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Basement Renovation Mistakes to Avoid — Part II: Preventing Mold

A basement can be put to good use if you do not commit common mistakes when renovating. Our last post offered advice for avoiding typical design pitfalls for basement renovations. Aside from design, another serious issue to consider is how well your basement will be able to handle moisture levels.


Miscalculating Moisture


Basements are below grade, meaning that they are sunk partially or completely into the ground. Being below grade can create temperature differences and condensation, which without precautions can create enough moisture for mold to grow.


On top of this, since basements are the lowest point in the house, any spills or leaks are guaranteed to travel down there. Make sure that you are prepared for a sudden increase in water levels by having a drain or backup sump pump as part of your design.


Not Using Moisture-Resistant Materials


Try to implement only non-organic materials for walls and flooring. Avoid fiberglass, non-engineered wood or wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead, opt for waterproof wall paneling as well as insulation, paints and finishing materials that are designed to resist moisture.


Placing Finished Floors Directly on Top of Concrete


Cool air can travel through most finished floor materials and create a temperature difference and eventual condensation. To avoid this effect, find a subfloor product that is impervious to moisture. This precaution will not only prevent moisture, but it will insulate the floor and keep your feet warmer all year round.


Ceramic or porcelain tile should be placed on top of this, or even vinyl. These materials are inorganic and will not get ruined even if you somehow have a large water spill that travels to the basement.


Using Stud Bays


Even with a solid vapour barrier, having hollow walls can inevitably create temperature differences and condensation. The only permanent solution that avoids moisture would be foam-style insulation. This seals all of the gaps and will not allow moisture to pass through.


Installing Fiberglass Insulation on the Ceiling


Using fiberglass for basements is generally discouraged. Many home owners do not know how to solve the dilemma of what to use for ceiling insulation. Plastic vapour barriers are usually not an option because the floor’s rim joists will interrupt the seal. A handy solution is to use spray foam insulation, which will fill gaps and keep a solid barrier against cool air or moisture.


With these precautions in mind, you should be able to finish your basement in a way that keeps a consistent temperature and prevents moisture buildup. For more advice on using smart renovating techniques, our team would love to advise you on the best ways to add value to your Red Deer real estate property. Take a look at our selling page to find out more.

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