Help with red dust please!
I just finished a 7 month renovation on a 1948 Ranch-style bungalow near Toronto. In the "old" section of the basement, there is a red dust on the concrete floor that when it's wet just thickens and runs like a Prince Edward Island potato field in the rain. You can't sweep it, you can't mop it up, and it gets into everything. I didn't realize how bad it was until we laid our light beige carpet in the finished area of the basement. The area of concern is where we have our furnace, hot water heater, etc.
We are thinking that it is likely iron oxide from a paint or tile used by the previous owners in the 1950s. If I can get some of it off, I'm thinking about covering this area with interlocking plastic floor tiles like one could use in a garage.
Any thoughts on how to get rid of this stuff? Steam cleaning? Some kind of paint stripping agent? Help! My carpet in the guest room is going to be pink if I don't do something soon!