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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e0poz View Post
    I used to srt a lot of this stuff out in a past life. To save you a ton of hassle i tank the whole lot out. You have signs of moisture on those walls and they will bite you later. In terms of ventilation, i will assume you have modern central heating in the house. You can minimise that a bit and get away with a couple of air bricks either end of the house. The breathable membrane is this stuff
    ...
    Once I managed to stop staring at your avatar, the rest of the post was very helpful

    "Modern" is relative; when the British Gas guys do their annual check up on the boiler they ask if they can send the younger engineers around to see a "rare old classic that they can't believe is still running."

    The basement does not extend under the entire house so airbricks would only be viable for the front wall, making unassisted airflow through the basement problematical I guess. Interestingly, the "major" efflorescense was confined to a small area at the back of the basement, which lines up with where the front room (wooden floor) ends and the back room (concrete floor) begins.

    A chat with someone earlier reminded me of the following information that may or may not be useful.

    First, the three houses at this end of the terrace have some kind of ventilation link through their basements that seems to be by design, possibly to compensate for the lack of front-to-back in the individual basements? The house two doors down had a fire recently and when it was put out the firefighters positively pressurised their basement to force the remaining smoke out, causing it to escape out of the basement vents in front of all three houses.

    Second, the neighbour had an issue with a burst waterpipe that flooded all three basements (up to about a foot) roughly two years ago. It was resolved and the water pumped out, but nothing else was done at the time.

    It looks like there was some ceiling in the basement at some stage - in fact the rafters/joists/whatever they are called are full of nails that need come out before I impale myself. Putting in the ceiling/floor insulation and putting up plasterboard should be within my ability. Skimming it might be an education, though! My concern was a comment I heard elsewhere that you needed to let air get to the floor. I have no idea why and bow to greater wisdom (ie you lot).

    Another point I've realised is that our gas and electric come in through the basement so any work will have to be done around these. Not sure if that's something to pass on to a contractor for my own safety and my wife's stress levels!

    My inspiration comes from looking down into the basement and thinking "I wonder if I could fit an X3 down those steps?"

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #12
    I think the fact you are going to make it a usable space will make a huge difference. As for the sealing of the floor that is not an issue, thats why they have DPM :-). If you are worried about ventilation, stick some rads in, put some vents in the floor to equalise the moisture and the good OLD modern heating will sort the rest out. Forget plastering just caulk and tape the joints, a bit of sanding and your done. Insulating between the beams go for 50mm so you have useful joist still that you can hang things up in. I reckon you could get an X4 size machine down there no probs.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e0poz View Post
    I think the fact you are going to make it a usable space will make a huge difference. As for the sealing of the floor that is not an issue, thats why they have DPM :-). If you are worried about ventilation, stick some rads in, put some vents in the floor to equalise the moisture and the good OLD modern heating will sort the rest out. Forget plastering just caulk and tape the joints, a bit of sanding and your done. Insulating between the beams go for 50mm so you have useful joist still that you can hang things up in. I reckon you could get an X4 size machine down there no probs.
    I noticed that with the attic, the atmosphere changed massively once we got it back into use.

    My wife is still complaining that the whole house now smells like basement after I had the door open for a few hours today, hopefully with cleaning it out, regular use and fresh air that should change. I said earlier there was no noticeable smell suggesting damp - it turns out that all those years of chainsmoking clearly did kill my sense of smell because the wife clearly disagrees with my assessment!

    Now, what do you mean by "rads" and vents in the floor? Are you suggesting venting through the floorboards into the front room?


    This is a rough side view for visualisation, it might help my ramblings make a bit more sense!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Edited to add: X4? If I was flush enough to throw money at one of those I'd have enough to just pay a builder to come and do it for me
    Last edited by Rogue; 15-03-2013 at 09:56 PM.

  4. #14
    I see what you mean about venting into the lounge, swarf smell does not go down to great.

    rad = radiator

    Just work with what you got, street side will be fine. You could look for a one way vent to keep the wind blowing in and put a vent in the access door. The place would never be so warm :-)
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e0poz View Post
    I see what you mean about venting into the lounge, swarf smell does not go down to great.

    rad = radiator

    Just work with what you got, street side will be fine. You could look for a one way vent to keep the wind blowing in and put a vent in the access door. The place would never be so warm :-)
    Now there's a blindingly obvious idea that didn't occur to me - vent on the basement door! Then it's just a matter of ensuring that air is mostly going through in the direction we want. It would also make tackling the (alleged) smell very important.

