Dirt Floor Basement Remedies

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Many older homes were constructed with unfinished dirt basements. These basements were thought to be unused spaces within the homes' foundations. Nowadays, many homeowners of historical or classic properties are looking for ways to maximize their home's square footage. These home improvement efforts include dirt floor basement remedies that add an extra level of living space in these old homes.

Vapor Barrier

  • Installing a vapor barrier over a dirt floor basement is an instant way to block moisture and insects from entering the basement space. A vapor barrier will help keep the levels of moisture down in the basement, which can either compromise the home's foundation or increase the humidity level in the basement.
    Excess humidity and moisture can seep into the main level's subfloor, causing moisture damage to the wood. Excess moisture can also become a breeding ground for pests, insects, mold and mildew. Therefore, installing a vapor barrier, when you are unable to tackle a full basement floor renovation, is a first line of correction for a dirt floor basement.
    To increase the effectiveness of your basement's vapor barrier, correct any visible moisture problems. Have your basement inspected by a home or building inspector to identify any possible moisture sources or potential plumbing problems with the pipes and sewer lines. Check the exterior of your house for improper water drainage from the gutters and the grade of the ground. The water must flow away from the house to prevent water and moisture collection in the house.
    If your basement has a water or drainage problem, consider installing a drain connected to your main sewage line prior to having a vapor barrier installed. This will help to channel the water away from collecting in your home. Installing a drain at this point will also be a functional solution for your basement's permanent flooring later on.
    Install a sump pump to help prevent flooding in the basement as well. Correcting water and moisture problems will increase the effectiveness of your basement's vapor barrier.

Pouring Concrete

  • Installing a concrete floor is a permanent, low-maintenance solution to cover your basement's dirt floor. The concrete will seal out dust, moisture, insects and pests from the dirt, and a properly installed floor may last for over 100 years. Pouring concrete in a basement is a challenge that would be accomplished through wheelbarrow loads of concrete or through a concrete feed through a window. Many basements are finished with concrete floors.
    If you're intending to increase your living space by finishing your basement's floor, check with your local building codes for the minimum required ceiling height for a basement in your area. To meet the height requirements, some of the basement floor's dirt may have to be removed to accommodate both the required thickness of the concrete floor and the distance from the floor to the ceiling.

Flooring Options

  • You can finish your concrete floor with a stain, sealant or paint, or you can choose to tile the floor's surface for a durable and long-lasting floor finish. Unlike wood, laminate flooring or linoleum, tiles such as ceramic and porcelain will withstand basement flooding and will last for many years without losing its beauty.

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