Renovate a moist basement

Renovating a basement in an old house may require some additional attention as building techniques have changed over the years. Today houses are built to keep all kinds of moist out so the house will not be subject to dry rot and wood decay. Older houses were built a different way. Instead of preventing moist to reach the most fragile building materials, the custom was to keep air flowing through the buildings to dry up moist before it can cause wood decay on the building materials. Many people choose modern building techniques when they renovate a basement, even if they do so in an old house, but that can cause problems as you may end up trapping moist. That can again be breeding ground to fungi and create an environment for accelerated wood decay. Even though you would prefer a modern house with moist and heat insulation, that may for an old house mean that you need to rebuild from the ground up.

When you would like to renovate a basement in an old house from a moist basement to a living area, then you should maintain the old building techniques which will ensure that you maintain air flow throughout the building, and also in the newly renovated basement.


The first step when you wish to renovate a basement in an old house is to do the proper preparations. First you will need to prevent as much moist to get into the basement as possible. This process will start on the outside of the house. Drainage is important to lead water and moist away from the concrete foundation. If your foundation does not have any kind of drainage, then you will need to dig down to the edge of the foundation to drain water away from the wall, and also prepare the foundation to repel water instead of consuming it. If the water seeps through your outer wall, it is very likely that you will also get moist on your inner wall, which may complicate any attempt to build any wooden constructions in your basement. When this is done, you need to let any moist on the concrete on the inner wall dry up before you start building any framework for your renovation.

How to renovate a basement

When you start building your framework to construct rooms in your basement, you need to avoid trapping moist. Trapped moist will cause fungi to grow, which not only causes decay, but it may also create an unhealthy atmosphere in the basement for anyone who will be utilizing the rooms you build. Instead you should make sure to maintain natural air flow throughout the construction so any moist that still appear will dry up. You cannot expect to make a basement in an old house entirely moist free unless you rebuild the foundation according to modern building techniques. Instead you make sure to prevent wood from being in direct contact with the moist. You can do this by using a waterproof foundation insulation material between the concrete and the framework. To also ensure air flow, you may put a thin wedge between the framework and the concrete floor and build the wall framework about an inch away from the concrete wall. Also make sure to keep the insulation the same distance away from the concrete. That way you insure air flow behind the wall and behind the insulation. Do not put any vapor barrier against the concrete wall, but you can use that on the inside of the inner framework. To keep the air flow, do not let the vapor barrier go all the way down to the floor, but leave the lower part of the framework without vapor barrier. This way the air can flow freely. You also do not need insulation all the way down to the floor on walls that are underground. The ground will be an insulation. If you put insulation only to about 8 inches below ground level, you will avoid moist reaching your insulation which may cause decay and fungi.

With these kinds of precautions when renovating your basement, your chances of success increases immensely. You can find many good manuals and DIY books at Amazon. For example you can find a good DIY manual following this link Ultimate guide to Home Repair and Improvement.