what's up with my basement walls, moisute? mold? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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We are trying to prep our walls for treatment with a sealer, either drylock or better. There are some discolored areas of dark spots (moisture?) and white lines (salt effusesience?), and we are wondering if speaks to water intrusion, and if a sealer is sufficient or if we should be taking other measures.

Pictures are easier - what do you think?

Dark areas-

Dark areas by stairs, mold?

A clean stair? To compare

A broader picture


The dark areas are most common on the wall by the stair. But crop up in other areas. The white lines are scattered around everywhere.

My wife wire brushed some areas, and it is tremendously cleaner, as you can sort of see in the last pic.

Thanks for looking, let me know if you have thoughts.
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post #2 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 09:01 AM
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How old is the house? How long have you lived in it and have you noticed any water pooling after heavy rains??

Those white lines sure look like water stains. They could have occurred during the construction process (if it rained) and shouldn't raise any issues, If they occurred after construction then some more detective work is needed.


Those dark spots on the wood could have actually been on the wood before it was cut and formed into a step. Just spray with a bleach solution, brush with a stiff brush, let dry completely (like a week) and then apply a good primer sealer.

I see that the carpenter took a real short cut and certainly didn't assume that anyone was going to come along and actually finish the basement. If this was going to be his house you would see some kind of a 2x4 stud wall between the stairs and the foundation already in place. As is it will be a real PITA. You may want to take apart and redo. Show us a pic of the entire stair structure.
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 09:40 AM
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If the white areas are powdery, and scrub off with a white brush, they are efflorescence, which is caused by salts being brought through (from the concrete or soil on the other side of the wall) by water.
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Good point about the stairs. We're not sure about that.

We've been in the house 2.5 years. We are the first owners. It has been dry since we bought it, although it was a close one in the sump pit one spring. Our town is pretty much a swamp, so the water table is high. A few neighbors flooded out that first spring, ours was like an inch or two away in the sump pit. Pumps went in today.

To be honest, we never saw the white lines until we cleaned up a section. Then we saw them EVERYWHERE. I am sure it rained during construction, so maybe that is the source. Its going to be a PITA to brush them down to seal, but we want to address problems on the front end, so if we need to do anything else now is the time.

I'll put up a pic of the rest of the stairs tonight. We have people working down there right now. The stairs weren't the only place we weren't helped by the builder. The furnace is being moved right now, and all the duct work redone. Pics of that process will go in my build thread this weekend. Expensive but necessary.
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 10:30 AM
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It looks good to me. I would just spray a bleach solution let it dry and than brush vacuum the walls. If you have never seen or smelt moisture you are good to go for drylock.

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post #6 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 11:02 AM
 
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I have a home that is 1 year old. I had streaks on the wall after the home was built but the builder cleaned them off before insulating the walls. Also take note that poured concrete walls should NOT have drylok applied to them. Drylok is for pourous surfaces. The only way a poured concrete wall will leak is if there is a serious crack and drylok will do nothing for that.
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvavsforum View Post

Also take note that poured concrete walls should NOT have drylok applied to them. Drylok is for pourous surfaces. The only way a poured concrete wall will leak is if there is a serious crack and drylok will do nothing for that.

\\

can you explain????

My walls were poured and the drylock went on with no effort and is doing fine.
This is from their site:

Latex Base DRYLOK® Masonry Waterproofer is a low odor, water clean-up formula for waterproofing all interior, exterior, above or below grade masonry walls, cinder and concrete blocks, stucco, brick, retaining walls, basements, concrete swimming pools and foundation. No pre-mixing or pre-wetting necessary.
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post #8 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 12:02 PM
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Depending on when the walls were poured, the concrete manuf. could have put in some additives to help the concrete solidify when its below freezing. When some moisture comes in contact with it, some of the additive will come out and cause some white streaking. Nothing to worry about, just the side effect to it. I think a good cleaning and allowing to dry will take care of it. As for the wood, like the others stated, put some bleach and water on it, scrub it off, and allow to dry.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 01:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

\\

can you explain????

My walls were poured and the drylock went on with no effort and is doing fine.
This is from their site:

Latex Base DRYLOK® Masonry Waterproofer is a low odor, water clean-up formula for waterproofing all interior, exterior, above or below grade masonry walls, cinder and concrete blocks, stucco, brick, retaining walls, basements, concrete swimming pools and foundation. No pre-mixing or pre-wetting necessary.

