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He's my situation. My wife and I inherited a house and I've got some work in the basement. It was used as a work shop so it's completely unfinished. My problems are that a) the house is so old the basement walls are made from flat stones and mortar that leak when the ground is wey, and since the house is near buffalo the ground is always pretty moist and in general the basement is very wet. And b) I am about 5'11" to 6' tall. Well when the house was built people were a bit shorter. Here's my questions:
Is it possible to dig out my basement and make it deeper so it's more comfortable?
when I rebuild my walls I was thinking of using heavy duty vinyl sheeting to put between the ground and the new walls to water proof it. Should that work?
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On 23/12/2010 20:25, b.howell wrote:

However if you dig down in your basement the foundations will become shallow, also if you take out the walls to rebuild them, what will hold up the house?
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Can't you move the buffalo somewhere else? (Sorry, just pointing out what misunderstandings can crop up when posting in a country specific newsgroup).
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On 23/12/2010 20:25, b.howell wrote:

because maybe you are near Buffalo in NY and possibly the ground is softer there than elsewhere. If you mean buffalo, then are you suggesting that buffalo only live in moist areas?
The above sounds like sarcasm, but is not meant to be. But perhaps it's a reflection on the fact that so many people today do not explain themselves or write properly. It's not cool to punctuate or put uppercase initials in the correct places.
Rob Graham
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I'll try and avoid jokes about herds of incontinent buffalo etc......
I'd agree with Chewbacca - structurally changing it would be a major and risky proposition, and for what looks like very little gain.
Tackling the damp issue is probably beyond the scope of DIY too. The term we use in the UK is "tanking" which involves bonding a waterproof membrane to the inside of the basement walls. Even the slightest breech in that membrane (e.g. putting screws and other fixings through it) will allow damp through again when you're below ground level - which also restricts how you can use such a space when the work has been done.
Also, if you use it as a workshop, there are other possible considerations around insufficient ventilation, fire, lack of natural light etc. in any event. So if it was me, I'd either leave it as it is, OR properly tank it and use it purely for storage to free up workshop space elsewhere (back of garage etc.).
Midge.
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On 03/01/2011 12:28, Midge wrote:

I don't want to seem picky, but I thought tanking was the lining of the inside walls with a metal box. I would expect a membrane to burst or collapse at some point because it's possible the water that has, until now, been gently flowing through the wall and into the basement, will build up outside the membrane and collapse it by sheer weight. Membrane liners are fine for swimming pools where the pressure is from the inside, but I'm surprised to hear they are used for basements - unless, of course, you put them round the outside of the walls which is unlikely for anyone outside of Hogwarts.
Rob Graham
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[Default] On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:25:12 +0000, a certain chimpanzee, brianhowell1640_at_gmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (b.howell), randomly hit the keyboard and wrote:

As others have pointed out, you have posted in a UK newsgroup (not a forum, BTW). However, on the assumption that water, soil and masonry are no respectors of jurisdiction, I would make the following observations:
The walls being made of 'flat stones and mortar' is what we would call, 'walls'. History lesson; all walls let in water to some extent, the Victorians and predecessors were less fussy about it than we are today. The basements that leaked a lot had drainage in them to allow that water to flow away. The others just let it evaporate away over a period of time by ensuring that the basement was ventilated (or lived in by poor people).
Damp-proofing of basements consist of two methods; stopping the water getting through the walls or stopping it getting to the occupants.
The first method involves coating the inside or the outside of the walls with a waterproof material (bitumen, ashphalt, cementicious render, etc.) (e.g., www.vandex.com/index.php?id5&backPID5&tt_products5&L=1#p145). This works better when applied to the outside which is not possible to existing buildings. When applied internally, it is only suitable for free-draining soils with a water table lower than that of the basement, so the tanking doesn't hold the moisture in the structure.
The second method is to allow the water in through the structure and drain away behind a special profiled tanking membrane (e.g., www.newton-membranes.co.uk/services/services.aspx?serviceType=1&idH&catID=3) on the inside to a gravity or a pumped sump drain. The inside is kept dry by the tanking membrane which is sealed. This is preferred when the basement is in a high or variable water table.
I'm assuming that your Congress has ratified the law of gravity, so don't go digging out below the level of the foundations.
I suspect that such work would come under the aegis of 'Building Codes', so contact your local authority before you start. You wouldn't want to fall foul of your local Building Inspector; over there they carry guns (well, everyone else seems to).
--
Hugo Nebula
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/diy/New-to-forum-and-home-23644-.htm lisastar wrote: I don't agree with the need for a perfect grammer requirement in order for posters to ask questions. This is a diy forum and when people are critical on grammer than it could keep others from posting important questions they need answers for.
As far as the basement, I am having the same problem with my outer stone wall and condensation. Digging further into the ground that is holding up your house probably would not be good, you might accidentally shift your whole house shifting the walls and tilting the whole house structure... eek...
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