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
Hi - This is mainly a UK forum - no idea about US building regs.
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?
Just out of interest, should the word buffalo be Buffalo? I just ask
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.
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
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.
[Default] On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:25:12 +0000, a certain chimpanzee,
brianhowell1640_at_gmail_dot email@example.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
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.,
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.,
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).
"If no-one on the internet wants a piece of this,
I don't agree with the need for a perfect grammer requirement in order
to ask questions. This is a diy forum and when people are critical on
it could keep others from posting important questions they need answers
As far as the basement, I am having the same problem with my outer stone
condensation. Digging further into the ground that is holding up your
probably would not be good, you might accidentally shift your whole house
the walls and tilting the whole house structure... eek...
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