DE area - basement waterproofing - recomm?

leslie2004June 13, 2005

Have just finished reading a bunch of posts and now know not to use Mid Atlantic or Basement Doctor but I'm stumped about who to call. I have a 100 year old house; the basement walls are river rock, part of the floor is still dirt, part has cement. We don't get standing water but the humidity is so high that our central air conditioner makes our whole house smell like wet, mildewed basement. Does anyone in the Delaware/Philly area have advice on a reliable waterproofing company?

Also, in the meantime, would running 2 dehumidifiers make an appreciable difference (approx 750 sf basement)over running just one? Currently using a 50 pint model that we empty several times a day. Thanks for any advice.

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Speaking as someone who also lives in a 100 plus year old house with a river rock, I call it fieldstone but I don't know if that is the right name, I would ask if there is any way not to draw air from the basement into the living part of the house as a simpler solution. The old basements, particularly if it is part dirt are generally damp and cool, good for storing veggies and the like, but bad for living in. My individual speculation is that they were designed to be that way.

If you walls are like mine, with nooks and crannies between each rock, I think it is unlikely that a basement waterproofing company could do much for the basement from the inside and would hesitate to let them dig to mess with the outside.

Do you have a sealed vapor barrier over the dirt part? Not just a plastic cover, but one that is sealed to the walls so that ground vapors don't sit in the basement. That would likely help alot.

Also, despite teh above comment, we did paint dry loc on the walls in both of our houses with water issues -- felt like it helped at least. I would also look at what is causing the smell and be liberal with cleaning with bleach and/or removing items.

Sorry didn't answer the original question, I don't know any companies.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 1:49PM
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Thanks for your response, Hobbs67. Sounds like we have the same kind of cellar. I agree about it being un-waterproofable. I'm guessing a company would recommend a french drain or sump pump but that's probably not what we need since we have no leaks or puddling, just dampness. I bet that's the first thing they try to sell you. I think we'll have the walls and cement floor cleaned with a bleach solution and the ducts cleaned and run a second dehumidifier and see if that helps.
When we bought the house 7 years ago there was no musty smell upstairs and the people were running their a/c full-blast so I think (hope) we can get it back to that state without trying to totally waterproof.

I'm curious about the vapor barrier you mentioned for the dirt floor. Can you tell me more about that? Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 8:29AM
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Not sure if it is applicable if it is full height basement with a dirt floor, but with crawlspaces you will often see a layer of heavy plastic placed over the dirt crawlspace floor and sealed to the foundation walls to prevent the ground moiture from entering the crawlspace/house.

The plastic is the heavy stuff they sell in rolls at HD, poly ethelene or somthing like that. It is in both of my crawlspaces. With the dehumidifier running, you may be pulling moisture out of the ground along with out of the basement air. As far as going with two dehumidifiers, if money is not an issue, have at it. We did that when we first moved in before i found and closed two major leaks into the basement. The plastic is not expensive so it may be worth a shot.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:10AM
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You are right, a stone foundation is one of the hardest and most unstable to work with.
Covering the walls with an impermeable barrier (sheet plastic,panel plastis, rough casting, etc.) and providing a drainage system for it to drain into is the only real solution. Outside excavation and re-parging is not only dangerous but a limited fix and an underground exterior drainage system will eventually clog.
I have been an employee of Mid-Atlantic's for about 17 years. I am on of those "sleazy ?" people that come out and tell you how to fix your water problem.
In all of my years of working for them, I have never had to go to court for them. I have testified as an "Expert Witness" for some of my customers, though. I am not an engineer; but, because of my experience and training by Mid-Atlantic, I have been recognized by the courts as an expert.
I have done work for them on new, old, very old, brick, stone, terra-cotta, block, poured cement in many states in their market areas.
I have refused work that I did not feel would solve the problems.
Mid-Atlantic is a very large company (over 3000 jobs a year).
I am not suprised to see a few complaints, but out of these I have only seen one that complained about the services that were performed and I am trying to reach them now to find out why they have a problem.
If you would like any more information or have any other questions, do not hesitate to e-mail me at or call me at the MD Office - 301-206-9500 (Dan). I will be happy to address anything in any of our markets from CN to VA

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 11:25PM
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I would not recommend Basement Doctor. I have had a very bad experience with them and when I contacted them for a refund they told me they went out of business.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 1:50PM
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Does anyone know who actually owns this company and how to contact them? Their web site is very vague and the general manager of the office we're dealing with keeps insisting HE owns the company. The only name I've been able to track down is Ed Finnell; but the Mid Atlantic offices all claim they don't know where he works. We've had an awful experience with this company and I would strongly RECOMMEND AGAINST CONTRACTING WITH THEM. Their representatives are rude and unprofessional. When we asked to have a technical supervisor come out to look at the work they'd done, they sent their secretary who knew nothing about the construction side of the business! They've given us the run around numerous times and definately don't stand behind their work. I agree with the other poster here to run, not walk, if they come knocking on your door. Don't be taken in by their offer of a free basement analysis. It's not worth it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 7:57AM
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we installed and recommend neutocrete for this situation.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 6:24PM
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has anyone tried sani-tread? im thinking of doing this but need also to find a company that will use it rather than diy

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:07PM
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