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A hopeful future for our moldy basement of doom?

8 inches of rain caused our basement to flood, so we ripped out the carpet and pad, baseboards, and waterlogged drywall. It turns out we had decades worth of pre-existing mold in the drywall, so most of the walls had to come out, too. Now we have a partially unfinished basement with 60 years of half-assed renovation attempts exposed. What do we do now? [more inside]
posted by Maarika on Jun 30, 2014 - 9 answers

Best use / design of finished basement living space

What should we do with this newly opened up space in our finished basement? [more inside]
posted by geeky on Jun 29, 2014 - 7 answers

Bathroom flooded - what do we need to do?

Our bathroom flooded today when a sink plugged up and was left on for 10 to 15 minutes. We've cleaned up the water, but it's an upstairs bathroom, and water got into a light fixture in the main floor and a few gallons got into the basement (through the HVAC system, I think). What do we need to do? [more inside]
posted by Happydaz on Jun 15, 2014 - 12 answers

Guest room in the basement: yea or nay?

We're buying a house (hooray, and thanks for the previous helpful advice, AskMe!). It has a basement with no egress windows or doors. Our parents visit frequently. I'd like to get a sleeper sofa for the upstairs den to put them on when they come; both sets of grandparents and my husband would like to put a guest bed in the basement. [more inside]
posted by gerstle on May 24, 2014 - 23 answers

Our basement smells like something died in there - who do we call?

Short version: Our basement smells like there is something dead and rotting in there. We think the 'something' might be in the wall dividing out house and the neighbors (duplex) but aren't sure. We've cleaned and moved things, so now we need to call a professional in. The question is - what is the name / type of professional we need? I dont know what to look for in the yellow pages.... Details if you're interested inside [more inside]
posted by darsh on Apr 14, 2014 - 10 answers

"Trench warfare" vs. water in basement?

Before we bought our house, our home inspector suggested a solution to a minor water issue in the basement. I'm considering his solution and others, and welcome knowledgeable opinions. [more inside]
posted by sleevener on Apr 8, 2014 - 12 answers

Cutting a hole in foundation wall

Cutting a hole in foundation wall? [more inside]
posted by dabug on Mar 25, 2014 - 8 answers

VCR Ate My Copy of The Half-Assed Approach to Foundation Repair

The decades-old parging/plaster on our basement walls is scabby and peeling. The concrete itself is crumbly in places and there are a couple of cracks. It seems to me that the solution to my problem is to remove the old parging/plaster, fill the cracks with hydraulic cement, and patch the crumbly parts. But I'm less clear on the hows, whys, and whens. [more inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Feb 9, 2014 - 6 answers

Basements and Attics in North America

I've been wondering about this for a long time- how prevalent are basements and attics in houses in North America? It seems like I'm always hearing about people doing projects in their basements (or dwelling in them!)- or having all sorts of treasures stashed away up in their attics. [more inside]
posted by Philby on Feb 7, 2014 - 59 answers

What are possible reasons that a basement would flood after snow melts?

What are the potential reasons you'd get water seeping into a basement after melting snow, but not after hard rains? Assume floors and carpets are drenched and soggy after a big snow melts, with water evident beneath linoleum, but there is not actual standing water. Would this be proof of a foundation crack? Also assume soil/earth outside the home is of a somewhat nonabsorbent quality, so that there are standing pools in the yard after each rain. Does this affect the diagnosis?
posted by third rail on Jan 30, 2014 - 7 answers

Weird fertilizer/gassy smell in the basement (from the water heater?)

