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Thread: Vapor barrier and dirt floors??

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Vapor barrier and dirt floors??

    I'm helping some freinds with their home. The issue is they have an unfinished basement and they have some dirt odors that come up through the floor. they also get some minor flooding every yr. too. some yahoo put a vapor barrier directly onto the dirt floor...which does nothing when it floods. I'm going to get a couple large rolls of poly and staple it to the floor joists in their basement. i will then tape the seams with duct tape. this should be sufficient and a cheap fix to help eliminate the earthy odors and moisture that makes it's way through the floor into the house. one thing that i was wondering......is there something that i can spread on the unfinished dirt floor to help cut down on the odors?? if so......i would greatly appreciate any advice. thankyou.

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    There is no such thing as "minor flooding every year" in a basement.
    The vapor barrier goes on the ground to keep moisture out of the basement...the yahoo put it where it goes.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    That yahoo probably did the right thing, but did'nt seal it right.

    If your in a flood plain you might have to do something differant.

    What kinda walls are in the crawl space? And how high are the walls in the crawl space?

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I'm helping some freinds with their home. The issue is they have an unfinished basement and they have some dirt odors that come up through the floor. they also get some minor flooding every yr. too. some yahoo put a vapor barrier directly onto the dirt floor...which does nothing when it floods. I'm going to get a couple large rolls of poly and staple it to the floor joists in their basement. i will then tape the seams with duct tape. this should be sufficient and a cheap fix to help eliminate the earthy odors and moisture that makes it's way through the floor into the house. one thing that i was wondering......is there something that i can spread on the unfinished dirt floor to help cut down on the odors?? if so......i would greatly appreciate any advice. thankyou.

    garden lime will help with the odor... the vapor barrier belongs on the floor.

    is this a " basement" or a crawl space" ?????? for real? if it is an actual basement if you want to help them... dig a big dang hole in the center... plant a 55 gallon perforated drum and put a sump pump in it... and a lid...


    if the water table comes up... the pump if adequate should take care of any issue...
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  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    If this has happened you have got way worse problems to be dealing with than odors. Look closely and you will see mold and probably a lot of it. There are many kinds of mold that get in places like you describe.
    The only solution is spendy.
    Check the wood for rot. Replace as necessary.
    Run a ozone creating air filter for a long time, to kill the mold spores.
    Bleach heavy mold with a brush.
    Dig around the foundation and put in a french drain.
    Do a concrete slop pore on the dirt.
    Go to SBS and get the water blocking coating/paint they sell and do the floor and the walls.
    Put in an automatic dehydrator and plumb it into the house drain to the sewer.
    Do not underestimate the damage already sustained. You need to fix it. Be sure to wear all the necessary personal protective gear when you do these things.
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    Akres hit it right on the money. The only option he left out was power venting, but the dehydrator will do the same thing. Due to some issues in an area of my crawl space that I really can't get to, I installed a vent and a fan. The fan runs 24/7 365 days a year. It pulls the air from the house through the cracks around my trap door. This is sufficient to keep the crawl space dry and any mold and smells at bay. The issue will be resolved this year by digging up the foundation and backfilling it with better gravel.

    Does your friend live in an area of low water table, or is the minor flooding caused by poor drainage around the house? If the issue is poor drainage the only cure is digging up around the basement and creating a good drainage system.
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    hey guys.....thanks for the info given

    i is a crawl space and i religously inspected every floor joist....no mold. BUT......on the moist ground in the crawl space..........there is a thin, white crystal colored mold. We're doesnt look like to big of a deal and everything down there looks in great shape. we will set up fans, and spread some lime on the dirt. Since there is no major mold.....i was going to douse the floorjoists and the crawl space walls with some lysol. We bought some fans to permanently put down there too. any more ideas?

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I think a bleach solution wood be better for the spraying of the joists.

    I think its a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water.

