This basement waterproofing “case study,” “The Lesson of the Forgotten Home Office,” tells how a large, damp, musty and unused basement was quickly transformed into a new moisture- and mold-controlled quiet home office.
Twenty years ago, a homeowner built a 6,000-square-foot raised ranch home with many amenities on 5+ acres. The homeowner, a Senior Sales Executive, stayed home two days each week, to make sales calls by phone. But he was frustrated because nowhere in that massive house was there a quiet and private room with no distractions.
For five years, he had been sneaking down to work in his home’s empty 2,000-square-foot (!) basement. There was nothing down there except for a small area rug, a folding card table with a desk lamp on it, a desk phone, a milk crate for his files, and one very old leather chair. That was all he needed for a busy day’s work.
The basement makeover project was simple: Give this man a dry and sanitary space where he wouldn’t be distracted from the weekly lawn crew, pool cleaners, two overly friendly Golden Retrievers who loved to run around the house, college sons home for the summers, and his wife’s friends who frequently came over for coffee and conversation. Amazingly, when he was at his card table/desk, quietly working in his basement “retreat,” everyone assumed he wasn’t home or that he was busy somewhere in the house. No disturbances meant he could get his work done early and then have time with his family.
The basement had damp walls, a musty smell and a noisy dehumidifier. The proposed and accepted solution was twofold. On the house exterior, surface drains were added, the foundation was regraded, and rain gutters were cleaned and adjusted for proper and easy maintenance. On the inside, the basement walls and floor were washed down into the existing sump pump. Mold treatment and waterproof coatings were applied to the walls; the floor was covered with high-gloss paint; and some new window vents were installed. This makeover took less than two weeks. The basement was now just as empty as before, but it was well lit and naturally ventilated. No more musty smell, and no need for a dehumidifier.
Many homeowners are pleasantly surprised to learn that interior french drains are not required to turn their damp, musty unfinished basement into dry storage space or a place to exercise, listen to music, watch a movie, work on some home projects, or, as in this case study, have a simple and quiet home office whose only distraction is perhaps a little tweeting by the birds outside.