I was away from the house last night when I got a text from my wife about a strange "fertilizer" smell coming from the basement of our house. I came home a few hours later and smelled it immediately - hard to describe, but a slightly acrid, recognizable chlorine-y scent reminiscent of a garden center. It was noticeable on the first floor but stronger in the basement. I sniffed around for a while but couldn't locate an obvious source. The only thing I could find that was awry was that the pilot light had gone out in the water heater (only time that's happened), which is suggestive of a chimney backdraft. I relit the pilot without issue and verified that the water heater was venting correctly with a stick of Nag Champa. Multiple C02 detectors in the house detected nothing. We'll have an HVAC guy come out ASAP, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this and whether I'm diagnosing the issue correctly. Is this what water heater fumes smell like? We've lived in the house for a year, and this is the first time it's happened. [more inside]
posted by ndg on Dec 30, 2013 - 15 answers

Slow basement seepage towards boilers, solutions?

Aaahhh, the Northeast. With melting snow and rainfall, our basement has a slow leak, maybe two to three inches deep at the worst. It has reached under one of the boilers, barely a half inch at that point, and we are trying to figure out if/when to panic. [more inside]
posted by lillygog on Dec 23, 2013 - 10 answers

Glass Block or Insulated Replacement Window

So I have been working on my house and making it energy efficient. It is now time to replace the basement windows in my split level. One double wide window needs to be replaced with one that opens to meet code, but the other three single wide windows do not. Would I be better installing glass blocks in those three, not vented, or installing either a picture, slider, or another type of insulated vinyl replacement window? If I should do a replacement window, which type should I use? [more inside]
posted by Nackt on Dec 19, 2013 - 6 answers

Advice on water damage, flood, cleanup and insurance.

Our finished basement flooded thanks to a backed up sink and the iron filter discharge running. As far as we've been able to discern, our insurance does cover this. We've had a cleanup crew sent out by the insurance company. However, I've got some concerns on how it's being handled, specifically that not enough and not enough of the right work is being done. [more inside]
posted by LANA! on Dec 17, 2013 - 7 answers

Use of basement space

I have a finished basement in Brooklyn with nothing to put in it. For what uses could I rent it? [more inside]
posted by greta simone on Oct 23, 2013 - 29 answers

Help With The Creeping Seep

Hi all. I'm a relatively new homeowner in Brooklyn, NY. A creeping seep is attempting to devour our basement. It started two weeks ago, and seeps whether wet or dry. The plumbing has already been investigated. What to do next? [more inside]
posted by drapatz on Oct 7, 2013 - 4 answers

Flooring Options Over Green Concrete

We are having a basement finished with very recently placed concrete (on the order of a few months old). Our contractor says that we have to wait to put vinyl flooring down (but we could put down carpet). What are our options for flooring materials? [more inside]
posted by plinth on Aug 13, 2013 - 5 answers

Basement door ruminations

We have a short (maybe 2/3, 3/4 standard height) door leading to the basement, and are contemplating making it a full-height door to have a separate entrance for a home office. Extending the door downwards seems to be the easiest option, but that will place it only a few inches above the basement floor, and I'm concerned about flooding. Is there a way to make this happen that will not increase the risk of flooding? [more inside]
posted by Behemoth on Aug 6, 2013 - 5 answers

How wet is too wet for a basement carpet?

The basement floor drain where condensation from my AC unit drains backed up, leading to a minor leak which soaked a small section of carpet (maybe 50 sq feet). I'm guessing it was 4-8 gallons of water total that leaked, and that it had been wet 24-36 hours before we noticed. The back up now is fixed. I've got every fan in the house blowing on the area of carpet. Do I need to do anything else? I'm thinking I don't need professional help given the amount of water and that a few days of the fans blowing in that corner of the basement will dry it out without permanent damage.
posted by COD on Jul 18, 2013 - 14 answers

Turn It Up, Turn It Down

Extensive research into the state of the HVAC art has revealed more questions than it has answered. How do I set the thermostat in my new row house to maximize both comfort and efficiency? [more inside]
posted by fedward on Jul 14, 2013 - 10 answers

Sump pump backup recommendations?

