[hackerspaces] Wet hackerspace walls, what do you do?

Philip Poten philip.poten at gmail.com
Thu Nov 7 16:27:35 CET 2013


I've had to research that once, so maybe I can add a little bit to the

First, you need to identify why your walls are wet. And how much. Assuming
you're in the basement, and you're dealing with a brick wall:

- Is it on one side, gets worse when it rains? Is there a higher
pressure/more flow in the middle/on the upper half? This may indicate that
the nearby street isn't properly closed off towards your wall. Get the city
to fix it. Good luck with that, maybe the owner of the building has more
leverage than you.

- Is it seasonal and only certain walls/areas are affected? Then maybe
there is some leaking canal? Year round? Maybe leaking water mains.

These are the cheap variants: you find whoever is to blame and have them
fix it by stopping the supply of water. They'll most likely also be
responsible for drying your wall, which will work like Joshua described. If
that doesn't work out, the wall will dry on it's own over time, good
ventilation provided.

- Is it year round, all external walls are affected, maybe some more than
others: you may be below ground water levels or near the top of the ground
water. There are two cases: water from the side or water from below. From
the side is bad, as it's very expensive to fix (as in digging up the
sidewalk, insulate the outer walls), and you usually need the city for it.

>From below is just shitty because expensive, and if your building owner
doesn't deem it necessary, you're shit out of luck. Also needs to be done
professionally (as in, you need that expensive gear that no one has, and
the decades worth of experience, not to mention the insurance) and the
capillary action upward needs to be interrupted, either by completely
cutting through the walls and bringing in a layer of insulation or by
drilling holes in a certain way and filling them with some sort of
polymer/wax/somesuch which will then spread through the bricks. Those are
the only two methods I can remember otoh, but there may be more. They each
come with different caveats and different price tags attached. It pays off
to do a lot of research.

You'll probably soon see the need to shell out a few hundred bucks for a
professional who will drill a few deep holes into your walls (to measure
humidity), survey the site and then tell you where the problem really is.

Oh, and there's of course the case of normal, underground humidity when the
walls are not well insulated from the ground - there is no real alternative
to good ventilation here.

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