The EPA recommends taking care of moisture problems in the basement before you finish your basement and convert it to living space.
One of the BHA contractor members told a sad story of a customer who installed an open drainage system before he finished the basement.
Hugo D’Esposito, owner, A.M. Shield Waterproofing, Albertson, NY, recalls the experience. “A few years ago, I visited a mold and waterproofing job we had going on in a 10-year-old house in Staten Island NY,” D’Esposito says. “After the crew removed the sheet rock in the basement they discovered an existing open drainage system that appeared to be installed at the time the house was built. This crude system allowed for several foundation cracks to drain into an open gap in the concrete floor that led to a four inch pipe and stone system. The moisture produced from this system engulfed the foundation walls, sheet rock, studs and even the floor joists, sub floor and sill plate in a black toxic mold.”
He says the finished basement his crew was removing was built with no expenses spared. “Recessed lighting, granite bar, tile floor and a game room with vintage pinball machines,” he says. “As the homeowner and I stood outside the house watching his basement being loaded onto the back of one of our trucks he commented to me: ‘I wish I did a closed system before I finished my basement.’”
These kinds of experiences happen all the time. Open drainage systems cause a meridian of problems. It is important to install a drainage system that properly takes care of the moisture problems in the basement before you finish your basement only to tear it out a few years later because of mold.