I couldn't post this for a long time because my account was
I have heard, many times, the opinion that one should correct
the basic cause of any water coming into one's basement, and do
it from outside if possible. I do have a sense of the truth
and limitations of that opinion.
I've had many experiences with people online telling me things,
with total assurance, and being totally wrong. Sometimes
hilariously so, sometimes disastrously (there's a very funny
story I've told about one experience, in alt.home.repair, along
those lines). So now I take such opinions, not only with a grain
of salt, but salty like bar-snacks! There is no substitute
for actually being there, which is why I wasn't asking
this newsgroup whether I should pay for some major waterproofing
project on the outside of my house.
I was just asking some questions about what the estimator
proposed to do.
The estimator said his parging compound - whatever it is - would
work better than something like Drylok, because it's thicker.
That, I'm skeptical about, because one thing he told me was
that the (very thin) paint that's on the concrete block now,
wouldn't have to be removed to apply the parging compound.
For Drylok, they want you to remove any existing paint, so
it can soak in and make a water-impermeable layer. So Drylok
may be actually doing more than this parging compound.
I do know why the dampness is appearing. There used to be a
gutter in that damp area, that leaked a lot. The rest of the
wall doesn't have any visible dampness. I got the gutter fixed
about 10 years ago. According to the estimator who looked
at the situation, the wall would probably have had tar applied
on the outside. Probably the tar waterproofing was damaged
by the leaking gutter.
HOWEVER, I'm very dubious that even if I do something only on
the inside and it failed, that it would cause any real harm.
I'm planning to rebuild the wall inside with materials that
can't rot or feed mold. Any mildew that happened inside the
wall would be minor without significant organic material
there to feed it - judging by what I encountered when I took
the old wall off. Even if I did nothing at all to keep out