Bryan Inc. Episode 2 - Mouldy Basement

Sarah Baeumler October 03, 2016 17 Comments

If you watched Episode 2 of Bryan Inc. you'll know that we ran into a few problems when we dug deeper into the basement of the Highview property. If you didn't watch, well then go visit and get watching!

As the show continues to be aired on HGTV Canada, I want to add some ideas and thoughts on the problems and design decisions that we had to make through the renovation and construction of the two properties. This week, I wanted to share a little more about dealing with mouldy basements. I am learning as I go and so there's no one better to use as a resource than my husband. Here is Bryan's thoughts on dealing with a wet or leaky basement as seen in his book, Measure Twice.

Finishing a Wet or Leaky Basement.

Before you start choosing a sofa and buying a big new TV, you need to take a serious look at your foundation. If your basement smells musty, if the walls, floor or carpet feel damp, or you see efflorescence (whitish powder) on the walls, you've got moisture coming in. It makes no sense to finish a basement with a leaky foundation. Any area that combines moisture and organic material (such as wood or the paper covering on drywall) has the perfect conditions for mould. And when you put a bunch of dry building materials into that wet area, you’re setting yourself up for rot. It’s like having a pile of fresh food on the counter: it’s only a matter of time before it gets mouldy. (Even in an unfinished basement, I wouldn’t want to see signs of moisture: too much will weaken a concrete foundation over time.)

How does water end up inside in the first place? Sometimes it’s a natural condition known as hydrostatic pressure. As the earth around your home collects groundwater, the soil expands. This extra weight builds up and presses against the foundation floor. As the pressure builds, water can come through cracks in the walls and floor of the foundation or through the pores of the foundation itself.

You don't need hydrostatic pressure to have a wet basement. Storm water and even a garden hose could be part of the problem. Most often though, water vapour is the culprit. Moisture circulates around the house as vapour, which is created by activities such as breathing, cooking, doing laundry and showering. When warm, moist air cools, some of the moisture evaporates. That’s what’s happening when warm air hits a cold window, for example - the glass becomes coated on the inside with a layer of condensation. Even without any windows in a basement, moisture can condense on cool surfaces such as the concrete floor under carpeting or the brick or concrete block behind exterior basement walls. These damp conditions are perfect for uninvited visitors like mould, which can destroy the structural integrity of the foundation itself.

Moisture can also be caused by a problem with the weeping tile. Weeping tile is a bit of a misnomer. These are perforated tubes that sIope away from a home’s foundation, right down by the footings. Any groundwater that seeps down from the surface or percolates up from below gets led away from the foundation by gravity and the weeping tile. If water is no longer draining properly, those tubes could have become damaged or separated. Blame tree roots, soil movement, freezing and thawing or age. In older homes weeping tile is made of clay, which doesn’t last forever (these days, we use weeping tile made of plastic). A waterproofing pro can inspect the condition of the weeping tile, and you may be able to have it patched, if you're lucky. If it’s in really bad condition, it might need to be replaced. That’s a big, expensive job.

Let’s say your foundation is made of stone rubble (we see these in older parts of Toronto and other cities across the country). These are loose and crumbly, and when you mess with them, you get all kinds of sand coming out of the joints. The foundations look heavy and solid, but they are very porous, which means water passes right through them, and you’re going to need to waterproof before you do any finishing of the space. Even if your house has a block or concrete foundation, you should have it inspected before you start any basement renovations.

If you want to read more advice from Bryan's book, you can buy it here. Happy reading!

Comment by: ESOMalls on 1/24/2017 5:07:24 PM

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Comment by: okaymmo on 1/23/2017 8:51:14 AM

This game is really too bad.

Comment by: Margo on 1/8/2017 7:49:24 PM

I just watched a few episodes of Bryan Inc. and decided that I will not be watching any up coming episodes. There have been negative comments about Sarah-yes, she does come across as spoiled and entitled. However, have you seen how Bryan (who I thought was a good guy) treat and talk to his wife. He treats her like a child and in turn she acts like one. These two people should not be mixing business with pleasure. It rarely ends well.

