LESLIE: Jerry in Fargo has a situation with a basement floor. Tell us about it.
JERRY: Hi. Say, I enjoy your show. Thank you so much for your service.
LESLIE: Thanks so much, Jerry.
TOM: Our pleasure, Jerry. How can we help you?
JERRY: Well, I have vinyl composition tile; 12x12s.
JERRY: They’re – it’s a basement floor. The floor tends to sweat in the summertime.
JERRY: There is some alkaline in the soil, so that does tend to come up also through the concrete. And what’s happening is the glue is now beginning to seep through the cracks and …
TOM: Yeah, can you clean it once it comes through or is it pretty much it?
JERRY: No, and it tends to curl the [lino tube] (ph).
JERRY: Somebody suggested using a heat dryer or …
TOM: Well, I don’t know. It’s really hard to save a floor that’s going bad like this, Jerry; I hate to tell you. I would do a couple of things.
First of all, I would try to make sure we have as little moisture in the basement as possible and that means looking at your grading and drainage at the foundation perimeter; making sure the soil slopes away, the gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended.
The next thing I would do is I would add a dehumidifier to your basement. How is your home heated? Is it a forced heating system, forced air?
JERRY: It’s forced air, natural gas. Yes.
TOM: Well, I would consider something called a whole-home dehumidifier. Are you familiar with this?
TOM: It fits into the HVAC system so that it basically dehumidifies every, single room that’s connected to that system. It’s much more effective than a portable dehumidifier that may be just, for example, in the basement. This will really control humidity throughout the entire house.
LESLIE: Well, and it monitors the humidity situation through the whole house so if it only needs to come on in the basement, it will do so; if it notices, “Oops, somebody’s showering in this bathroom,” it’ll really kick on in that area more effectively than it would in other areas. So there’s – really, it sort of monitors the whole situation and I think the Aprilaire one removes – was it 90 pints of water a day; that you will never, ever have to empty a bucket.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, something like that; a whole lot of water.
JERRY: No kidding?
TOM: Now, that being said, what we want to do here is get the basement dried up. In terms of what you have now, it’s going to be difficult to save those tiles. The next time you want to do a floor in a basement, we would recommend laminate floor because the laminate – basically, you lay down a very thin layer of insulation – like it’s a very thin sheet of foam – and you assemble the laminate tile on top of that. They all lock together and the floor floats; and so, you have a little bit of insulation between the cold, damp concrete and the floor, so that’s going to help with any humidity and moisture that wants to come up and you’ll find it to be a soft, comfortable floor that’s very, very durable.
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