Is living in the basement healthy?

That’s a pretty standard question for people to have when looking at converted basement spaces. The non-biased answer is “it can be healthy.”

The all important counter question is “has the basement been prepared for basement finishing?”

What does this mean?

Having your basement prepared prior to conversion into any apartment is a very simple process that can be done by a company that specializes in basement waterproofing. Pioneer Basement has been helping to prepare spaces in water rich areas like Boston, Fall River and Wakefield Rhode Island for over 25 years.

Basements all have the same possibility to get wet because of the ways that basements are designed and constructed. Moisture control, air circulation and filtration and mold resistant materials used to build the space are all necessary parts to having a healthy basement converted apartment.

Moisture control

is essential for maintaining a standard, livable, and comfortable amount of humidity in the basement. It also is designed for ultimate leak, flooding, and seepage protection for the basement. Without moisture control you’re automatically forcing everything in your basement to come into contact with moisture as vapor and as liquid through leaks, seepage, flooding or other infiltration.

Air circulation and filtration

can be taken care of with a professionally installed Santa Fe Dehumidifier system. It forces warm air into the space to stir and filter air to reinstitute it into the basement space. It’ll leave you with better smelling air, relative humidity control, moisture control, forced air circulation and air stabilization. Not having healthy air to breath is the second major problem that then helps to lower your defenses to other elements facilitated by not having moisture control. With a weaker immune system your body is more susceptible to effects of mold, mildew, and other air born bi-products of hazards that come with standing water and excess moisture.

The last major part

of a successful of a properly converted basement space is the materials that are used to build the walls and the fixtures installed in the space. If they are designed to resist mold and mildew, sagging, and rotting, you defend further against the negative implications of moisture build up.

Once the air circulation and filtration, moisture and water control are both installed you might ask yourself “why should I worry about mold at this point?” You’re right to ask yourself this. Other things can cause leaks, basement water, or excess moisture in your basement. A common occurrence is pipe bursting in the ceiling or on a floor above yours. By having walls, ceilings and floors that are all designed to resist water damage makes not only the clean up easier but it also ensures that the aftermath of such events isn’t followed with rotting joists, moldy dry wall, or water-logged floor boards.

Re-pointing Field Stone Walls Saves Further Issues

If you own a home with a stone foundation or with a field stone wall you understand the visual majesty of natural materials sculpted to fit complicated building practices.  The different colored stones and or combination of other materials such as granite, brick, marble and concrete can have a textured and often historic look that many people want to preserve.  Re-pointing and maintaining these styled walls can keep them lasting for many years to come.


Mortar that was used prior to the 1940s is about wearing thin, if not disintegrated all together by now.  Mortar plays a key roll in helping your wall to stay in one solid working structure. Mortar helps to solidify the stones together, filling up the natural gap between materials and helping to keep the interior fill of the stone wall together.  Without the Mortar keeping the joints closed the wall may look more natural, however, it looses valuable strength and cohesion, allowing for soil expansion to wreak havoc.


Bowing walls and collapsing wall corners and joints are all caused by different soil expansion and contraction rates. The wall’s ability to hold up against this over a long period of time without major damage is directly related to the health of the mortar and health of the foundation footing. Yes, wall anchoring systems, piering and other geo-tech solutions will help the more severe cases, but for someone with no major foundation issues on a historic house, maintenance is the key.


Re-pointing and updating the mortar to a more modern mortar are keys to your field stone house’s foundation.

It will add needed strength, tensile and lateral, close gaps and in some cases help to give a cleaner finish. Closing the gaps between the stones helps to limit the amount of direct contact with soil moisture, limit bug infiltration, possibly limit radon levels, patch up major leak points, add support to the stone to stone joints, and gives you a good starting point to limit the amount of water that is coming into your basement. Further work can then be done to address those issues; however, by directly addressing the structural needs of the stone foundation you drastically reduce the need for chaotic repair in the future

What is a Crawl Space? //Crawl Space issues. pt1.

A Crawl Space is a term used to describe a tight space, typically small enough that you need to actually crawl into it, that is associated with your basement or your attic. Crawl Spaces are categorized as such after 4’. So anything smaller than 4’ is a crawl space, anything grater is considered a basement (partial or full head height).

How they are Made:
Crawl Spaces
are made in similar ways to regular basements except they are smaller. For poured concrete foundations this means that the forms to size up the walls are shorter. They can be created in stone foundation, concrete block, cinder block, or poured concrete fashion. Pre-fabricated basements tend to not be constructed in Crawl Space sizes due to their special limitations and circulation problems.

Contractors would rather build (this is just from personal experience) a house with a full head height basement of 8’-9’ tall. Forms are more readily available, they displace more weight, they are built under most frost lines (more in the North than the South obviously), make more money for the contractor, and they can be built into easier. It’s much easier to fit a water heater, an oil tank, washer and dryers, piping and plumbing in a normal sized basement than a crawl space. But there are times when a crawl space might be warranted.

Reasons to build a Crawl Space
Ledge is typically an answer one would hear if they considered constructing a crawl space. Ledge is sometimes impossible to move without massive demolition. Ledge also tends to lend itself to a high density of rocks in the ground around the crawl space.

Another reason that a crawl space would be constructed over a regular head height basement is cost. People building or designing their first home sometimes would rather spend the money on other amenities in the design and rather cut costs on the foundation. One way to do that is to limit the head height of the space and create a crawl space.

There are limitations to building crawl spaces. Circulation is typically poor. Mold and moisture build ups are common place and get rather complicated to remediate (click here to read more about mold remediation options). Most crawl spaces don’t get concrete floors which opens up the bottom of your flooring crossbeams to direct contact with moisture and or water from the ground and from the foundation walls if leaks occur. (click here to read more about moisture control options for your crawl space.)

Because of space limitations crawl spaces tend to displace many of the amenities that we’ve come to associate with basements such as washer and dryers, heating, central air, well water pumps, oil or gas tanks, and other things.

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This article is continued at:—Crawl-Spaces-Pt-2&id=1385784