    Taking control of that flipping great hole is in line with some other really helpful suggestions I was given, along with possibly using a bathroom vent-type fan.

    So, it seems as if step one will be scrubbing the place out and putting together some kind of vent arrangement for that hole in the wall to keep the outside air "outside". It has been suggested that repointing might be a good idea, I assume that holds true whatever steps two onwards might be. That means step one needs to include getting rid of the random paint application!

    If that makes the place a bit more palatable then I can convince the wife to let me move to step two!

  6. #16
    meant to say "stop the wind from blowing in". I have to be honest, i don't know what is but i've always wanted a basement.
    Last edited by Swarfing; 16-03-2013 at 01:10 AM.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e0poz View Post
    meant to say "stop the wind from blowing in". I have to be honest, i don't know what is but i've always wanted a basement.
    You are more than welcome to take mine if you can replace it with a decent brick workshop!

  8. #18
    Given the weather I've not thrown myself fully into this; somehow I get the feeling the middle of a snowpocalypse isn't the time for airing and cleaning basements.

    At this stage I'm not going to touch tanking. After thinking about it and re-reading through some of these posts, my plan is to clean it, limit the external vent to keep the cold air out, add some insulation in the ceiling to keep warm air in and give the walls a few layers of limewash. This will most likely be coupled with some dehumidification system once the external vent is sorted. Some heating facility would probably be a good idea too, though it would be nice if it isn't needed!

    I'm currently attacking a corner to test out the process while I'm waiting for better weather. A bit of light elbow grease brings me down to red brick but there still seems to be the remains of paint or something that doesn't shift. Lightly chipping with something sharp doesn't seem to elicit much of a response. I guess it doesn't help that the surface is very rough so it is difficult to try and scrape under the crud to shift it.

    I want to get rid of this without damaging the brick, cleaning it back fully so that is can be painted later with limewash.

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    Some of it almost looks... cementlike. Grey, solid, doesn't respond to scrubbing. The white stuff visible here is the paint or whatever it is that I'm also trying to shift.

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    Is this just a matter of scrubbing harder with wire brush or is there a smarter way to approach this? Or do I even need to do this? I'm assuming that I do, but then again I assume a lot of things

  9. #19
    D.C.'s Avatar
    Lives in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 05-01-2016 Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 326. Received thanks 30 times, giving thanks to others 24 times.
    That looks more like rust, is that a rsg at the top of the wall? As long as you get all the loose crap off you should be ok to stick a few coats on top without any problems, if you spend weeks wire brushing the crap out of the brickwork you will just damage the bricks. You might want to google 'wirebrush brick' before you go any further it is pretty much universally condemned. Just using a hard yard broom and then a soft floor broom then a good hoovering should get rid most of the crap use a scraper to get rid anything flaking off. Anything that doesn't shift after that is probably going to rip chunks of the brick surface off if you try to remove it so just let it be. If you have any mould/fungal growth give the place a good nuking and then stick an antifungal undercoat on.

    Might also want to get the dehumidifier in and give the beam a bit of tlc, steel is much better at holding up your house than rust.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by D.C. View Post
    That looks more like rust, is that a rsg at the top of the wall?
    It's wood throughout (or at least I can't see any metal) so I hope it's not rusty

    Quote Originally Posted by D.C. View Post
    As long as you get all the loose crap off you should be ok to stick a few coats on top without any problems, if you spend weeks wire brushing the crap out of the brickwork you will just damage the bricks ... Anything that doesn't shift after that is probably going to rip chunks of the brick surface off if you try to remove it so just let it be.
    Sounds sensible, I was just concerned about leaving something on the walls that wouldn't work with my "breathable wall" approach (hence wanting to clean back to redbrick and then limewash). Of course, "intact brick" is probably more important!

    Quote Originally Posted by D.C. View Post
    If you have any mould/fungal growth give the place a good nuking and then stick an antifungal undercoat on.
    I've got some kind of 3-in-1 mould killer (Polycell or something) from a different project, I was thinking that a dose of that would be a good idea. As far as I can establish, limewash is antifungal anyway as well as allowing moisture to pass through.

    Quote Originally Posted by D.C. View Post
    Might also want to get the dehumidifier in and give the beam a bit of tlc, steel is much better at holding up your house than rust.
    Dehumidifying is part of the plan though not until the weather improves and I sort the external vent, otherwise I'll just be trying to dehumidify the street outside the house.

    As an ongoing thing I was also thinking about keeping one or two of those passive dehumidifiers (glorified boxes of gypsum or similar) down there to keep on top of the moisture in the air. Does anyone have any experience with those?

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