We are renovating a 200+ year old house that had a dirt basement. We poured a concrete floor and put vinyl flooring (snap-together, looks sort of like wood) over this. The basement has gotten wet (no gutters yet, unfortunately) twice recently. It does not look like the floor was glued down, so water has probably gotten under the vinyl. My basic concern is mold--since I have four small children and plan to be in this house a long time, if necessary, we could remove the vinyl floor and just live with concrete floors in the basement. My husband's office is in one room and he really objects to this idea (wants a nice office). I go for safety over looks. There is also dry-wall with wood shoe-molding. We removed the molding to allow drying behind it. I would appreciate any advice with respect to mold.

1 Answer 1


If you didn't put insulation and/or a poly vapor barrier over the bare dirt before you poured the basement slab, you made a mistake, and that mistake is causing moisture in the soil to wick into the concrete, keeping it saturated with water. That's very difficult to fix now, but vinyl will not mold, so you may be okay. If you're really worried about it, you might consider removing the vinyl flooring, sealing the concrete with a waterproofing agent like RedGard, and then installing new water-impervious flooring over it, like vinyl or tile--you can tile right over RedGard. Don't go with anything wood.

But there's more going on here than just that. The fact that your basement had a dirt floor and the house has no gutters leads me to believe that your basement was never designed to be finished; it was instead designed to harmlessly flood. Now that you've finished it, you need to fix the water management detailing of your house so that it doesn't flood anymore, because floods are no longer harmless. First, you need to add gutters. Then, you should build underground drainage channels for water so that it seeps into the ground a number of feet away from your house rather than right against the wall. The easiest way to do this is to insulate the walls of the basement as if you were building a shallow-frost protected foundation, which should also make the basement a bit more comfortable too. Trench down 1-2 feet all around the house, put rigid foam boards up against the exposed wall, and then place horizontal insulation sheets at the base of your trench, sloped away from the house. The result should look kind of like this:


Finally, drywall and wood moulding are bad choices for a basement that floods. Those are very moisture-sentisive materials. You need to implement my suggestions ASAP if you want to save them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.