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Common household remedies request

I've got a dirt floor in my basement and I'm worried about odor. Should I cover it with plastic, or will that make the situation worse?

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

We had a dirt crawl space under an old house in CT. It was never wet and was very heavily compacted. Never had any odors.

We renovated a section of the upstairs and opted to cement over (a very thin layer) the dirt under the new part just as a moisture precaution and because it was on a slight slant.

bungalowkitchens's picture
Submitted by bungalowkitchens on

Then you need to figure out where the water is coming from (gutters, downspouts, leaks, ground water, etc.) and try to take care of that first. Yeah, I know, in your prodigious free time...

But if it is damp, it doesn't hurt to put plastic over it (thick stuff- 6 mil).

Of course my cats like to pee on plastic, so in some ways the smell is worse now than when it was damp (bacteria in the soil does tend to take care of cat pee). Of course, this is California, so except for a small finished part, the basement is mostly crawl space.

Submitted by jawbone on

had a flooded basement from the ground water level rising so much it forced a large crack in the basement concrete floor -- with subsequent geyser and inundation.

(Parts of Northern NJ have high water tables -- and guess it got lots higher from all the rain? Geologist? Hydrologists?? Know anything about this?)

He had no idea of whether his insurance would cover it.

It may be that all the rain has resulted in the ground becoming to sodden that even a very old dirt floor is getting too wet....

Submitted by jawbone on

Here in NJ it's been extraordinarily rainy. Water everywhere. Dampness in even more places....

I did hear on a local how-to show that if basements are damp, a dehumidifier helps greatly, but it should have a way for the collected water to be piped out of the basement. Otherwise, due to human fraility in remembering to check, the collected water gets recycled through evaporation back into the basement. Or through spillage.... Depending on how long the owner forgets...but also somewhat while the water is collecting in the pail or wherever it's collected.

Check Craig's List for a dehumifier. However, demand might be up for them given the damp weather.

Submitted by jawbone on

and fall.

I used heavy Visqueen during remodeling, then as painting dropcloths -- that's when I realized how slippery it could be. But, as it gets a bit dirty, not so slippery....

It comes in higher mils, 8 and 10, as well to better prevent cuts and moisture coming through.

And it's recyclable. But if there are paint spills? Hhhmm.

Submitted by Fran on

For the first time since living here (20 yrs), this summer I felt my basement was starting to smell musty. There is not really any water coming in, although, with so much rain, it had gotten damp in places.

I bought a dehumidifier earlier this summer, and I love it! Found one at a very good price, free shipping - I can probably provide that info, if desired. It is very easy to empty and a light indicates when that is necessary - so I can just glance into my basement and see if the light is on. Also, the humidity level is adjustable, so it does not just run constantly, unnecessarily.

never thought I'd be commenting about the joys of my new dehumidifier!