Comment by: Tina S. on 1/8/2017 1:35:17 PM

Sarah's behaviour gives women a bad name. She comes across as totally self-absorbed, spoiled, demanding, ignorant and childish. As a woman I find this show very hard to watch. How unfortunate, as she could be portraying a strong, intelligent, collaborative and skilled trades woman., such as Joanne be on Fixer Uppers. I won't be tuning in again.

Comment by: Kathie on 1/7/2017 6:26:20 PM

Love you Bryan! But you have to wonder when your labourers don't want to run changes past your wife if she's really a good fit for the show. I don't think she has a clue about scheduling or keeping a project on budget either. Probably a good idea to find her another outlet for her "talents" before she bankrupted the company.

Comment by: Lizbeth on 12/4/2016 2:47:40 PM

Sarah is great, amazing ideas and vision.

Comment by: Susuan B on 11/19/2016 9:42:35 AM

Get rid if Sarah!! She only brings tension to the show, and only wants her own way!! The episode, "Brexit" was difficult to watch, Sarah had to have her nose in every project. If she were "just an employee", would Bryan have to put up with her input in every the boss would he not just make the decisions on each project! Put her back in the house !! She adds nothing to the show, except that she gets to show off all of her rich wardrobe!!

Comment by: Susuan B on 11/19/2016 9:42:34 AM

Get rid if Sarah!! She only brings tension to the show, and only wants her own way!! The episode, "Brexit" was difficult to watch, Sarah had to have her nose in every project. If she were "just an employee", would Bryan have to put up with her input in every the boss would he not just make the decisions on each project! Put her back in the house !! She adds nothing to the show, except that she gets to show off all of her rich wardrobe!!

Comment by: Jane V on 11/19/2016 9:33:28 AM

I have been watching this series. I have always like the Brian series on HGTV, but do not like Sarah in the series! I am not impressed with her personality! She comes across as being the expert, and can not imagine the men who are masters of their trades, taking instructions from her!! She comes across as a know it all!!

Comment by: Cindy on 11/14/2016 11:48:30 PM

I enjoy the show! Always loved the other Bryan shows, and having Sarah by his side adds an element of surprise and finesse! I like all the manly things Bryan brings to the show and his expertise but as a woman I also enjoy the class that Sarah brings and her design ideas lift the show to a new level! Sarah is fierce and I admire that she stands up to Bryan! They are both great role models.

Comment by: Nancy on 11/13/2016 4:36:18 PM

Unfortunate I cannot bear to watch this show. I have loved all of Bryan's shows but I can't for the life of me understand how HGTV thought it was a good idea to bring Sarah into this- was it not certain there would be loss of viewership? What exactly is Sarah Baeulmer qualified to do? It is painful to watch an hour of her complain, point and sulk like a child. She lacks any creativity to solve problems collaboratively with her husband. The tension between these two is palpable. The big difference between Bryan and Sarah and other HGTV couples is usually both are actually experts in the field and demonstrate a great working collaboration. It seems all Sarah brings to the table in this partnership is a new outfit and a list of demands she can't facilitate on her own.
Bryan Baeulmer would have been smart to stick to what he does best on his own, something tells me he didn't have a choice on this one.

Comment by: Jody on 10/17/2016 11:35:14 PM

OMG! LOVE u Bryan!!... Can u get rid of the third wheel Sarah or Sara PLEASE?... Can't stand her whine and "I need to get my way even though I know nothing about what's going on" ... And her fashion show, pla----eeze... At least show up line u r going to work instead of showing the public how much u spend on coats...

Comment by: Jody on 10/9/2016 11:14:21 PM

LOVE your show Bryan!! Get rid of the wifey--- horrible

Comment by: Anita on 10/9/2016 9:49:10 PM

I adored the grey bell sleeve sweater you wore while on the roof of the new construction home - I would be super stoked if you could tell me where it is from?
And keep up the great work!

Comment by: Rose on 10/4/2016 4:20:26 PM

We really enjoy watching you and Brian working together❤️

Comment by: Sheila Gandee on 10/4/2016 7:21:29 AM

Why can't we watch your shows like we used to here in USA, you guys are amazing and really miss being able to watch.

Comment by: Marilyn Place on 10/3/2016 6:32:24 PM

Enjoyed your show! We have followed you for years.