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Dirt floor basement in 1887 home

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Jan 17, 2014, 03:46 PM
Dirt floor basement in 1887 home
we have a dirt floor basement in our old home The walls are a combination of granite block and sacked stone. We have filled in some of the gaps with foam gap filler and installed new basement windows. It still feels damp in the basement although we have had no standing water or puddles.We are trying to determine the best way to control moisture and enhance heat retention during the winter months. Is is worth our while to pour a cement floor, or just lay a vapor barrier.There is condensation on the wall stone. What is the best or better way to manage this. Thank you for help from any of you "this old housers" out there.
Jan 17, 2014, 05:21 PM
The damp feeling and condensation on the stone are sure signs that you are getting moisture in the basement. Definitely install a poly vapor barrier - try to cover as close to 100% of the dirt as possible.

If you do not us the basement for much, then you will get a dryer basement by just installing the vapor barrier. However, if you are in there frequently the poly will get torn. If you use the basement area then at the very least you should install a layer of gravel on top of the poly. If you want a real floor then install the poly, gravel and concrete slab. Each step, of course, will cost you more money.

If you are looking for best bang for the buck then just install the poly barrier.

Jan 17, 2014, 07:30 PM
Agree w/Jaybee only that I would use sand instead of gravel to eliminate the chance of puncturing the poly with stone.
Jan 17, 2014, 09:20 PM
if it were me, a home that old..i would investigate
what might be, buried under that floor.
rings, coins, knives, guns, trash....maybe somebody uncle
then concrete it
Jan 18, 2014, 08:59 AM
If you have the headroom concreting it is a great option, but as Jaybee commented cover it with poly and gravel first. If you go the concrete route I'd put in a perimeter drain around the basement and install a sump pump as well. Even if you don't have water now, $500 spent now is cheap insurance.

You're getting evaporation from ground water into your basement. It is condensing on cold surfaces. Adding a basement grade dehumidifier would also be a good idea. A basement grade one can work in cooler temperatures. You want one that will work in the ambient temperature of your basement, likely 55-65 degrees.

French Drains -

Basement dehumidifiers - http://www.allergybuyersclub.c...t-dehumidifiers.html

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.