My builder told me not to use Drylok on smooth poured concrete walls because it will not prevent a leak. He did recommend using it on block walls because they are pourous. If a poured wall leaks, it has a serious crack and drylok won't stop it. Is this incorrect?
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post #10 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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In another thread Soundood mentioned that drylok is a masonry product (primarily?), and recomended another product (hard to find) for poured concrete. Given his background, I pm'd him and asked for his comment on this thread, though it sounds like our walls are okay for building and/or sealing.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0d#post9467960

Good comments and advice all. This is very reassuring.
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 05:07 PM
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Okay. The white streaks are probably effluoresence but could also be mineral stains from a previous leak or from when the house was built. The darker areas are probably from where the forms were released and likely not growth. Also, remember that even if you don't see water actually coming out of the concrete, it may be putting a large quantity of water vapor into the house, raising the humidity levels and eventually causing growth. See it all the time.

The stains on the stairway treads are mold...that should be remediatiated. Likely it is caused by high moisture vapor levels coming from the concrete (any wood in contact or extremely close proximity to unsealed concrete should be pressure treated). Bleach is NOT what you want to spray on mold on a porous surface like wood...it does not kill it and will likely make it worse. You want an EPA registered fungicide.

On the concrete, Drylok isn't my favorite for concrete...it is better for block walls.
I prefer something that is specifically designed for solid concrete walls and slabs...namely Kryton. I'd look at doing a coating with Kryton.

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post #12 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvavsforum View Post

My builder told me not to use Drylok on smooth poured concrete walls because it will not prevent a leak. He did recommend using it on block walls because they are pourous. If a poured wall leaks, it has a serious crack and drylok won't stop it. Is this incorrect?

Your builder is correct. If a poured wall has leaks, Drylok will not stop it. You need a product specifically designed for poured concrete walls and slabs. Again...Kryton. They use it on Dams, I'm sure it will work on your home.

Also, if anybody needs any of the Kryton products, PM me. Kryton is located up in Vancouver B.C. and since we are just south of the border, I either have it in stock or can get it in a day or so.

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post #13 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundood View Post

Your builder is correct. If a poured wall has leaks, Drylok will not stop it. You need a product specifically designed for poured concrete walls and slabs. Again...Kryton. They use it on Dams, I'm sure it will work on your home.

Also, if anybody needs any of the Kryton products, PM me. Kryton is located up in Vancouver B.C. and since we are just south of the border, I either have it in stock or can get it in a day or so.

I'm glad you concur. Makes sense to me. The poured wall is treated on the outside already anyway. Using drylok on poured concrete walls is just a waste of money IMHO.
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post #14 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 07:51 PM
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SOME STUFF on the WEB to fuel the debate of using bleach:


Mold, Housing and Wood
Coreen Robbins, Ph.D., CIH
Senior Industrial Hygienist
Veritox, Inc.
Jeff Morrell, Ph.D.
Mycologist
Oregon State University
This paper was prepared by Coreen Robbins, Ph.D., CIH and Jeff Morrell, Ph.D., at the request of Western Wood Products Association in order to address some common questions about mold and wood. The findings and conclusions contained in the paper represent the work of the authors, not WWPA. WWPA assumes no responsibility for any action or inaction based on the content of this paper, including any liability for damages arising out of failure to remove mold.

Published in 2001, revised January 2006.

Excerpt:

Can I clean the mold from the wood?

The decision to clean mold from lumber depends on the amount of mold present and how likely it is to be disturbed. In nearly all cases, mold cleaning should be undertaken only after any moisture problems are resolved.

For any mold clean up that may generate large amounts of dust, basic personal protection equipment such as rubber gloves, eye protection and a high-quality pollen or dust mask should be worn. Clean-up of small spots or areas of mold generally does not require any special protective equipment.


There are a number of products on the market, from commercial mildewcides to common bleach, which are promoted for removing mold from wood. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests using mild detergent and water for most mold clean up. For cleaning wood surfaces, the EPA recommends wet vacuuming the area, wiping or scrubbing the mold with detergent and water and, after drying, vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum (EPA, 2001).

The molds seen on lumber are largely a collection of fungal spores on the surface of the wood. As such, wet wiping or scrubbing the lumber will remove the mold.

Simply wiping the wood, however, can release those spores into the surrounding air. A better approach is to gently spray or wet down the mold prior to removal. Once the mold has been wetted, it can be removed by wet-wiping the surfaces with a water and detergent solution, scrubbing if necessary.

