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Old 09-19-2008, 04:09 PM   #1
kat-diy
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What would you do with this basement floor?

We've had to put the kitchen tile job on hold half way through due to serious flooding from the remnants of Hurrican Ike. Our county was declared a disaster area. This flooding has brought our basement floor problem to the limelight but I just really don't know what to do with it.

Currently, the area of concern, is concrete with some sort of paint on it. Every time the basement gets wet more of the paint bubbles up and then leaves black or bare concrete spots on it. I think the previous people used some sort of porch and floor paint on it that clearly is not meant for wet areas.

We do have occasional light flooding down there. The concrete appears to be intact with no cracks but does have some high and low spots. I don't know if we should just paint it with some other type of paint?, try to level it? and/or tile it? When it floods again, I would like to be able to just get the water out, mop it and be back to normal. But I would also like to do the easiest and cheapest thing as its just a storage area and weight room. Due to the water issues I would never try and use it for anything more than that.

Would love to hear ideas and options for this floor. I have the same situation in the laundry room in the basement and would like to do the same thing in that area. The other part of the basement has some sort of vinyl tile on it that so far has held up well. Eventually I will be doing something to that too, but for now it cleans up easily enough.

Thanks for any and all input!
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Old 09-19-2008, 06:24 PM   #2
Davestone
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A tile job will be expensive and problematic if the basement continue to have moisture.You could dig around the footer install drainage pipe and gravel and run it downhill to help move the water away.You would also need to waterproof the block outside of course,Then you could think about tile.Although if you had a dry couple weeeks, you could rent a scarifier from HD take off the paint,use a regular plain premium thinset and porcelain,backbutter them,set right on the concrete,you'll have darkened grout,mildew,slime, and when it rains practice your skating.
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Old 09-19-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
kat-diy
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Ok, so now I know what not to do.... so what DO I do with it?
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Old 09-20-2008, 06:06 AM   #4
mwpfop
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Kat

Any kind of film-forming paint or stain will come off when you have flooding. One solution for a storage area that has such problem is to use wood stain. THey are transparent, but you can get lighter colors, they also allow the migration of moisture so that you will not have the bubbling problem. Avoid the paint like stains that show no wood grain, as most form a film that can be lifted off by the moisture.

I have done this in several basements, it helps give the floor a finished look without creating a moisture problem. My basements are all approaching 100 years old, so they do not come out perfect, just a lot better than they were.

Getting the old paint off is another question.
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Old 09-20-2008, 06:59 AM   #5
matman
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Hi Kat

Do you have a sump pump in your basement floor? Would that help to keep your floor dry?
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:38 AM   #6
kat-diy
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Yes we have sump pumps but it does not get the last few inches of water. Plus, the city sewers here cannot handle the really heavy rains so if we do not get to the shut off valves in time, we can get up to a foot in there (although the sump pumps takes it out pretty fast).

I like the idea of the stain. What is the best way to remove the existing paint? This is a big room, about 800 square feet. Also, what about a water proof paint, like a pool paint?

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:47 AM   #7
bbcamp
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A floor grinder can remove the paint and level some of the higher spots on your slab. Consider acid staining your slab. You can get the look of natural stone by spraying different acid stains in a random pattern. You can wax the floor for a shiny look, or leave it natural.

Your sump pump should be installed in a pit so water collects there first. The discharge pipe should have a backwater (check) valve so that when the sewer level rises, the valve stops the water from entering your house.

Do you have a battery powered back-up sump pump? Good idea since your flooding is usually weather related.
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:38 PM   #8
kat-diy
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What exactly is a floor grinder? That wouldnt be the same as what you would use on a hardwood floor, is it?

No, our sump pumps are not ideally located but we probably won't be changing those any time soon. They are in pits as you describe but they are raised about 1 1/2 inches above the floor. We have considered trimming them to floor level but not sure if that might not create some other problems.

We have never lost power at the same time as having water in the basement. Have also considered the battery backup but have not done it yet.

