmlessly down the hill; most other homeowners have to have a way of diverting the runoff away from the house, often into an underground catch basin known as a drywell.

    If you Google "Basement Blues" by Merle Henkenius you will get a "Google books faceplate" with a picture of a house that illustrates and points out all the items to check out to obtain a dry basement; also Google "You Tube Videos" "preventing a wet basement".

    Also Google "You Tube videos" "finishing a basement".

    There will be others who will chime in to address this and other aspects of your basement remodel project.

    Re: Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

    Hi Pelton...

    Thanks so much for your information. I have targeted the outside water issues before thinking about starting the inside projects. Before starting the project, though, I will do another round of checks to make sure the moisture problem is not an issue.

    I will definitely check out the YouTube videos and Google the book you mentioned.

    Thanks again!

    Re: Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

    Very well said !

    Work on the exterior first to fend off water.

    Re: Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

    Very well said.

    Re: Finishing a basement in 1925 Home

    Thanks for the input, I couldn't agree more. I have already addressed the outside water issues and, after several contractors/waterproofing spe******ts' visits, I am told that the small seepage in the floor (which only happens on occasion) is common in a house of my age and that I should use a concrete plug to prevent this in the future. Otherwise, I have done a great deal outside in preparation for the inside.

    So, with that done, I am looking for advice on what to do inside as the next step.

    Again, I appreciate the help!

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