If commercial products are used for cleaning mold, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. Common bleach also can be used, particularly to clean the discoloration caused by mold fungi. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a solution of 10 parts water to one part chlorine bleach to clean mold from surfaces (CDC, 2000b). When using bleach and other cleaning chemicals indoors, make sure there is adequate ventilation and wear personal protection equipment outlined previously. Never mix bleach with ammonia.

Removing small amounts of mold from wood is relatively straightforward. Mold removal becomes more complex when there are heavy amounts of growth on a majority of the lumber or if the building has been in service for some time and the mold originated from leaks into the building cavity. In these instances, the mold clean up should be done by a professional cleaning and restoration company. (Back to top
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post #15 of 31 Old 01-27-2007, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Soundood -

Thanks for commenting in my thread. We are sorting a few things out, but I may be sending you a PM on that Kryton, they seemed to only have one distributor for the entire north east. We were going to bleech that stair, now we find some funguside.
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post #16 of 31 Old 01-28-2007, 06:45 AM
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very informative thread.
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post #17 of 31 Old 01-28-2007, 07:20 AM
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A good way to see if you have moisture coming through the concrete is to duct tape a 2x2 square of plastic wrap to the ground or wall. If you have a problem, you will see moisture develop on the plastic wrap.

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post #18 of 31 Old 01-28-2007, 10:48 AM
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My experience and the experience with a vast majority of the people in the industry who treat moldy structures every week, is that bleach is not effective on a porous wood or drywall surface once there is an established growth. Trust me, I get called out to places on a weekly basis with mold that has been made worse because of bleach. It is a very good source of business so I should probably keep quiet about it. Washing it down with water and detergent? The problem with that is that if you inevitably don't get every hyphae (root) and there are always spores in the area. Now you have a wet material with mold roots still inside the material. Does this sound like a good idea to you?

Here is the thing...since EPA registered fungicides are not difficult to use nor particularly expensive, is it really worth taking the chance and using anything else? The ones we use in our remediation are registered as non toxic and non-materials reactive so I can spray them on anything and not worry they will weaken, stain or bleach the materials. Sodium Hypochlorite (the active ingredient in bleach) is EPA registered as a corrosive (just check the MSDS for any product that has bleach in it). The only Bleach I really like is the Anime series on Cartoon Network.

Most important thing you can do for mold is prevention. 50% of my business is prevention. There are numerous ways to prevent mold from growing and the primary way is to prevent moisture. In basements, this always means sealing the concrete since that is nearly alway the source of moisture. In Crawlspaces and wall cavities, proper vapor barriers are the key. In bathrooms, install the largest fan possible and USE IT. In attics, assuring PROPER airflow is critical...and even then there can be issues due to environmental factors (houses in tree areas are particularly problematic). In a new house, PROPER dryout is absolutely crucial...and that does NOT mean just turning on the furnace for the weekend before insulation/sheetrock. I can't tell you how many moldy new houses we see due to improper dryout. An overwhelming number of builders do not do a proper dryout. In crawlspaces, attics and wall cavities (and any area we remediate) we normally recommend a mold preventative coating. $0.16 a square foot for materials (we have a DIY program for this product) and 25 years of guaranteed zero growth sounds like a pretty good (and cheap) idea to me.

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post #19 of 31 Old 01-28-2007, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Tucker View Post

A good way to see if you have moisture coming through the concrete is to duct tape a 2x2 square of plastic wrap to the ground or wall. If you have a problem, you will see moisture develop on the plastic wrap.

Scott

This does work, but you can't just do it in one area. You have do do it in a lot of areas since the amount of vapor that comes thru a concrete structure will vary greatly depending on how much water is behind the concrete in each different area and how dense that particular section is. There are also seasonal variations that depend on how much water is in the soil and how cold the soil is. In many places, you won't get much water coming thru right now because the soil is frozen...come back in late spring and you'll see a huge difference.

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post #20 of 31 Old 01-29-2007, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Soundood -

How clean does the concrete need to be before the Kryton is applied? Wire brushing all of my basement (about 1000 sqft, 7.5-8' high walls) is going to take a while, and I am feeling the pinch as work is close to commencing. Reading the pdf on their website said this:

Quote:
Prior to application all cracks and joints must be repaired according to Specification No. 1. Concrete must be free from paints, sealers, oil, grease, bitumen, laitance and other contaminants (see Technical Bulletin #202). Surfaces to be treated must be pre-soaked with clean water to a saturated surface dry (SSD) condition. Do not leave any standing water.

