Basement workshop

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Forum topic by LSGss posted 05-26-2013 04:38 AM 1692 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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68 posts in 2522 days

05-26-2013 04:38 AM

Hello all,

I had a few basement workshop questions. I have recently moved into a home with a rather large area in the basement for my shop. Currently the walls are cinder blocks, the floor is carpet and the ceiling is finished with drywall. I will obviously remove the carpet, however I did want advice on what to do with the floor after as well as the walls. I also wanted to know how to tell is my basement is damp and needs a dehumidifier. It doesn’t feel particularly damp but it is about 5-10 degrees cooler than our house. The house was built in 1962 and has central air/heating. There are no obvious water leaking problems.

I appreciate any wisdom.

Thank you

19 replies so far

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3171 days

#1 posted 05-26-2013 04:46 AM

Not sure of your timeframe, but if possible it would be good to wait until spring to see if there are any water leaks when they are most prevalent. I learned the hard way during a big melt and had to frantically get everything off the floor as water literally squirted from the walls. Hopefully you don’t have the same problems.

View LSGss's profile


68 posts in 2522 days

#2 posted 05-26-2013 04:48 AM

I live in Omaha, NE and it has essentially been spring here. I do not notice and obvious leaks through that walls.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2720 days

#3 posted 05-26-2013 04:53 AM

I was in a similar situation as you are. Remove the carpet, clean up the concrete and it should be perfect. I also put up plywood walls because it makes it so much easier to hang stuff and do whatever you want with it. It also makes the shop brighter.

View LSGss's profile


68 posts in 2522 days

#4 posted 05-26-2013 04:55 AM

How thick of plywood did you use and what size were the studs. also did you use insulation and/or a moisture barrier. Did you ever check for the amount of moisture in your basement.

Thank you

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3040 days

#5 posted 05-26-2013 05:12 AM

I lived in Papillion when I was at UNMC. In that area, I would put “Dry-lock” on the walls and floors before I did any other wall work. Did that in my mom’s basement and it made a huge difference as far as any moisture being noted. He basement used to need a dehumidifier, and does not need it anymore.—-just a thought since you asked.

Her basement smelled “musty” so we knew there was moisture there….if your does not smell it could be fine. Underground it will be a bit cooler than above.

View LSGss's profile


68 posts in 2522 days

#6 posted 05-26-2013 05:15 AM

I work at UNMC as well. Thank you.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2912 days

#7 posted 05-26-2013 06:52 AM

I second the use of Dry-Lock paint on the walls. Not sure if it’s durable enough on the floor but an epoxy paint would work well, the stuff you paint garage floors with. After that it’s all up to your own comfort level and budget. If you want it warmer you can use rigid foam insulation on the walls and floor and then put plywood on top of it.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2542 days

#8 posted 05-26-2013 12:07 PM

+1n the DryLoc for the walls. Even if you dont see any signs of moisture on the walls now, I’d use it anyway as a barrier for future protection before boarding up the walls. Cheaper to spend a few bucks now than to possibly have to tear it all out if a problem occurs down the road. I used it in a basement at our last house. That stuff works great

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View kdc68's profile


2873 posts in 2811 days

#9 posted 05-26-2013 12:20 PM

+1 on Dry-Lock….it works. Well it has carpet now. Check for stains and/or a mildew smell from water getting in the carpeted areas. Hopefully they didn’t use adhesive to glue it down. Check for discoloration along the cinder block close to the floor. Have the floor drains snaked annually for tree roots if you have nearby trees on the property. Keep the gutters clean and have downspouts aimed away from the foundation. And hopefully the grade slopes away from the house. Have your tools on mobile bases so if there is a leak, you can wheel them out of the way to a dry area and for clean up….I’m in a basement, these are the things I do/have done

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3040 days

#10 posted 05-26-2013 05:09 PM

“Only just me” is right about the Drylock on the floors. I would not do the whole floor as it may not hold up to rolling tools. I would only Drylock the floor if there was a new covering (subfloor, those plastic tiles etc) placed over the concrete floor.