Yesterday's unprecedented rain event + power outage left a lot of folks in Toronto with flooded basements. We were home to bail out our sump but I'd like the piece of mind of knowing we have a reliable backup system. Amazon has a highly rated water powered unit called the Basepump RB 750, so I'm leaning towards that kind of system but would appreciate input from anyone here. The battery powered unit would be much easier to install but I'm wondering how reliable people have found them to be over time. Would it just be a matter of replacing the battery every 5 years or so, like in a car? . [more inside]
posted by bonobothegreat on Jul 9, 2013 - 3 answers

How do I de-damp the walk-out basement of a lake house?

My in-laws have a lake house in Maine that's about 35 years old. It is a great place, except it gets very damp inside, especially in the basement/lower level, which is above ground on the east side and below ground on the west side. (The yard slopes down to the lake on the west side, starting at the top of the house.) What tactics and strategies can we undertake to de-damp the place? Or is this just the way life is with a lake house? [more inside]
posted by scottso17 on Jul 7, 2013 - 3 answers

Seeking the Bosch of dehumidifiers. Bonus if it's also the Prius.

Can you help us pick a super-reliable, long-lasting dehumidifier for our damp basement? It would be fantastic if it's also unusually energy-efficient. [more inside]
posted by spamloaf on Jul 2, 2013 - 6 answers

Which is the apexiest of these predators? And what are they eating?

Help me understand the ecosystem of my house. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on May 18, 2013 - 10 answers

How to tell if your carpet was ruined by water

With all the rain we had this week our sump pumps (2 pits, 3 pumps total) were not able to keep up and our carpet in the basement ended up taking on water. The wet carpet was confined to the perimeter of a family room and a closet. Other parts of the basement became damp, but they were tile or concrete. The water was never above the carpet. My question is: how can I tell if it's ruined or not? If I can't tell, how can I find an unbiased expert opinion? Does homeowner's insurance typically help replace carpet lost to excess rain? [more inside]
posted by achmorrison on Apr 19, 2013 - 7 answers

Extreme Basement Finish: Bath Edition

I've had a change of heart in what I want to do with my basement shower. Are my ideas feasible? [more inside]
posted by SquidLips on Mar 22, 2013 - 8 answers

How must/can I modify my basement to legally use it as a bedroom?

I am planning to convert my basement into a bedroom for one of my brothers to use. I was thinking all that was needed was carpeting and paint, but one of my friends recently told me that I may need to have some kind of modification to the basement windows or walls so that there's a fire escape route apart from the stairs. Is this the case? I've had a hard time finding a definitive legal reference as to what I need to do to have someone legally sleep in my basement. [more inside]
posted by Vorteks on Feb 21, 2013 - 13 answers

Please help me negotiate with my sump pump

My sump pump currently has different ideas of when and how it should work than I do. I have a couple of questions about plumbing for the sump, and a question about whether there is something I can fix that will allow me to not replace it. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Jan 28, 2013 - 6 answers

Weepy walls = sad homeowners.

Basement drainage issues...suggestions? [more inside]
posted by TomMelee on Dec 5, 2012 - 9 answers

Odd basement drainage feature?

We're thinking about making an offer on a house. However, it has an odd feature in the basement that may be related to drainage. Can anyone tell us what this might do or what could be behind the wall? Picture here - it's the 4" bumpout in the back left corner. [more inside]
posted by WowLookStars on Sep 30, 2012 - 11 answers

Why not remove batt insulation from basement ceiling joist bays?

I live in a 1993-construction modified cape-style house, in New England. Three floors, ~1900 square feet. The rim joists in the (unfinished, unheated) basement have been air-sealed with Great Stuff expanding foam. Do I really want or need fiberglass batting in the basement ceiling joist bays? [more inside]
posted by ellF on Aug 13, 2012 - 4 answers

My rented basement apartment flooded and I can't live there anymore. What next?

