strange smell in basement-floor issue???

Old 09-19-04, 07:55 AM
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Question strange smell in basement-floor issue???

I really need some help here! We have a 75 yr old colonial with a basement that never had any water. (once when a pipe under the ground along the wall broke we had a little, thats repaired a few years ago) We had a carpenter frame out 2/3 of basement-chimney/heater in middle of room so made a small room for them. Basement floor totally uneven, has sewer thingy with cap in depression in floor. that is sealed by plumber and has small board over it. smell not coming from there, and not sewer type smell. My husband had free carpet squares, threw down glue and put them right over floor. It smelled terribly of must. Pulled them out, smell gone. He then put down rubber backed carpet squares. The glue was mostly still on the floor. In a short while it again began to smell awful, but a different smell-not a musty smell-almost like funky sneakers. It is somewhat worse in summer so I wonder if it is related to humidity, moisture. Had older kid move home for grad school and live there. he insisted he didn't smell it and so we left it til he moved out.He and stuff are gone, room awful unless windows open all the time. Almost seems worse with dehumidifier but maybe because windows shut when it ran. Pulling up the carpet now. Does have some mold on the rubber backing. We have NO idea what will be the correct move. I am assuming it should have been sealed when this was done. Following the glue container directions husband used mineral spirits to remove without much success. Do we seal over the glue, or use something else to remove? Any ideas???
There is a drop ceiling which does not extend past the framed walls. It smells like a dry old cellar or attic up there. As far as I can tell there is no water or smell of dampness there or behind the framing. Only other issue is that when the egress window was put in the concrete around the frame was partly broken off outside and not fixed.
HELP!!!! I do not want to have husband just try something else and more money and time spent for nothing.
Old 09-19-04, 12:40 PM
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Basement moisture problems

First, check soil around foundation to make sure it is sloped to carry away rain. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear and carry water away from structure. Downspouts should release water at least four feet from the foundation. Avoid splash blocks, as they don't carry water far enough away from foundation. Sidewalks and driveway should be sloped to carry away water. Window wells should be filled from the footing to the window sill with 3/8- to 3/4-inch coarse aggregate. A supplemental drain tile extension should extend from the footing to the base of the window well. Tree limbs should be cut back 10-12 feet from the structure. Check foundation for cracks and leaks and seal. Seal around exterior windows and doors on exterior and interior. Often making these corrections solve below grade moisture problems.

Running fans will improve air circulation. Running a dehumidifier will reduce moisture and odor problems. Always keep basement windows and doors to outside closed to prevent humid air from entering basement. Basement walls can be covered with a membrane or coating. Basement walls must be dry before insulating. Slabs must be dry before carpeting.

In basements with severe water problems exterior and interior drainage systems are installed. If a basement has moisture entering through walls or floor, covering with any kind of wall finishing material or carpet will make matters worse. Mold and mildew, which can cause health problems, will grow in wall cavities and beneath carpet. Interior humidity should be maintained between 35-55%. When humidity is above 60%, the chances for problems with mold and mildew are imminent. A hygrometer, sold where they sell thermometers, will measure the humidity level. Again, keep exterior humidity from entering basement by keeping doors and windows closed. An air conditioner is an excellent dehumidifier.

Use a heat gun and scraper to remove adhesive from concrete floor. Tape a piece of plastic wrap about 2' x 2' to floor for 24 to 48 hours. Check for condensation. Condensation will form beneath plastic if moisture is being transmitted through concrete. Most builders today put vapor retarder over soil before pouring concrete floor.

There are waterproof membranes that can be installed over basement floor. Another option is a raised basement floor, which is a good way to reduce moisture and mold problems and to provide a warm, level floor. Use treated lumber to avoid insect problems. Framing is done to allow for venting and drainage under floor. A vapor retarder is installed over the concrete. A raised floor will reduce the amount of head room.
Old 10-03-04, 08:16 AM
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Question no luck yet with smell

we pulled up the carpet. having a hard time with the pressure sensitive glue made by Mapai - eco800. We then called and they said to try bean-e-doo, otherwise you have to sand the whole thing. We had tried vinegar/dish detergent, and also tried sentinal 747 mastic remover. We have no idea if it is the glue and tiny particles of the old rug's rubber backing stuck in it, or something else. We tried the plastic squares to test for moisture, and there was absolutely none. It had always been a totally dry cellar so not surprised.
Smells funky, like dirty laundry, old shoes. The air behind the sheetrock, and the air above the ceiling tiles smells like dry old attic.
Any ideas what to do next? My thought is we start with the bean-e-doo, and if that does not work sand the cement down, seal it, and see if that helps. Have suspicion its not the floor but who knows?

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