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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we added the bilco door to the basement/crawl space to the camp, I had to make a door to fit. I used double thickness 1x6 pine and made a double Z door design. I stained the door, but apparently it wasn't enough to stop it from swelling in time of high moisture in the basement (early spring and recently because of the rain and increased moisture in the basement). My question is, would I be improving the situation by removing the door, bring it to a dry environment, trim it, then paint it with an oil based paint? I really didn't want to get into a custom metal door cost. Looking for any suggestions.
 

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Probably not. You would be better off installing a couple of small craw space louvre. They make them with cranks you can close or open and screens. Get a cross ventilation going.
 

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crawl space vents / louvers as mentioned. We put down plastic actually visqueen and put baking soda in our crawl space as a moisture barrier. works good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Already have 8 crawl space louvers. My internal moisture is coming up from the floor under the footer- there is a plastic and stone layer, but apparently not enough. We are looking at concreting the floor, but not this year. Kind of leary of running a dehumidifier full time, since I've heard a lot of fires can result from them. It would be possible to do it, and run a continual drain out the septic. It may come to that, but for now, just want to relieve the immediate problem.
 

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I wouldn’t worry too much about running your dehumidifier when you are not there. Just make sure there were no recalls Mine has been running for over two years now at my camp.
 

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Don't know. Typical of doors even in an airconditioned building to swell some during the high humidity. How bad is it sticking? If it isn't much then I may not worry about it as once the humidity drops then it should go back to normal. If sticking bad then perhaps just shave a little off where it is sticking and restain. I don't know if the oil based paint is going to prevent it from swelling?
 

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Had a similar problem, wound up cutting about 1/2" off 3 sides of door. but also put on a thicker stop molding on the jam to keep it sealed for air, bugs and snakes... put thompson water seal on exposed wood before painting.
 

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Sounds like you have multiple issues with moisture. Without seeing it 1st hand it’s hard to pinpoint a cause or remedy. Do you have standing water?
I’ll give you suggestions from someone who deals with moisture in weatherizing homes for a living.
1st thing I’d do if it was mine is seal off all the vents but 1 and in the remaining vent install a small window fan blowing out(cheaper and safer than running the dehumidifier when you’re not around ). The vents at the moment are letting hot humid air into a cool space and creating a condensation issue,
2nd-The plastic/visqueen needs to be 1 piece running up the sides of the wall about 15” (like a pool liner) and sealed along the top.
3rd-Cut the door down as mentioned if possible.
4th- Make sure any rain water is channeled or directed away from your foundation if possible.

These are just suggestions because what works in one basement/crawl space may not work in another. Hopefully you can manage it
 

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fan

I installed one of these fans in my basement vents. Seems to be working well.
I have it on a timer to only run between 9 AM thru 5PM during daylight hours.
It has an adjustable dehumidistat and a freeze protection limit. only draws 40 watts.
 

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remove door like you said and get to a dry area for awhile,prime door with oil base primer all sides top and bottom,then use sherwin williams porch & floor paint 2 coats comes in quarts don't forget top and bottom of door alot of people forget and thats where the moisture gets in
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My moisture "problem" has been an ongoing dilemma since we bought the cabin in 2015. It was built in 2010, with a footer and block walls for a "crawl space" that is about 9 rows of block high. I am 5'7 and I can stand in the area without hitting my head on the joists.

Most of our "wetness" was coming in the east wall area. When we had the septic and well put in, we had that side of the cabin graded so that the ground tapered away from the cabin, but it was still toward the uphill side of the site. Two years ago we added the bilco door, and hence I had to build a door to fit the opening, height wise.

Last year (2018) we had a contractor in to dig out the east side of the cellar wall down to the footer. What we found was 4 things: 1) when the electric company ran their line underground to the cabin, they backfilled with the regular soil, not stone, and over 5-7 years, the soil blocked the footer drain; 2) the ditch they dug ran from the pole directly to the cabin, which was down hill from the pole, which created a drain from the side hill right to the cabin. It should have been looped slightly below where it came into the cabin; 3) the footer drain was not installed below the footer, but rather on the top of the footer, so any water that got below the drain simple goes under the footer and into the cellar; and 4) some of the block has separated from each other and created a 1/2" gap, right at this area. The contactor fixed the cracks, re-parched and tarred the wall, new drain pipe, back filled with stone 2' out from the wall, and geo-fabric from the bottom of the ditch up the side 5' between the stone and the soil. No soil was used in the back fill, all stone. Now my wall is pretty dry in side. We realizes why the footer drain was not in the ground below the footer level, and that was because of bedrock in some areas. The original builder opted to put it as low as he could get, but it wasn't low enough.

So as I've said, my water problem is from water getting into the crawl space from below the footer. There is a layer of plastic below whatever stone the builder put in the cellar, but it was never run up the side and sealed, so over 8 years, it's been torn, pushed down, or rolled up. Our next "fix" is to 1) dig a french drain around the inside of the cellar below the footer level, and either run it into a sump pump, or continue the drain out of the cabin at the low corner under the footer and then ditch it away from the cabin. Then bring in stone, get the top of the stone up to footer level, then 4" of concrete. We might lose some head space, but it's camp and we use the basement for our hot water tank, pressure tank, and water filter, and storage.

It's a work in progress!
 

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My moisture "problem" has been an ongoing dilemma since we bought the cabin in 2015. It was built in 2010, with a footer and block walls for a "crawl space" that is about 9 rows of block high. I am 5'7 and I can stand in the area without hitting my head on the joists.

Most of our "wetness" was coming in the east wall area. When we had the septic and well put in, we had that side of the cabin graded so that the ground tapered away from the cabin, but it was still toward the uphill side of the site. Two years ago we added the bilco door, and hence I had to build a door to fit the opening, height wise.

