basement framing - the other type

ERIC

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I am setting up my new shop and my workshop area is in the basement (of my completely legit retail location in a commercial building on a main street)

My question is about dampness.

With the de-humidifyer running 24/7 it stays in the range of 50-60%. I am not happy with that.

There is currently no heat in the basement and the temp is hovering at 52-56 degrees. (I will be adding an electric wall mounted warehouse heater in the fall).

What have you had to deal with?
What framing materials tend to be problematic?
Which processes are effected most?
What layout/table/shelf designs have you used to deal with this?
What about a CMC?

What can I do to hit a more ideal percentage? I get the impression I should strive for 30-40% - is that correct? or can I just cope with it?

Please share your triumphs and tribulations.
 

JFeig

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You did not state if you own or lease the space. If you are leasing the space, I would be concerned as to how and why the landlord is leasing space without any heat. Electric heat is probally the most expensive way to go in a per BTU basis.

What size is the space and what is the capacity of the dehumidifier? Is it rated for the size you are trying to dry up? If not you might need 2 dehumidifiers. As for the RH of %50-60% you might not be able to reduce those figures even with a second unit if the walls not properly sealed. Your objective of 30-40% might by a little unrealistic for New York State.

Heating the space should dry out the place a but more.
 

wpfay

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I don't see the humidity as big a factor as the lack of moving air. The classes I've taken in sealed frame technology works with an assumed RH of 50% and a temperature of 70 degrees F.
With proper forced air ventilation you could take advantage of the moister air in the basement to humidify the upper level show room during the winter and the drier heated air from the upper levels to help heat and mitigate the humidity in the basement in winter. In the summer the cooler air from the basement would help to cool the upper levels, and the air conditioner could help in the dehumidification of the air.
The trick in either case is to get the air moving to help control potential mold growth.
 

Ron Eggers

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It could be that the space was never intended for anything other than storage.

That was the case with my current location. When I announced that I would need the basement for power tools and moulding storage (and hiding stuff that I still can't find) we had to put in another fire exit to bring it up to code. That involved cutting a doorway through six feet of foundation.

It was musty, but a good-size dehumidifier keeps it under control. Those things are expensive to run, btw.
 

McPhoto

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Eric -
When we built our studio, I designed it so the camera room & the workroom for frame fitting & mat cutting was in the "basement" - We needed ten foot ceilings in the camera room & it was more economical to "dig down" rather than "build up".
The building is total electric (heat & cooling) which is not the cheapest way to heat buildings in those typical Pennsylvania (or New York) winters.

Because our building was new, it took a couple of years for the concrete block to completely "cure" and during that time we ran a couple of dehumidifiers 24/7 - but, you also need heat to help remove any signs of mildew. I would caution about using a warehouse (blower style) heater. They are noisy, dirty and the fans tend to burn out on a regular basis. You might find that a strip heater (baseboard) would be less expensive to install & operate. Or, if your upstairs (main floor) is ducted, see if you can "tap" into the duct work and send a couple of runs downstairs. One nice thing about the temperature in the basement area is that the temperature is easier to control (below grade is an excellent insulator)
 

Hobbes03

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In my completely legit retail studio/basement workshop that happens to be in a building that also doubles as my house, it is fully heated, and with the aid of a dehumidifier, I have zero humidity related problems.

-Mike.
 

David Knox

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Hillsborough NC
I believe humidity affects my Cassese. But you have to remember I don't have the mentality of a person who tinkers with machinery (after 9 years it still amazes me that I'm able to cut and join quality frames). My shop is not in a basement; but rather in North Carolina humidity so therein lies the problem.
 

ERIC

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I am leasing the space, and Ron has the right impression about it being considered just "storage" space. I am paying for only the square footage of the main floor. Some of the other spaces have no basement but still pay the same rent per month.

As I understand my fire code, I will not be able to break through the floor to allow an exchange of air via vents which would be a great way to do it. I may still keep that idea on the table for later. It is a rehab'd building and there are some extra things that the city required in order to allowances for other spots in the project. This is over-kill, having fire rated sheet rock that can not be pierced within the space of a single tenant & a fire rated door at the top of my own staircase.

The space is 1000 sf with the two of the walls part of the foundation and made of real old concrete. Thay are not sealed well. The de-humidfier is a 40 gal. unit for 900 sf.

I will look at ceiling fans. Thanks to all for your input about air movement.

I have a new gas heating system (160,000 BTU). Maybe I should talk to the guy that installed it about including the basement. This sounds good. Expensive, but good.

Mike (et al) - sorry for including the word 'legit'. It did sound a bit snobbish. In this case I would say that you have an advantage, being in control of your own space that way.
 

Elaine

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Skaneateles,NY USA
Eric,

for the basement space, maybe there is a way to tap into the gas heating with a gas fireplace or heater. They have zero venting options (may depend on building code and there are direct vent options (need vent out through a wall or window) - these can be purchased for less than a thousand, and much less depending on the style. I use a gas fireplace in the studio where we do all of our framing production - we sized it for the space (BTU's) and the one we bought is considered a "furnace" and we have it on a thermostat control so it never goes below 55-60 when we are not working; keeps things regulated and humidity is low.

Works for us, not sure about where you are at, but NYS building code should be the same or vary little by area.

Elaine
 
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