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Smelly Basement Renovation

Posted by Mike Kimmons on September 13th, 1999 08:29 AM

I am renovating the basement of a house in Chicago built in 1878. I am having trouble with musty odor in the basement. The basement is roughly 1/2 below grade. The portion below grade is a stone foundation. The portion above grade is a brick bearing wall. The basement is bone dry, free of mildew/mold but sometimes a little humid in the summer. There is 1 open floor drain (with trap) in the middle of the basement floor.

I have gutted the front 1/2 of the basement down to the stone foundation and brick external wall. For the stone foundation, I have replaced any mortar that was missing/damaged, sealed it all with dry-loc, and then put up vapor barrier and framing (drywall is not yet up) to cover the stone foundation only. I have sealed any cracks in the floor with cement patch and painted it with an epoxy basement floor sealer. I had the brick portion of the basement walls cleaned (sandblasted with water to remove paint, loose mortar and efflorescence).

My original intent was to leave the brick exposed on the inside of the basement and only frame in the stone foundation. However, I am concerned that Iíll never get rid of the odor if it is coming from the exposed brick (which seems the likely source given everything Iíve done to the floor and foundation walls). Is it likely that exposed brick is the source of the odor? Any way to tell? Anything I can do about it?

(I have read the other postings here. I would like the basement on the same AC/Heating system as the rest of the house, but donít want my entire house smelling like my basement.)

Thank you.

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