Last year (2018) we had a contractor in to dig out the east side of the cellar wall down to the footer. What we found was 4 things: 1) when the electric company ran their line underground to the cabin, they backfilled with the regular soil, not stone, and over 5-7 years, the soil blocked the footer drain; 2) the ditch they dug ran from the pole directly to the cabin, which was down hill from the pole, which created a drain from the side hill right to the cabin. It should have been looped slightly below where it came into the cabin; 3) the footer drain was not installed below the footer, but rather on the top of the footer, so any water that got below the drain simple goes under the footer and into the cellar; and 4) some of the block has separated from each other and created a 1/2" gap, right at this area. The contactor fixed the cracks, re-parched and tarred the wall, new drain pipe, back filled with stone 2' out from the wall, and geo-fabric from the bottom of the ditch up the side 5' between the stone and the soil. No soil was used in the back fill, all stone. Now my wall is pretty dry in side. We realizes why the footer drain was not in the ground below the footer level, and that was because of bedrock in some areas. The original builder opted to put it as low as he could get, but it wasn't low enough.

So as I've said, my water problem is from water getting into the crawl space from below the footer. There is a layer of plastic below whatever stone the builder put in the cellar, but it was never run up the side and sealed, so over 8 years, it's been torn, pushed down, or rolled up. Our next "fix" is to 1) dig a french drain around the inside of the cellar below the footer level, and either run it into a sump pump, or continue the drain out of the cabin at the low corner under the footer and then ditch it away from the cabin. Then bring in stone, get the top of the stone up to footer level, then 4" of concrete. We might lose some head space, but it's camp and we use the basement for our hot water tank, pressure tank, and water filter, and storage.

It's a work in progress!
Your plan of attack sounds pretty good. Another idea that may or may not work. What if you went outside say about 10' away from the cabin and dug down to well below your footer elevation and place a drain so that the water would never get to the footer. This would save you tearing up your floor in the crawl space and having to dig inside a tight area. Only issue I see is if the bedrock is sloping then it may be difficult to get below the footer elevation on the one side?


With the wet weather we have had the last few years, I know of several people who never had water issues in their basement, ended up with water issues in their basement. The weather definitely hasn't helped you at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We looked at going away from the foundation and doing that, since it would be on the uphill side from the cabin. Biggest problem is the electric line bisects any ditch I would do, and the bedrock runs uphill, so we can't get below the footer level. Our hill has an shallow bedrock layer, and about 2' of shale on top. When we dug the well (tool and cable method) we were into bedrock within 10'- so much I only needed 30' of casing. I have to keep in mind that it is a camp, not my primary residence, so big money investments that don't raise the value of the property have to be done judiciously. There really isn't any floor to the basement now that we would be digging up, mostly #2 stone (2"-4" thick) then the ground. I'm not cramped for working space like some crawl spaces, so I'm thinking an electric jackhammer to bust the dirt up might make things go quicker.
 

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We looked at going away from the foundation and doing that, since it would be on the uphill side from the cabin. Biggest problem is the electric line bisects any ditch I would do, and the bedrock runs uphill, so we can't get below the footer level. Our hill has an shallow bedrock layer, and about 2' of shale on top. When we dug the well (tool and cable method) we were into bedrock within 10'- so much I only needed 30' of casing. I have to keep in mind that it is a camp, not my primary residence, so big money investments that don't raise the value of the property have to be done judiciously. There really isn't any floor to the basement now that we would be digging up, mostly #2 stone (2"-4" thick) then the ground. I'm not cramped for working space like some crawl spaces, so I'm thinking an electric jackhammer to bust the dirt up might make things go quicker.
Ok. I would go your route especially since there really isn't any existing floor. I thought you had a concrete floor in it.


If you go to dig up the floor and don't want to do it by hand you may try something like this. Lots of rental places have these or something similar. You can get them in a 36" door. Can get them with a backhoe and/or loader bucket. I haven't rented them with those attachements, but did rent them with a trencher a couple of times for running utilities. Works pretty good.


TORO Dingo
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yep- but not going down our steps. It's going to be the old fashion way- 5 gallon buckets of stone and dirt, 1 quart of sweat per.
 

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Already have 8 crawl space louvers. My internal moisture is coming up from the floor under the footer- there is a plastic and stone layer, but apparently not enough. We are looking at concreting the floor, but not this year. Kind of leary of running a dehumidifier full time, since I've heard a lot of fires can result from them. It would be possible to do it, and run a continual drain out the septic. It may come to that, but for now, just want to relieve the immediate problem.
Don't know if this helps or not but here goes... Residential building codes call for 1 square foot of venting are for each 150 square feet of under floor space and a vent within 3 feet of each corner. A typical louvered 8 x 16 block vent gets you about 68 square inches (0.47 square feet) of venting area each. The code allows for a 1 to 1500 venting ratio with a vapor retarder on the ground surface. The vapor barrier seams should be taped and sealed against the walls and around any penetrations (pipes, support posts, masonry piers, etc.) You should also put 2 inch rigid foam around the exterior perimeter to inhibit condensation. If there is a way to do a humidistatically controlled fan I'd go that route. As for me, I hate underfloor crawl spaces. I do forensic structural engineering work and encounter way too much bad stuff in crawl spaces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Did the quick math and the builder got the ventilation right-- 560 sq feet/150 =3.73 sq. foot of venting- I have 8 (all within 3 feet of the corners) -8x16 block vents x .47=3.76 sq feet of venting. I will look into the humidstatically controlled fan, but we have already set the wheels in motion to do an internal french drain below footer level with a direct drain out and down our grade. We will then back fill up to the top of the footer with stone, then concrete.
In the mean time, I can take 1/8" off the door, paint it 2 coats and not have to bust a gut closing it.
 
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