damp basement wall fix?

s_carrollJuly 28, 2010

Hey all,

My wife and I recently purchased a Baltimore row-home that was built in the 1850s. It was remodeled recently and everything above ground seems great. The problem is in our basement, where a small outbreak of mold has us concerned (the mold killed a hat and a backpack, nothing serious). We have one small wall at the back of the basement that faces into the ground that seems to be the problem. On days after it rains the wall feels damp to the touch. We haven't noticed any leaks or puddles of water but the basement definitely has that 'damp' feel to it.

We were wondering what our best course of action would be the correct the issue. Is a dehumidifier the best/simplest option to keep the air dry since water leakages doesn't seem to be a big issue. Or should I apply a thick coat of DRYLOCK water sealer to the brick? Or would a product like LastiSeal Concrete & Brick Sealer be more appropriate? Or is it just time to call in the professionals?

Oh, and I should mention that digging down to waterproof from the outside probably is not an option, since there is an addition that extends over the interior foundation wall that is the problem. So direct rain water isn't an issue either (ie downspouts coming right down on the wall etc).

The wall is only about 10ft wide by 8ft high.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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A dehumidifier is absolutely essential in your climate. If that doesn't do the trick, then it's onto other approaches.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 11:14PM
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I second the dehumidifier! we had a similar issue, except nothing was damp to the touch. run the dehumidifier and set it at 55 and you will be amazed at the amount of water it takes out of the air. I would also try the drylock, although when this get wet it will crumble off the wall, im not familiar with lastiseal unfortunately. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 2:36PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm thinking the dehumidifier might be the option although I'm hesitant to have to spend the extra 30-50 bucks a month on electricity. Does anyone have any experience with DryLock? Would it help keep the moisture down? I remember reading somewhere that it 'breathes', which would make me think that it lets water vapor through... thus defeating the purpose.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:26PM
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Condensation and moisture drive aren't affected by coating basement walls with DryLock.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Insulation (Scroll to page 3)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:36PM
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So the DryLock wouldn't actually do anything to stop the water vapor coming through?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 5:43PM
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Had another thought. Could I cover the entire wall in question with hydrostatic cement? What repercussions could that cause?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:22PM
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Yes, you can.

Or better yet, in my view, use a crystalline waterproofing material, such as Xypex, Kryton or Permaquik, though, because of the prep, it would probably be better to have them professionally applied.

But before you spend many hundreds and even thousands of dollars on messy procedures, simply drop by your local big box or Nextag and buy a portable dehumidifer for less than $200. In your hot muggy climate, you should have one anyway.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 4:14PM
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