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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a cabin a few years ago. All wood exterior and interior. It has a cement block basement that holds the hot water heater, holding tank for water and a drain for the pipes. There is insulation on the ceiling of the basement. The basement is a pain in the rear. It holds moisture and the mice build nest in the insulation. I'm working on adding more vents in the block and putting dry lock on the walls to fix the moisture problem. But I'm thinking about just pulling down the insulation, trying to fill any holes that the mice use to get in, and just not putting insulation back up. The insulation just holds moisture and the mice love it. They die in there and the basement stinks. I'm just wondering if anyone thinks this I is a bad idea and that I should always have insulation in the basement.
 

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Find where the mice are coming and close it up. Then fix your insulation. Maybe another vent or a fan in the vent could help with the moisture.
 

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Put rigid foam board between joists or get it spray foamed.
 

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Insulate the floor cover with plastic then cap with osb 7/16 or something light easy to work with caulk the joints and where the pipes run through. Keep the hot water tank and holding tank off the floor do the best you can for the wall to help its work but should help
 

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fine metal mesh or screening works well too. I'd keep the floor insulated. Keeps cabin warmer, reduced moisture and helps cool it in the summer
 

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I assume the basement is fully or mostly exposed...personally I would work on the moisture, mouse problem, seal everything up and then replace the insulation. Once you do all of this, you could have a usable basement/additional usable square footage. Or at the vary least keep the chill off the feet
 

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Dry lock the walls will help with the moisture problem, but only if it's coming through the walls. Is there a concrete floor in basement? If not, a lot of your moisture problems could be coming from the ground. If it's dirt, add a moisture barrier to prevent this, heavy plastic with gravel over top works. If it's a full basement with concrete floor, what type of heat do you have? If possible, push heat into basement area, it will rise to the floor and circulate air. If you do this, seal up all outside vents.

Mice are hard to keep out, especially if it's an older cabin. Search out all little places they can squeeze in and seal them off.
 

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Good advice all over. Seal out the mice (Good Luck) and as Black Bruin said use foam board for your insulation a sure fix would be a dehumidifier .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cabin is 16 years old. Basement is completely underground with no fire exit so no chance of using it for anything other than storage. Cement floor in the basement with concrete block. The back of the cabin faces an uphill grade so water will always be an issue on that side. I just don't know how much the insulation is needed. Maybe around the edges of the exterior but besides that, it might not be worth it.
 

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Do you have the wire hangers that pin you insulation up into the bay? I had that problem too with mice and older insulation. They made the insulation droop and sag. I got the wire hangers and pinned it up with those and it helped a lot.
 

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pilotjjc3 said:
I just don't know how much the insulation is needed. Maybe around the edges of the exterior but besides that, it might not be worth it.
In my opinion you do not lose enough heat through the floor into the basement to make it worth replacing the insulation. If you use the least expensive option (replacing the fiberglass batting), you are likely to have the mouse problem again. Rigid foam is expensive, spray foam is even more expensive.

I'd pull that musty, mouse-pee smelling stuff out of there and leave the joist cavities open. Then I'd seal up any possible mouse entry points and maybe insulate the rim joist with some rigid polystyrene. But if the basement is not heated, even that is not a priority. Save your insulation dollars for the attic where most of your heat loss occurs.
 

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Lugnut said:
pilotjjc3 said:
I just don't know how much the insulation is needed. Maybe around the edges of the exterior but besides that, it might not be worth it.
In my opinion you do not lose enough heat through the floor into the basement to make it worth replacing the insulation. If you use the least expensive option (replacing the fiberglass batting), you are likely to have the mouse problem again. Rigid foam is expensive, spray foam is even more expensive.

I'd pull that musty, mouse-pee smelling stuff out of there and leave the joist cavities open. Then I'd seal up any possible mouse entry points and maybe insulate the rim joist with some rigid polystyrene. But if the basement is not heated, even that is not a priority. Save your insulation dollars for the attic where most of your heat loss occurs.
All good points throughout,..but I am going to second lug's info. Mice are hard to keep out. They squeeze and eat through the tinyest holes. Go over the entire rim joist area and block all holes...inside and out. Then check the holes occassionally because they will bring all their buddies over to eat through your patchwork.


The pee smell will never go away from the insulation. Just remember to keep the basement warm enough that it does not freeze. If it is mostly underground it will be ok.
 

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If the moisture is coming through the walls dry lock does not solve the problem only masks the symptoms. Best course of action is to repair waterproofing on exterior. Also, if there is not a plastic vapor barrier under the concrete floor moisture could be coming from below. The capillary action of concrete pulls moisture in both directions - from the surface and from below. Given the age of the basement it is probably safe to assume the barrier is not there. This time of year you should be running a dehumidifier down there. Floors over conditioned basement space don't need to be insulated. If you have a heat source in the basement to protect the water equipment I'd tear out all the insulation and not replace it.
 

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Doubledog said:
If the moisture is coming through the walls dry lock does not solve the problem only masks the symptoms. Best course of action is to repair waterproofing on exterior. Also, if there is not a plastic vapor barrier under the concrete floor moisture could be coming from below. The capillary action of concrete pulls moisture in both directions - from the surface and from below. Given the age of the basement it is probably safe to assume the barrier is not there. This time of year you should be running a dehumidifier down there. Floors over conditioned basement space don't need to be insulated. If you have a heat source in the basement to protect the water equipment I'd tear out all the insulation and not replace it.
TAKE THIS ADVICE SERIOUSLY. first try to eliminate as much moisture as possible by installing gutters and regrading the rear if
necessary. Deffinatly install the dehumidifier
with the overflow directed outside, get rid of
all insulation, Use foam in spray cans to plug
holes mice might use. The moisture is no doubt
worse in summer, so ventilate well during that
period. I would personaly consider an outside
entrance to allow for easier access for some
wood or coal for a basement stove and forget
the insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So here is what I did after consulting with a builder and an extermination company. I had all the insulation professionally removed. Talking with the builder, there is no real need to have insulation on the floor. In the winter, most of the heat escapes from the roof and it isn't that vital to have insulation on the floor. As far as the rigid foam board, the extermination company recommended against that because they said that carpenter ants love to build a nest in that. So there's no insulation anymore. The extermination company filled every possible hole that the mice were using to enter the cabin. I was just at the cabin a few weeks ago and for the first time ever I did not find any dead mice in the basement. The cabin smells a lot better in the basement and there is significantly less moisture. This fall when there is less moisture in the air, I will use dry lock on the walls. Overall, I would say that this was money well spent and it is taking care of my problems.
 
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