Twitter, Blogging, and Basement Info

So there are some new things that I'm doing to try to keep the new info coming to you, my readers, and to new and potential customers of Pioneer Basement.

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BasementGods
I'm attempting to keep up a "basement tip of the day" and give you insite as to how to look at your basement differently, work, live in, and protect that space and your home.

Pioneer Basement@wordpress.com has been moving and shaking recently. Just did a seemingly popular blog about Field Stone Foundations and how to keep them up, waterproof them and so on. Let me know what you think!

Today: I just placed another bit in the "tips and tricks" catagory in the Pioneer Basement Forums/Help Forums as well as wrote a little piece on finishing your basement for the expanding family (especially around the holidays) http://www.pioneerbasement.com/forum/blog.php?b=24

So I'm keeping busy. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! and keep safe and keep dry!


Basement Finishing and Remodeling Design Tip


I'm planning on adding many more tips and tricks for thinking differently in the basement.

It's important to realize that the moisture levels in the basement are higher and therefore you have to use different materials to build in a basement.

If you think different, build different, you change your basement and still have a healthy and successful area.


Glenn Fellman of the IAQA answers Air Quality Question about a Homeowners Basement Finishing Problem


<--Question is:
“I recently waterproofed and remodeled my basement due to water
seepage/damage. While the basement was gutted, there seemed to be no odor but
since the new carpet, drywall, etc. has been installed, there is now a stench
residing in my basement. Because I know that there is no water leakage, I
purchased a dehumidifier for the basement. Although the basement smells better,
the stench now fills my upper level. The weird thing about it is that my windows
are open, and of course, there is no heat/air running, so I am curious as to why
it is now smelling up the upper level. Any comments or suggestions would be
greatly appreciated."

Dawn McAfee
Louisville, Tenn.

A: “If there had
been a leak, there may be mold in the basement that is causing the odor,” said
Glenn Fellman, executive director of the Indoor Air Quality Association, in Rockville, MD. “Mold colonizes behind walls, under flooring and in other hidden
areas, he said. Mold may have been disturbed during the renovation, allowing it
to become airborne and dispersed throughout the home,” he said.

"Another possible source of odor may be the new materials used for waterproofing and remodeling, he said. Epoxy, glue and water-proofing products may emit odor-producing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There may also be VOC emissions from new carpet and other furnishings, he said. A dehumidifier will only remove moisture, not odors.”

"You might want to try using a room air cleaner that incorporates a
carbon pre-filter and primary HEPA filter to reduce the odors in the short-term.
Long-term, you need to identify and eliminate the source of the odor," Fellman

“Because I know that there is no water leakage, I purchased a dehumidifier for the basement.”
The problem with this statement is he has utter trust in the waterproofing product/company that served him. While trust is good, protection is better. Knowing you’ve had leaks warrants the installation of wall protection as well as a drain system. Many people finish off with no wall protection and their leak situation changes. So behind walls that they can’t see behind resides and unsolved basement wall leak that they thought, “Could never happen.”

“so I am curious as to why it is now smelling up the upper level?”
This is because of a change in pressure in the home referred to as “Stack Effect.” What happens is that air flows from the basement up to the 1st floor as it warms up. This air now creates a void in the basement, which pulls air through the foundation walls from the soil and the outside to fill it. The air from the first floor and 2nd floors eventually moves through the walls and windows to the outside which continues the cycle and pulls the air from the basement all over again. Any smell that’s occurring in your basement will eventually occur in your first floor. If you want to test this, spill a small amount of bleach at the bottom of the steps in your basement and wait. You’ll eventually smell the bleach on your first floor because of the air movement in the home. (You don’t need to use bleach, but something smelly like Lysol or Febreze might work just as well)

I can’t find one point to disagree with Glenn Fellman on, well done!

It does bring up the point of epoxies and glues used in waterproofing a basement. If a smell is persisting more then a day or so, there’s something wrong. Contact your waterproofing company to verify.

I personally don’t suggest the use of anything that gives off VOCs, especially any sealants. Some vapor barriers require a bit of epoxy just at the top to seal off the system and secure it to the foundation, but the odors from that are mild and shouldn’t persist past the first 24 hours.

If you’re concerned about VOCs there are plenty of low to non-VOC finishing options out there. But be prepared to pay a little more for them. They’re worth it if you’re worried about your air quality; at least that’s how I feel. No VOC paint has come down drastically in price over the past few months and the chemistry leaves a perfect painted finished coat on your walls.


Water coming through walls in the basement

Oddly enough this is a very common problem. Having water come through the foundation walls in your basement is something that can happen to anyone, even with someone with great landscaping outside of their homes and proper backfill around their home.

The main issue here is that concrete is a porous material. It has the ability to absorb water. So when water comes into contact with dry concrete it gets absorbed into it and eventually fills up the pores inside of the concrete. These tiny pores are left behind from the water evaporating out of the concrete during the curing or drying process. Affectionately called microcosms, they have very thin separations of concrete between them. As the water is absorbs, the water molecules build up and create pressure. This pressure helps to break through these pore separations.

