New Finished Basement? Keep Basement From Smelling, Say No To Musty Smells. Pt 1

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Once a finished basement begins to have that odor its use begins to decline until one day it becomes a big nicely finished closet, and returns to being unused and wasted space.
Home » New Finished Basement? Keep Basement From Smelling, Say No To Musty Smells. Pt 1

Make sure you are prepared to keep your new finished basement from smelling. Say No, too that musty smell. All too soon that musty old basement smell returns. You know that smell, like banal old socks with a dash of moth balls. That smell your uncle’s old 1950’s wood panel and drywall ceiling bar room in the basement smelled like. Once a finished basement begins to have that odor its use begins to decline until one day it becomes a big nicely finished closet, and returns to being unused and wasted space. Let us help you make sure that doesn’t be to your design. Together we can show you how to produce a space your family will use frequently and for as long as you enjoy the home. And also it’ll be a selling point when it’s time to move on.

Your New Finished Basement Smell
Your New Finished Basement(Say No! To Musty Smells) Pt 1

Tip #1: Tolerate No MoistureBasement Insulation Mold-Busting

To keep Your new finished basement from smelling. Tolerate No Moisture. No matter how well you follow the other four strategies, mold will always win in the presence of sufficient moisture. That’s why you must never, ever finish a basement space that’s anything less than 100% dry, 100% of the time. There are no exceptions to this rule. In fact, it’s not just liquid moisture that will ruin your basement and air quality, but invisible moisture vapor, too. That’s right. You can have a basement that’s looked dry for decades, yet you can still have a moisture problem. How do you know? Polyethylene vapor barrier plastic is your best detection tool.

What You Can Do To Test For Moisture

Cut 24” x 24” pieces of clear polyethylene vapor barrier, then tape them to the walls and concrete floor in several places. Leave them there for a few days, and look for moisture building up on the inside face. What you see under the plastic is what will happen inside your walls after they go up. If you do see droplets of moisture (and it’s not unusual), remove the plastic, paint the bare masonry with a waterproof paint such as Drylok or any other cementitious paint, then test again. Only when your basement passes all moisture tests can you safely finish the space. Don’t let your enthusiasm get the better of you in this matter. When in doubt, get the opinion of an experienced contractor that is knowledgeable about the subject.

What To Look For In A Contractor To Keep Basement From Smelling.

Beware the contractor that paints an overly rosy picture just to get the finishing project. Many contractors will give bad advice for fear of losing a job due to the added, but necessary cost of doing some foundation repair before you finish. Those contractors are only concerned with getting the project and then getting paid. How long the basement lasts after they are gone is no concern to them. The contractor that glosses over any dampness concerns you have is one to avoid. Trust your gut.

Tip #2: Eliminate Organics -Basement Insulation Mold-Busting

To keep Your new finished basement from smelling. Eliminate All Organics. When it comes to basements (and many other areas of life), designing things with multiple layers of safety is always the best idea. If your basement really was 100% dry, 100% of the time, then there’d be no danger in using wood or paper-based drywall for finishing. But what if 100% dry actually turns out to be only 95% of the time? A little bit of moisture can feed a lot of mold, but it has a harder time growing without organic matter to feed on. That’s why it makes sense to keep wood and paper building materials out of the basement, or at least well away from potentially moist masonry surfaces.

Keep Your Basement From Smelling By Choosing Materials That Contain No Organics

This is where the still-common practice of using wooden wall studs and batt insulation in basements is especially foolish. Better to use metal studs, galvanized steel studs go a long way to eliminating organics in hidden places. Just be prepared for push-back from contractors who have “always used wood studs”. I have the greatest respect for good builders, but be warned that there are a whole lot of builders out there who confuse experience with knowledge. Just because a contractor has a 30-year legacy of creating finished basements that generate bad air does not make it right. Remember had the building code not changed you can be sure there would have been contractors using lead based paint and asbestos insulation years after it was determined to no longer be safe mostly purely from the standpoint of it was the way they had always done it.

Check Back for Part 2

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