Consider yourself lucky if your basement had only minor moisture penetration after the recent heavy rains. Even so, it could be the excuse you need to embark on a total basement makeover.
You can decide to call in a professional contractor who specializes in flood restoration or decide to tackle the project yourself.
Either way, make sure that the project checklist includes these frequently overlooked steps. They are essential to protecting your investment, says Kevin Trumbull of Trumbull Building & Remodeling in New Hartford, Conn.
Address dampness issues:
This is the first step in a basement project so that future flooding,
mold or musty smells won't ruin your investment:
Get a qualified professional to identify the source of any water problems -- such as a cracked foundation, inadequate waterproofing or exterior grading that slopes toward the house -- and prescribe a fix.
Install one or more sump pumps, with one powered by a battery or generator in case of a power failure.
Use a dehumidifier and install proper ventilation for adequate air exchange.
If your basement is already finished
Check the walls to determine the extent of water penetration that has occurred. If dampness has wicked up your finished walls, there's
high potential for mold to grow unseen.
It is essential that the wet sheetrock and saturated insulation be removed. The affected area should be thoroughly dried out and new insulation and sheetrock installed, said Ed Perryman, president of Perryman Consulting & Construction Services in Barrie, Ontario.
Consider a new insulation system
If the entire perimeter interior wall system -- including studs and sheetrock -- has to be replaced, you need to consider a new insulation system that controls the flow of air and water vapor.
Plan for adequate ventilation and air exchange to prevent stale, moisture-laden air from accumulating in corners and "dead spaces." Perryman recommended locating heat registers and cold-air returns low on the walls to encourage air movement and evaporation at floor level, where moisture is most likely to accumulate.
Install a subfloor
Instead of laying the new finished floor directly over the concrete, Trumbull and Perryman suggest a layer beneath the flooring in your basement. The subfloor raises the flooring providing a safety space to prevent small leaks from reaching the finished floor and the basement's contents that rest on it. The subfloor's raised design also allows air to circulate between it and the concrete to help evaporate moisture to avoid the mold problems common in damp basements.
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This all-in-one modular subfloor has a built-in moisture barrier that will prevent future small leaks from ruining your basement and its furnishings.