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    Thumbs up what rock said...bleach

    slope the dirt away from the house = no water..UNless its the water table comming up (bad land choice!) then a barrel/pump set up!!!! no duct tape ..use ty-vek tape /only cause 3m don't make that red tape no more...hell all these posts are on it!!! . ding! ding!! ding !!! here that bell? rep points for all!!! !!!!
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    One other thing, make **** sure that you wear a mask while spraying, and your body covered.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    only cause 3m don't make that red tape no more
    You can still buy red vapor barrier tape from SBS. I sell it in my store too, but I buy it from SBS at a wholesale price.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  12. #12

    Thumbs up

    Glad it was not found to be as bad as it could have been. As silly as it sounds, you should also put in some crawl space vents on opposite ends/corners of the house, like Doug mentioned, so you get cross-ventilation. Hard as heck to cut holes in a house up here, when you are thinking heat is good, but for sure ventilation is better. Tell your friend to try to keep the humidity right around 45%. Not too dry and not too damp. Keep a close eye on it and determine the cause, that way you know what course of action to take as things develop. A house and it's crawl space is just like a living organizm. Need to keep things in balance. In any crawl space, I recommend running an ozone creating air filter from time to time. You can rent them or buy them. Mold don't like ozone and it don't like pure oxygen either. Keep up on it and you can take care of it.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Akers I have to laugh every time somebody says cut a vent in a crawl space up here,

    Unless you have a pipe that reachs 4' above the ground, it does nothing for you in the winter time, unless you want to dig it out after every snow.

    I know, was forced to do this on house's in the villages.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    Akers I have to laugh every time somebody says cut a vent in a crawl space up here,

    Unless you have a pipe that reachs 4' above the ground, it does nothing for you in the winter time, unless you want to dig it out after every snow.

    I know, was forced to do this on house's in the villages.

    ES i have NO idea what your saying here...

    But I am a believer in vented spaces here in the wet areas...

    as long as the floor is well insulated, and the major wind mass and air movment is stoped... to a minimal... circulation things are fine..


    i have found that is #1 in keeping the floor warm out here is stopping the wind.. even if it is just lattice. insulation with foam board across the joist.. wind stops.. and no issues.. insulate and wrap the septic lines keep all the other lines in the house... not hard at all...

    if it has a water system in the crawl space then by all means make it heated then that in itself solves the damp issues.

    but if you want to dry something out... open it at -50... but i doubt that is an option for Manier...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    wow the unfinished basement is suddenly a crawlspace. I love magic.
    I suggest you hire a professional.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mics_54 View Post
    wow the unfinished basement is suddenly a crawlspace. I love magic.
    I suggest you hire a professional.

    yeah...didnt get the scoop until it was time to actually help them......
    oh well.

    is there a problem with that??
    I suggest you take your suggestions and uh.......do some magic with em.

  17. #17
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Vince, AKres, AKDOUG,

    thanks for the input. We had quite a few cans of lysol so that is what i used. it really wasnt too wet down there......not bad at all. i did spread some lime and raked it into the dirt with a bull rake. I replaced the filter on the heating system, and they bought 3 24 inch box fans (for now). We opened the outside door over night and put one of the fans over the crawlspace with the cover off. this room has an additional interior door that closes it off from the house. so we were actually able to pull air DOWN into the crawlspace for the past 24 hours. You could smell the earthy odors being pushed out the vents.......when you were standing outside. I just went down there and the dirt appears to be drying well. we will let it ventilate for a few more days before we put the vapor barrier down. Already bought a few rolls of 6mil. Didnt think to get this red tape....but i will make sure to do this. AKDOUG.....thanks for the hit on that red tape.....prob. will be much better than duct tape eh? It's not bad down there at all.....in great shape.....but STAGNENT!! no venitilation. to my surprise my buddies wife is not having hardly any allergy issues like she was before! and we had thanksgiving over here.....with no odors in the house. when i took the old filter off the heater vent......i did turn up thermistat and sprayed a ton of lysol directly into the vent until you could smell it coming out of every darn heating duct in the house. i opened all the windows and let the smell of lysol vent out of the house for a few hours. NO ODORS.....AND NO WIFE NAGGING ON MY BUDDY! He works many weeks up at Red Dog Mine......a crawl space is prob. the last place he wants to be....again thanks guys.

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    What's wrong with hiring some one that knows what they are doing? Don't you like stimulating the economy and sharing the wealth?

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Post my bad...

    there is a 'new red tape' ...not 3m, ....... i remember the day 3m no longer made it ...........i caugth hell at, the store/s, the whole town "was on me about it"....cause i WAS the rep.............................
    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    You can still buy red vapor barrier tape from SBS. I sell it in my store too, but I buy it from SBS at a wholesale price.
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    I haven't had very good success with the red tape. Its strong and seems to stick well at first but then it seems to be very temperature sensitive and releases.

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