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Thread: Basement Sewing Rooms

  1. #1
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    Basement Sewing Rooms

    I recently moved my sewing room into the basement-- it's a "walkout" basement-- or at least half of it is (our rented house is on a hill), but it's damp down here, especially during our humid summers. I've got a dehumidifier going, but I'm not sure it's enough; still feels awfully "moist" down here. It doesn't smell mildewy or anything; it's just cold and humid. I'm worried about my fabric.

    Wondering what others have done to protect fabric and batting in similar conditions. Thanks.
    jillaine

  2. #2
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Our home is built into the side of a hill and my sewing area is also in our walkout basement. However, we don't have any problems (knock on wood) with a musty smell or humidity down there. We moved into this house in January after it had stood unoccupied for 3 years. When we did the walk thru with the realtor, there was a musty smell and it was moist enough that the peel & stick tiles on the floor had come completely loose in the lower level but the bank got 2 large (& expensive!) dehumidifiers and set them up and when we came back for the final walk thru before we put in an offer, the smell and moisture were gone. We were surprised when we came to the house after closing and found that the bank had failed to come retrieve the 2 humidifiers. Lucky us!!! We haven't had to use them again. Do you have the right size dehumidifier for your lower level? Depending on the square footage, you might need more than one.
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    A friend of ours who installs carpet said to put a moisture barrier down in a basement. It can be installed on the walls and on the floor. It is the red roofing material on a roll. It is like the black roofing roll but it is red. In Home Depot, it is right beside it. I don't know if it is the same as they use under the new floating floors. I guess I will have to find out the correct name for it the next time I go there. Anyway, I have it installed in my family room under the carpet because we are on concrete only in this room. In my basement laundry room, I bought those big rubberish tiles that connect together. They can get wet without damage. I also have a new dehumidifier that pulls 50 gallons of moisture in 24 hours. I am very pleased with it so far. I would not live without that because we installed the old kitchen cupboards down there. They are solid wood. Hope you understand what I mean.

  4. #4
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    ragamuffin, thanks for the information; pulling up our existing wall-to-wall carpeting is not an option, unfortunately, though the moisture barrier material certainly good to know about should we ever be in a position to replace the carpeting.

    auntpiggylpn, i think you're right-- we need a second (and better) humidifier. it-- the moisture and the smell-- seems to get worse with each passing day we proceed into summer. Of course, it's been raining a LOT this week...
    jillaine

  5. #5
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    Yes, you have had a rainy week! Same here. I think, since you are in a rented property, your only option is going to be a second/bigger dehumidifier. Just one of the realities of east coast living. But I'd love a walkout basement!

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    Also a fan would be good, just having air movement & circulation helps! I know from experience!! : )

  7. #7
    Senior Member ladydukes's Avatar
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    Our house in WA state that we are selling to move back to TX is ICF construction (layer of foam, 10 inches of concrete, then another layer of foam). It is extremely well insulated because of the construction. Our walkout basement is covered with windows and a patio door on the backside and in the side of the hill in the front side. Our house overlooks the Yakima River and mountains, so that's the view from my sewing room The basement temperature stays the same cool year-round, and we have absolutely no humidity problems. My recommendation to anyone who may be planning to build a new house is to consider ICF construction. Our house is 3,314 sq ft (half upper level, half basement level). The entire back side of the house is windows and patio doors, yet our heat/air bill is extremely reasonable.

  8. #8
    Super Member JoyjoyMarie's Avatar
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    We live in humid Delaware, but I love my unfinished basement quilting room. I have a couple larger windows with window wells and lots of flourescent lites. No walls so it feels spacious. I use a dehumidifier in the summer to keep things dry and it does the trick. It's too cool for hubby, so I consider it my "menopausal woman cave". I can leave it a mess or clean it up at will, and I have lots of space to spread out. If we ever finish out the basement, I appreciate the tips about the moisture barriers. Happy quilting!
    KEEP CALM and CARRY ON!!

  9. #9
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    On the plus side....the water you retrieve from the dehumidifier is wonderful for watering your plants. One of my girlfriends has her big watering can under her slop sink and fills it up with the water. Then waters all the hanging plants on her deck.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  10. #10
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    Ladydukes, as I read your post, I was thinking: well, I should simply moving to (the other) Washington. That's clearly the solution! ;-)

    (I love it out there...)

    I'll let you know how the DEhumidifier addition goes.
    jillaine

  11. #11
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
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    Tink's Mom, my husband uses the dehumidifier water in the iron when ironing his clothes. (Yes, I'm married to a man who irons his own shirts!!!! woo hoo).
    jillaine

  12. #12
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    In Missouri we are going through some heavy rains. My sewing room in the basement have been really damp. I run a dehumidifier that helps, but I still have a musty smell. My daughter suggested I try white vinegar. It worked. I put several bowls with about 1 inch in them. Also the basement opens into the garage and I open the doors when I am down there. That really helps. Good luck

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    I know it's not funny to you all in humid areas of the country - but - here in Colorado we have to humidify!! : )

  14. #14
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Run that dehumidifier all the time. Try to keep the moisture level at 50%. The bigger problem is light. High humidity and low light is the combination you want to avoid at all costs. I keep lights on all the time in my walkout basement which has big windows too. It still gets that damp feel in summer and if I don't keep on top of the humidity level I will get musty smell. The cost of running the dehumidifier and lights is way less than the loss of the fabric stash from mildew.

    My basement is finished but it was done before the practice of moisture barriers on the cement floor and walls. Cement and cinder block always moves moisture even though I have a dry basement.

    Good luck.
    peace

    Air flow is another helpful tool. Keep the fans running in summer.
    Last edited by ube quilting; 06-14-2014 at 05:01 PM.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  15. #15
    Senior Member Marni's Avatar
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    I keep a fan going 24/7- no musty smells at all
    It's not a stash-it's a fabric library!
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  16. #16
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    My sewing room is in the basement and not a walk-out style. When it rains outside too much the water starts to seep up from the floor. This is an old house built in 1900 so back before they knew to add a water protective layer before the cement was poored. I painted the floors when I 1st moved in but since then the paint has progressively been peeling along with crumbling cement. I found a spray-on water sealer so when I get a spot that's showing signs of wetness, I dry it as best I can..........sometimes it takes days, then I spray the water sealer on the area. Seems to be working and its only in one area of the basement that this is happening................of course its the room with all the machines in it. I also have a dehumidifier on during the summer months. Right now the humidity is under 20% so now I have to add humidity so I don't get zapped when I touch my machines so I just fill a dishpan full of hot water in the sink nearby and that seems to do the trick. So far my fabrics have not shown signs of problems and I've even had a pipe break over one cabinet full of dress fabrics. Lost all my notebooks filled with projects but I call that lucky. Also had the quilt machine down at one end of the frame as otherwise it would have gotten wet.
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  17. #17
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    Before we moved here because I knew I'd be working in the basement...unfinished section, we had it checked for radon. It was higher than acceptable, so before we bought, the owner had to have radon protection installed. Have no problem with high humidity....but if I did, dehumidifier would work

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