Limestone basements are far from the popular basements of choice in this day and age where we are trying to live in every bit of the living space that has been allotted to us. This space while in existence, for many is useless for little other than a utility area and storm shelter because of its huge propensity for weeping when there is a substantial bit of moisture in the area.
The dampness in limestone basements makes them very impractical options for finishing. Despite the impracticality of finishing these basements, it can certainly be accomplished if you are willing to go to a great deal of labor and expense in the process. Most people find the cure for this weeping and wetness problem far too impractical to embark upon.
There are however simpler solutions that will allow some degree of resistance to the moisture problems that seem to plague limestone basements. These simple solutions are sometimes the best options that are available to us while also not the most attractive and far from a definitive cure. Prevention, however, really is the best cure sometimes.
Preventing Weeping in your Limestone Basement
There are two solutions that come immediately to mind when addressing the moisture problems that limestone is famous for fostering. The first are sealants that can be sprayed into the limestone wall. These sealants do not seal the moisture in the wall; rather they allow the wall to form a nonporous surface that will prevent the moisture from going from one side of the wall to the other.
The second solution requires a major excavation project on your part as the homeowner in order to accomplish. This is by far the best possible way to prevent moisture from plaguing your basement and rendering that space completely impractical for use.
This method involves digging around the exterior walls of your basement and excavating at least to the water line or below in order to install a vapor barrier on the exterior wall of your basement. This must be done around the entire exterior of your home and is neither an inexpensive proposition nor a pleasant one.
A vapor barrier is essentially a dam that prevents vapor generally in the form of humidity from moving through the surface of the barrier. While this is not at all fool proof and some moisture still makes it through under the right circumstances, it is a very effective moisture deterrent at the very least. Just remember that it is very important not to install the vapor barrier along interior walls not only will it prevent moisture from coming in, it will prevent the moisture from leaving as well.
In general a limestone basement is better than having no basement at all. You still have the available shelter from the storm, a place to hide your washing machine and dryer from the world, as well as a place to store certain items that arenâ€™t vulnerable to moisture. You must however be realistic in your expectations of this living space.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to convert a limestone basement into a finished living space for the family. The exposure to moisture is far too great to risk traditional furniture and your family for long periods of time. Keeping a dehumidifier running at all times in the area will help keep it dry most of the time if you are committed to converting this area into family space and ceramic tile floors are not nearly as vulnerable to moisture as other flooring choices.
See Also: Aqua-mix Sealer