When the sewer level rises, the water is coming up through the toilet and shower drain, not through the discharge pipe. But as I said, if we get to the manual shut off valve before that happens, the damage is minimal.
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:41 PM   #9
matman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob
Your sump pump should be installed in a pit so water collects there first. The discharge pipe should have a backwater (check) valve so that when the sewer level rises, the valve stops the water from entering your house.
What Bob said about that for sure. Is the sewer line backing up into your house Kat? If so I'd be more inclined to fix that before making a floor covering decision.
Have you spoke to anybody about remedying that situation?
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:50 PM   #10
matman
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We crossed posts Kat. A floor grinder for scarifying cement can be as small as a 4 in. hand grinder with a diamond cup cutting head, on up to very big heavy walk behind grinders. A hand held grinder could get it done for you with an honest effort.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:24 PM   #11
masinick
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I actually have a very similar issue that I came to get some advice on. I don't mean to hijack your thread Kat, but I had a relevant question.

What is the problem with doing tile in an area like this that sometimes gets moisture? My basement doesn't get any condensing moisture through the floor or anything, just occasional problems with leaks here or there. And I have a straight concrete foundation (we just pulled up our wet carpet from the hurricane).

We also have about 800 square feet, big basement room. I'm thinking 12x12 ceramic tiles, but would love any advice about this type of space.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:46 PM   #12
mwpfop
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Basement slabs that are properly vapor barriered (new word, made it up myself) can be tiled without problems. Many basement floors leak water vapor. On those floors, the installation of tile or any other covering is temporary, as the water vapor will destroy any such covering with enough time. Carpet will rot, paint will bubble, vinyl will leak at the seams, tile can even pop off.

Teh test for vapor migration is to tape down a 12x12 piece of plastic for some number of hours. If condensation builds up under the plastic the vapor issue must be addressed before the flooring can be laid.

Just a DIYer, but up here in cleveland we have a lot of wet basements.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:00 AM   #13
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Having sump pumps 1-1/2" above floor level isn't very helpful, unless you are talking about a perimeter drain out side the basement walls. I was thinking about a sump pump inside the basement, located in a pit, and fed by a drainage system (could be as simple as a sloped floor) so that if you get water in the basement, it flows to the sump and is pumped out. It's hard to reconfigure a basement, but can be done.

Your sewer situation is a bigger issue. It sounds like your basement is only marginally higher than the sewer main. If so, and flooding your basement with raw sewage is a routine event, I suggest you install another sump for the sewage. This pit would include 2 macerator (grinder) sewage ejector pumps with check valves on the discharge of each pump. One pump can be AC powered, the other DC. The DC pump would be your backup for either a power outage or mechanical failure of the AC pump. The DC pump would also trigger an alarm in the house to alert you to the problem. The pit has to be sealed and vented to the outside for proper operation of the pumps and your family's health.

In any event, you should not have to rely on being home to shut some valves in a flooding situation.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:26 AM   #14
matman
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Hi Kat
Bob's right on the money. I urge you to consider fixing that sewage problem. If it isn't economically feasible to correct the situation and if it were my house, I'd tear out the shower and toilet and seal those lines so as there wouldn't be a direct sewer line into my basement. Somebody needs to use a bathroom, send them upstairs or go outside.

Rainwater or groundwater in your basement isn't good, but sewer water, no way. I know you came here to ask about tile and it's not my business but I feel strongly enough about it to suggest the sewage fix.

I'm pounding the table.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #15
kat-diy
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The problem really is not with our basement, it is with our city. It is not a frequent problem but with rains like we got with Ike the sewers cannot handle the amount of rain and everyone gets their sewers backing up. We considered doing away with the basement drains but if we do that, we might actually getting backing up in the main house instead of the basement. No thanks. Plus the devaluing of the house by having one less bathroom.

This is a city wide problem, not just us. We also have a lot of wet basements here in NW Indiana.

Truly all we need is an auto shut off valve but we do not have the money for that at this time. And whatever does come up is NOT really nasty raw sewage, its mostly clear water with a little bit of old sediment.
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