I am guessing the effluoresence and other crud on my wall is the "laitance" they are talking about? If so, is there a faster way other than a wire brush and elbow grease? Or can kryton be put on over that and still work well?

I think I know the answer, but easier would be nicer. . .
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post #21 of 31 Old 01-29-2007, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Soundood -

How clean does the concrete need to be before the Kryton is applied? Wire brushing all of my basement (about 1000 sqft, 7.5-8' high walls) is going to take a while, and I am feeling the pinch as work is close to commencing.
I think I know the answer, but easier would be nicer. . .

Just thinking out loud. I have an electric grinder and a wire brush attachment. I'm sure it would make quick work of that wall. It would also put a coat of dust on your house and the neighbors. You would need some good eye and lung protection. A fan in the window blowing out and a window upstairs open would keep the air moving the way you want. Turn off and seal the air ducts.
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post #22 of 31 Old 01-29-2007, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Worth considering. I am talking to my carpenter to figure out when he is going to start framing. Worst case I may have to get some other labor in to help with the prep.
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post #23 of 31 Old 01-30-2007, 01:50 PM
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Dc

short story

I was just getting ready after the new year to sart finishing off my basement when a leak apeared from one of my poured 9 foot walls. our house is 13 months old and our 1 year home warrenty just ran out I could'nt see where it was leaking from because code here in nebraka requires builders to put up 2 inch foil faced ridgid foam on all outside basement walls. When I removed the foam I found a crack running from the top to the bottom along a seam where they put the forms togeather and it was leaking pretty good. now what

well I started pulling off all the foam and found even more airline cracks so I started doing some research and found these products to fix the cracks and seal the walls

http://www.cpr-products.com/concretecrack.html

http://www.amesresearch.com/basement...JAodmzLk2w#bmx

I fixed the cracks last week and now i'm in the process of applying the rubber based paint From what I was told by ames when I phoned in my order is that the paint will streach a long way if your wall cracks after it has been painted. I do not think dryloc paint can do that.

after I am done I am also going to be using this product on the floors


http://www.deltafl.com/

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post #24 of 31 Old 01-31-2007, 12:20 AM
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Do I need to be a AVS Club member to post pictures

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post #25 of 31 Old 01-31-2007, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input W00lly. Stinks about your house. I'll take a look at those products too.

To put images in, they need to be hosted elsewhere (I use photobucket), and then you put the [img ] tag [/ img ] around the image location (no space in the brackets).
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post #26 of 31 Old 01-31-2007, 07:37 AM
 
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I have a 20 year old house with poured (formed) basement walls.
I had a few leaks in places where the "keys" were. I assume this is what they are called. The keys are metal straps put in the forms to hold the forms together from inside to outside of the wall. The concrete is poured and once hard, and the forms removed, the keys are snapped off. Generally, as a rule, the wall is best sealed from the outside. This is usually if not always too costly obviously.
However, the "second best" solution is foundation grading and proper rain gutter function. I found some "low" spots around the perimeter of the foundation, filled them in and never had a leak since (16 years). Living in a high water table area, this may not have much effect, but for my basement, the foundation grading and ensuring that any rain moved away from the foundation had tremendous benefit for little cost. (Note, the main leaky areas was underneath a deck. Was very troublesome to get under there and build up the grading.) If they don't properly backfill and "tamp" the foundation area, in a year or two, you will have problems if the grading isn't suficient. HTH.
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post #27 of 31 Old 01-31-2007, 09:38 AM
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DC

call ames they will give you the skinny on there products and what will work best for your application.

the product that I used was called block & wall and I just finish my 3rd coat this morning and the stuff works great goes on super thick. The stuff is $119.99 plus $30 shipping for a 5 gallon bucket. I orderd 3 but only used 2 so far on 74'x9' wall

heres a few pics

leaking crack fixed with the urethane injected expanding foam

http://members.cox.net/dogman1/crack%20fixed.jpg

The block & Wall

http://members.cox.net/dogman1/block&wall%20002.jpg

http://members.cox.net/dogman1/block&wall%20001.jpg

looks so nice almost hate to cover it all back up


Midlife

I have great slope for drainage around my house and a drainage system. My walls also cracked at the keys as you pointed out. It got real cold here for about 3 weeks in december and then it warmed up into the 50's thats when the crack must of happened. I'm not real sure why the outside membrane failed.