Eventually all basements leak. Once the pressure builds up enough, or the water works its way through the series of pores, it can break through and enter your basement from your wall.

Another, more obvious and easy, way for water to enter your basement is through foundation issues such as cracks or separations.

These cracks and separations occur for a number of reasons, but the problem comes from the water on your floor.

Waterproofing and Foundation repair are two ways to remedy these two situations that can allow for water to start piling up in your basement.

If you’re looking for foundation repair or waterproofing in your area:
www.nawsrc.org (national association for waterproofing and structural repair contractors)
www.pioneerbasement.com (MA, CT, RI, waterproofing and structural repair)
www.basementdepot.com (diy waterproofing supplies and crack repair products)
www.GrateProducts.com (a national waterproofing product and supply company; highly recommended for contractors)


Basement Blogs: Why I write my blog, basements and all

I’m rather disappointed, personally, on the lack of answers that I find while surfing the web about basements. Everyone has an opinion about what company you should be going with or how to pick a contractor (which in the end always feels slanted towards the company that suggested the “check list”) but it doesn’t seem like many companies are making an effort to really talk about the problems, causes, and the solutions.

Over the past few months I’ve been making a direct effort to answer questions posed to me through email, through talks with homeowners and (the more tricky way) through the Google Search questions people have found my blog with.

People come to my blog for many reason: Finding DIY Tips about how to finish or waterproof a basement, ideas about finishing, design tips, waterproofing questions, price shopping, or just a place to come and read about someone who’s obviously obsessed with everyone else’s basements.

Along the way I’ve met some interesting people and hopefully some good friends.

I look forward to the next year in writing and communicating news and information about basements, foundations, waterproofing, and finishing in hopes that you can walk away confident that you know whom to call, what the answer to your personal question was, or possibly a suggestion for your own design project.

I’m not the DIY network or Bob Villa, so my expertise is pretty limited in that "home repair god" regards, but I’m confident that I can answer your questions about basements, foundations, waterproofing, crack repair, and basement finishing.

The basement isn’t the same as the 1st and 2nd floors and by now I hope you understand that. It needs special attention to handle the moisture and special attention to the products and techniques in installing a finished product.

If you have any questions you can leave them in a comment, email me directly, or link to me somewhere on the web. I also Moderate the Pioneer Basement Waterproofing Forums as well as the hang out around the NAWSRC.org and BasementDepot.com forums as well.

Follow me on Twitter: BasementGods
Follow me on Wordpress: PioneerBasement

Any question, any time, I have your back when it comes to your basement.


Fun Basement Idea Poll on Pioneer Basement Forums

So since it’s raining rather hard here today in Westport, I’ve decided to do some outreach and pose some questions to the customers of Pioneer Basement.

What is in your basement?

What do you WANT in your basement?

Two very simple, but fun questions. Most homeowners don’t like talking about what’s down in the basement now, laundry piles, an odd workbench, or even maybe nothing at all.

But when you pose the question of “what do you WANT?” then a whole other side of many homeowners comes out: The Creative/FUN side.

Pool tables, fancy storage, a real creative place to paint or make furniture, recording studios, movie rooms, bathrooms, game rooms, bed rooms, toy storage, gyms, Jacuzzis, computer rooms, home offices, hobby rooms, you name it people have thought it up.

And the great thing is: Any of it can happen with a little planning and some proper design.


Home Improvement in this current Economy

Continued Weaknesses in Housing and the Overall Economy Result in Two Years of Market Declines
The home improvement market hadn’t seen a decline since 1991. In the HIRI/Global Insight home improvement products market forecast update of August 2008, we now have revised estimated declines of both 0.7% in 2007 and 3.1% in 2008. The estimate for 2008 sales was lowered by $5.3 billion from the previous forecast (February 2008) to $296.8 billion. The updated 2007 forecast for the market came in at $306.2 billion, a downward revision of just $0.5 billion. The continued downturn in the housing market coupled with..
Full story: http://www.hiri.org/inside.asp?id=21

Deciding to Protect your Basement

Basement repairs of any kind can be some of the toughest choices to make as a homeowner. They aren’t something that is common knowledge, they aren’t something that’s discussed on many DIY television shows, and they are not normally “easy fixes”.

Things like re-pointing foundations, crack repair, waterproofing, foundation correction (ie: piering and wall anchoring) aren’t things that should ever be considered Do-it-yourself projects. They all have potentially hazardous implications if done improperly. It’s always better to let a company carry the liability of a poor job then that of your bank account.

Mold, Radon, Leaks, Cracks, leaking bulkheads, rotted window sills, humidity, moisture and water problems all fall under normal things that many people have to deal with in their basement on a daily basis.

The question is: are you ready to decide to protect your basement and therefore protect your home?