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3620 days

#11 posted 05-26-2013 06:14 PM

When I put Pergo flooring on the small hallway in the basement, they had a little handout that told you to
securely tape an 18” square or so of clear visqueen to the concrete floor for a week, the visqueen would
show any slight amount of moisture coming through. It worked OK for me. They make some good 6” vent
exhaust fans that can be used to set up a small finishing room with canvas or heavy cloth surround so you
can set it up quick and not loose shop space permanently. The fan could set in the joists just like a bathroom
exhaust fan.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3049 days

#12 posted 05-26-2013 06:45 PM

Here’s what I think…
If you see any, and I mean ANY, degradation on the walls, (read moisture incoming), usually at the base, then you are at risk for water and mold. The carpet coming up will also tell you a lot. If the glue is loose and broken up, you have moisture.
The chances of you getting a downright flood are slim, unless this basement was installed just a year or two ago. I think you might want a dehumidifier just on principle, you are underground, you know. But panic mode is not needed here. And if the humidity is lower than 50% with a humidifier running, good to go.
I have a music studio in my basement, lots of amplifiers and such, and a simple dehumidifier keeps it at a nice 45%. I can live with that.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 2821 days

#13 posted 05-26-2013 07:47 PM

At 50% humidity, mold spores don’t grow. In fact, dust mites don’t survive. So you don’t need “Sahara Dry” to be dry. If the house has central air, then the humidity on the main floor is generally already low. If it has electric baseboard, you can still build humidity, but forced air heat, on the other hand, tends to be dry.

If you see white, powdery stuff on the block walls in the basement, you might have moisture permeating the walls. The powdery stuff is the minerals leaching out of the water as the water evaporates inside. If you have none of that, I wouldn’t be real concerned. Your basement SHOULD be cooler because it’s below ground. That doesn’t in any way indicate a humidity problem. Get a decent hygrometer (humidity meter) and hang it in the basement. About a week at head level and then another week hanging down around knee level.

Humid air is heavier than dry air and tends to sink. Because the basement is cooler, that humid air can condense on the floor or very low on the walls. Take a hair dryer and dry an area of floor (about 1 foot square) and do the same with the wall and again, one at knee level and one at head level. Duct tape a piece of plastic or aluminum foil to each area. If you get condensation between the plastic (or foil) and the wall (or floor) then it is more moist outside than inside. If you get condensation on the side facing the room, then your humidity might be higher than you want.

You really have to measure it though. I really like Dryloc if there’s an issue, but if you don’t HAVE an issue then I wouldn’t bother.

View mrg's profile


860 posts in 3534 days

#14 posted 05-26-2013 11:01 PM

Is tha basement air conditioned? If it is and off your central ac then it is already dehumidifies the basement. Look for visual signs of water. If you have signs of water then use dryloc.

-- mrg

View PRGDesigns's profile


246 posts in 2848 days

#15 posted 05-27-2013 04:01 AM

+1 on the Dry-Loc. Normalizing or equalizing the humidity throughout the house was an added benefit for my woodworking as well. I have used it on 3 basements to date and never regretted the expense or the labor to put it on. I would not recommend it for use on the floor. I typically used a latex floor paint to keep down the concrete spall, although I really appreciated the epoxy floors I had in my last surface garage. I prepped the concrete basement walls with regular bleach out of a pressure sprayer, scrubbed it with a long handle HD long bristle brush, and double rinsed it. I applied the Dry-Loc with a plaster brush after the walls dried out from the last rinse. Even though you may not think you have a moisture issue at present, things can always change around your foundation in the future that will make you wish you had used Dry-Loc, i.e. drainage lines clog over time, soil shifting in periods of excess rainfall or drought, etc. can all potentially contribute to a future wet basement. Just my experience through the years.

Disclaimer – I am not affiliated or associated in any way with Dry-Loc’s manufacturer, distributer, etc.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

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