Sandstone basement walls?

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Old 02-13-11, 08:10 PM
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Sandstone basement walls?

1860 farmhouse, has sandstone basement walls (big blocks), & concrete floor, 10"X10" beams for headers, so I guess if I checked there would be some reading of radon present. Basement floor weaps a little water in heavy rain, other wise just not enough ventilation to keep air fresh in summer. Two de-humidifiers for summertime. Two furnace vents in basement, 90+ furnace, still cold in winter, about 60deg in basement, upstairs thermostat set at 69deg. Any suggestions on how to insulate/cover basement walls to bring it up beyond 18th century? Open ceiling joists above & old single pain windows still in basement. House has all utilities up to date, three working pvc drains in basement if that helps with remedy. Not looking to host parties down there, just make it more habitable. 4 aquariums & small work shop main use for basement.

Thanks for any ideas or point of view.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 04:25 AM
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It's 19th century, but who's counting? The construction methods wouldn't mean there is radon down there, but checking is certainly a prudent thing to do. Is it totally underground or is it a walkout? If it is underground, and it is 60 degrees with heat help, you most likely have air leaks, as the ground surrounding it will generally stay about 70 degrees year round. Basement walls seldom really need insulation. Now, as to the main living area, you could insulate the floor joists, but my bet is the walls lack very much, if any, insulation. Your window area would probably be the largest leak of air. It is possible to replace it with a more modern window and seal it well to stop such leakage. Insulate above the joists along the rim to secure that air movement as well. How big is the area?
 
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Old 02-14-11, 06:44 AM
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70 degrees year round??? More like 50-55. And that would be below the frost line.

It seems the line of thought for insulating is that you insulate the foundation wall only to 1 foot below grade. The idea is that keeping the below grade section exposed to the heat of the house helps prevents the soil from freezing.

Those 4 aquariums are not going to help your humidity problem.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 08:24 AM
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Entire half-basement, (crawlspace other half), is 27' X 20', backyard exit from basement level plain wooden board door has about 9 stone steps up to backyard, 3/4" plywood covers top of steps. Maybe any part of outside basement wall is 1-2' high above grade any one area of upper wall . Thinking of covering 4 basement windows with roll insulation, as 2 windows now look under deck to side yard, no view, could cover year round. Occasionally open just one basement window in summer for fresh air. When I find air leaks at beam/sill plate, I chink it with fiberglass insulation. Trying to get ideas to cover/decorate basement sandstone without spending big money, & insulate some at the same time. Again, big rain brings a damp spot on wall & floor a couple places. De humidifier handles that pretty good. My understanding also that ground temp stays around 45-50 deg in winter NE ohio?
Thanks for input!
 
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Old 02-14-11, 02:03 PM
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dig down on the outside of your wet walls & wtrproof w/trowelable roofing cement then protect that w/piece of pond liner,,, backfill in compacted lifts,,, that will stop the wetness there but be prepared to see it somewhere else.

ambient earth temps range nearer 65f 1'0 below grade & frost-lines even here in ga,,,great idea for a bass pond in the bsmt - no license rqd & you can fish whenever you want
 
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