Celebrity contractor, Bryan Baeumler discusses what to watch for when taking on an older basement reno
The decision has been made. You want extra space in your home, and building up or building out is not an option for budgetary reasons or lack of room in your yard, so you have decided that you will build down – down into the dark, unbuilt basement. The cold and uninviting space that you’ve been avoiding, need not be as ominous as it seems. With a little bit of attention and professional support, that cold concrete floor crammed with boxes of things you no longer use, can become the most comfortable room in the house. Truly it can!
When renovating a basement in an older home, there are many issues that homeowners must face. A common one is basement leaking through some openings in the building envelope or the foundation wall. Those pesky basement leaks can be attributed to cracks and they are quite common in all foundations. In the scenario of poured concrete, cracks are inevitable and they lead to moisture issues throughout that make for a cold, uncomfortable, smelly sometimes unhealthy basement setting. While this all sounds like a nightmare, rest assured with the proper planning, and the right products, you can treat your basement leak problems effectively. To overcome older basement moisture issues, consider the following steps:
Start with crack repair
Naturally, concrete shrinks and expands which can cause cracks and leaking. Minor cracks can be attributed to tree roots or water pressure buildup from poor drainage. More serious cracks stem from hydrostatic pressure, freeze and thaw cycles in the soil, wall shifts, sinking footing and settlement. Fortunately, crack repairs can easily be done with something like a DRICORE® Concrete Repair Kit that is specifically designed and engineered to seal, fill and structurally reinforce concrete cracks in walls and floors. These kits are easy to use and include a few simplified steps to get the job done well.
Don’t forget subflooring
Once the cracks are taken care of, to further control moisture in the basement, you must cover the concrete floor with a quality subfloor system – something you should never build your basement without. There are basement subfloor products like DRICORE Subfloor or Subfloor R+ that are designed with “air gap” technology that controls moisture and keeps finished basement floors dry, comfortable and cozy. A subfloor product like DRICORE Subfloor R+ aids in creating a warmer floor and can raise finished floor temperatures by 5.6° C / 10.6° F.
If the walls could talk
There are hidden secrets behind old basement walls, secrets that need to be uncovered and taken care of if you want a dry basement. Moisture can eat away at wood framing, so using a mold and mildew resistant drywall for the walls is an absolute necessity. After the subflooring is installed, consider DRICORE SMARTWALL high performance, pre-fabricated walls designed specifically for finishing basements. These wall panels can withstand the damp ecosystem of basements and they can be used anywhere concrete walls are present. A subflooring and SMARTWALL system work in synergy to create air flow around the envelope of your basement, from the floor to the wall providing a path for moisture to escape. Each SMARTWALL panel is 21.75” wide and comes in standard 8’ lengths. Panels can be cut to fit any desired ceiling height or basement layout. Their pre-fabricated design provides for an easy and more accurate install and when finished, the product will look like every other wall in your home .
Author: Bryan Baeumler