How to make old home's damp basement LOOK (not feel) better?

6 Replies

Buying my first investment property to rent out. It's 95 years old so the basement feels damp. No visible water, probably just moisture coming in from the foundation. Mold on the floor/walls that I plan to get rid of with bleach/water/scrubbing. 

After cleaning and ending up with bare concrete on floor/walls, I want to paint all the walls with white Drylok and stain the floor with some type of gray concrete stain. Then seal it with some type of clear concrete sealant (like this ) 

I know it's old and will cost a lot of money to 100% waterproof it. I don't care if it continues feeling damp. It's just a basement used for storage anyway. 

What do the rest of you do to crappy basements to make them look/feel a little less haunted and disgusting?

@Emily Knowles

Welcome to the site.

Painting with Dry lock is something we do pretty often. 

Buy and add a dehumidifier with a direct drain and let it do it's job, not to expensive and it's going to fell and look better after you dry lock-it .

@Emily Knowles

wet basements can be a scary thing.  i had to have the exterior basement wall dug out, sealed on the outside with a membrane, and new french drains set up.  then a sump pump installed.  hopefully yours will not require that kind of money.  best of luck.


do what you plan on, plus adding the dehumidifier like Florian mentioned should help the situation a lot.

Hi Emily, 

I agree with @Florian N. as a starting point. Ive had to do this with several of my properties. Id also suggest adding a fan in addition to the Dehumidifier just to help circulate the air. After a few days of letting the dehumidifier run you'll notice a difference and it should be ready for prep and paint. Continue to run the dehumidifier during that process also, so that the paint will dry. If the moisture continues or gets worst you may have to consider what @Adam Drummond had to do. Good Luck!

Agree with the above.  Sealing paint on walls and floor will help.  Also run a dehumidifier into a sewer drain.  You can set the dehumidifier to come on only when it's really damp.  For example if your basement is 75-80% humidity most of the time, and you just set the dehumidifier to knock it down to about 65-60% that will feel like a world of difference and it will only come on during the most humid days.

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