Draintile & membrane

http://members.cox.net/dogman1/drainage3.jpg

http://members.cox.net/dogman1/drainage6.jpg

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post #28 of 31 Old 01-31-2007, 11:27 AM
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Hi,

I read through this thread noting the issues faced by some... I just wanted to add my two cents worth. I'm currently building my HT (Black Ice Theater) in the basement and I had water leakage, moisture, etc. My house was built in 2000 so I know all the things a new home can go through. Long story short... I brushed up on how to deal with basements and finishing them. Note that I'm from Canada so building codes will (and most likely) differ but I will provide why the codes/techniques are that way. Also, my experience is limited to recently built homes.

First of all, concrete breathes and is porus... think of it as a dry dense sponge. Given this view, realize that water as both vapour and liquid will go through it easily, even more easily if there are cracks. Salts and minerals (the white powder) are normal unless you seal the concrete... which most people think will solve all their moisture problems!! Wrong... First of all concrete needs to be sealed ON THE OUTSIDE and below grade. This seems to be a universal building code from what I can tell but in Canada it is a must. Why? If the concrete was allowed to absorb water from the soil (below grade), it will freeze and eventually cause cracks which could lead to failure due to hydrostatic pressure (the soil pushes in the walls). Elsewhere, I imagine water in concrete is just generally bad. In Canada building codes require a heavy duty membrane to be put on the foundation (and sealed/chaulked). Weeping tiles remove the excess water on the outside of this membrane.

Of course, this doesn't stop cracks or moisture... Some vertical cracks (hairline, static) are normal, caused by the curing process and/or settling. These cracks don't change over time and could allow leakage from above grade. I had those in my basement and are easily sealed via injection (I used a DIY crack seal kit). Dynamic cracks or horizontal cracks should be looked at by a foundation expert since it may indicate some serious problems. Leakage from underneath the footings usually indicate a problem with the weeping tiles which is also serious. Not withstanding that, you CAN seal the concrete from *grade level* to footing on the inside; the concrete above grade must NOT be sealed so that moisture (there will always be vapour) can escape... How? through the concrete believe or not. This actually makes expensive sealers unnecessary, I just use tar paper (as does most builders in Canada). Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with use of a stud wall (not touching the concrete) and a vapour barrier going from the top of floor joists to the bottom and gasket under any wood touching concrete.

The result: the cold side/exterior facing area of the vapour barrier can breath through the concrete = no mold due to moisture buildup. Inside room = warm vapour contained but you should have cold air returns & vents sized appropriately for the room; moisture/dampness means that your air is not being circulated properly (or your house needs a dehumidifier/HRV). If you have water leakage beyond that, it may be just a one time thing (i.e. a really heavy rain overwhelming the system) or you got problems (weeping tile blockage?) The rest is usually due shodding work, etc.

Cheers,
Kaoru
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-01-2007, 07:06 AM
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Kaoru,

My research shows similar results. I also talked to my contractor who has 30 years experience and he does not recommend sealing the floor or block walls unless you have a water leackage problem. The block needs to breath to dry if it ever does get slightly damp. He recommends studing the wall with a spacer to make sure the insulation is not touching the wall. My basement slab is also only 4" think and poured on top of a poly vapor barrier which is on top of gravel (where the drain tile to the sump pump loops around the outside footer). The only time we had any water in the basement in 10 years is about 2 years ago when we got 12" of rain in a 2day period and my sump pump cord got hung up on the float. We ended up with 2" of water before we found it. Needless to say I have fixed the float, secured the cord properly and will install a backup unit for our project to prevent this in the future. I am also going to put a dehumidifier in the basement by the sump pump just to be sure.
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post #30 of 31 Old 02-02-2007, 07:09 PM
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i do this for a living ....i have just water proofed 3 basements.. use thoro seal....white or grey... if the walls are below ground level; you cant trust the french drains sometimes.or the way they sealed it on the outside. ive seen new houses get flooded .. thoro seal....will hold off the water ..hold it back....$22 a bag mix it your self like a soup ...its a messy job but you could finish a basement for 50 in material..instead of using a (cans) which will run about 200 by the time your finished ...dont use a roller they have a wide brush....just for that..you can also use a cheap 6 inch paint brush... ..also pay special attention to the base of the wall where the footing, wall, and floor meets the slab, also corners..water will find its way in the small cracks..GIVE A FEW FEW COATS DOWN THERE.... if you have some wider cracks .. fill with water plug..then thoro seal...you can get it at home depot ofr cement store/....

now can any one help me on my star wars crawl..problem......i am having...

ROCKMAN
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