I rent a basement apartment in Washington, DC in a neighborhood that recently experienced serious, repeated dirty water flooding due to issues with the water system (specifically, Bloomingdale). I evacuated amidst the first of three floods and I haven't lived there since. I don't believe I can move back in, so I'd like some help understanding what I am supposed to do next. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 8, 2012 - 3 answers

Waterproofing: What to Expect

Waterproofing: we just got an estimate for our basement. What's best for us, and is this a good estimate? [more inside]
posted by amicamentis on Aug 1, 2012 - 8 answers

Computer Network Solutions for a Basement?

How do I get internet access into a finished basement? [more inside]
posted by Betelgeuse on Aug 1, 2012 - 26 answers

It's a bug-eat-bug world out there.

Just a dead bug... but where could it have come from? And where did all these little critters show up from? Are they larva from the corpse? Please help me figure out how to best get rid of this mess. [more inside]
posted by matticulate on Jul 30, 2012 - 8 answers

Building a basement bathroom.

Anyone here build a basement bathroom with an up-flush toilet? [more inside]
posted by Marky on May 29, 2012 - 6 answers

What are these large metal objects?

What are these large metal objects? [more inside]
posted by andrewpendleton on Mar 18, 2012 - 8 answers

How can I set up a mildew-free workout space in my unfinished basement?

I want to use my unfinished basement as a workout space and have laid down some interlocking foam tiles on the bare concrete floor. However, the floor under the tiles has started showing mildew after a few weeks in place. How can I set up a comfortable workout space in a typically humid but not wet basement without having to lift the tiles every couple of months to scrub out the mildew? [more inside]
posted by wexford_arts on Feb 13, 2012 - 13 answers

Sump pump recommendation needed

Need a recommendation for a sump pump - preferably one with a battery backup. [more inside]
posted by exhilaration on Jan 20, 2012 - 7 answers

Baby it's cold outside, and in here too.

How to go about insulating an 100 year old house? [more inside]
posted by wwax on Jan 5, 2012 - 12 answers

Best Flooring Ideas for a Basement?

What is the best flooring for a basement? Has anyone had experience with the wood-like laminate? [more inside]
posted by amicamentis on Dec 27, 2011 - 15 answers

We Can't Afford Therapy for All 3 Kids.

We need to finish the ceiling in our basement bedroom as cheaply as possible, and with as much soundproofing as possible, and have no idea how to do it. [more inside]
posted by VioletU on Dec 24, 2011 - 5 answers

Efflorescence a problem?

Efflorescence on basement wall: After I remove it, should I treat the wall? [more inside]
posted by LonnieK on Dec 17, 2011 - 3 answers

Should we get a dehumidifier or do something else?

Is a dehumidifier the right solution for my problem? What else should we be considering? [more inside]
posted by linettasky on Oct 26, 2011 - 5 answers

Mold control in a dry basement?

Mold control in a dry basement? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Oct 3, 2011 - 4 answers

How do I purge the basement of doom?

My house has an unfinished basement. It's a terrible mess and causing enough problems for my husband's allergies (we think) that it's not even usable right now. What can we do to get it straightened out? [more inside]
posted by ashirys on Sep 5, 2011 - 14 answers

Mold on litter box in basement

After returning from a month away, we discovered green mold (or something resembling mold) growing on and around the cat's litter box in our basement. I have removed the litter box and anything else covered in the green stuff, and I started running a dehumidifier in the basement. What steps should I take to ensure that I eradicate the stuff and that my family (including a baby and the cat) remain safe?
posted by billtron on Aug 27, 2011 - 11 answers

Finishing the Finishing of a Basement

Previous owners of our house began the process of finishing the basement. I'm thinking about completing the job. What should I know? [more inside]
posted by Vectorcon Systems on Aug 25, 2011 - 8 answers

HVAC experts! I want a cool, dry basement home theater / jam room!

HVAC experts! I want a cool, dry basement home theater / jam room! [more inside]
posted by bradn on Aug 1, 2011 - 6 answers

How do I repair this void underneath the steps to our basement? (Long)

How do I repair this void underneath the steps to our basement? (Long) [more inside]
posted by bellastarr on Jul 20, 2011 - 6 answers

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