We want to make our basement "habitable" it has a problem with damp but we cannot afford to get it "tanked out" so the plaster is coming off the walls. How do I re-plaster it? I know that I'll have to knock off the old plaster and I know that the damp won't disappear but when we're able to live there full time we will keep it well aired. In the winter we'll be moving down stairs just to keep one area of the house warm by using a wood burning stove in the kitchen and a wood burner in the other room. We hope to build a rocket mass heater in the future but is it possible to raise the out pipe up the wall to pass out of the chimney?
Removing the old plaster and adding new isn't going to be a good idea, especially if your going to be living down there in the future. The damp penetrating the plaster and the heat you generate down there could potentially cause a very dangerous mold problem.
What type of house do you live in and how is the basement constructed. Is it concrete block. Poured concrete. ...
There are several ways to fix. But you also need to find the roo cause.
This could simply be a case of changing the grade at the foot of the house or redirecting rain spouts.
Other ways to fix are as follows.
Dig trench around house and put in drain tile.
Dig around basement floor, drill holes at footing level to outside and install drain tile to sump pump.
Use waterproofing material either on inside or outside of the wall..
The basement is constructed from stone (which is common in this country). I suppose we could knock all the remaining plaster off keep the basement well ventilated and think again. When we manage to use the basement as living space it will be heated in the winter by wood burners and there are chimneys in each of the rooms. At the moment we keep the windows open when we're there in the summer and this has had a positive effect on the damp problem. Tanking out either externally or internally is out of the question at the moment as we have no money.
There are also several waterproof cements that you could use.
though i cant remember there names anymore, i know some are used to seal ponds.
you could call out to my brother Mike, he's a master plasterer and is also on Forum here.
What part ok the UK are you in, i'm originally from Portsmouth, so basements there are pretty rare due to the water table.
I have a damp cellar too. It's built into the slope of the hill so the back is below ground level. I've been researching and speaking to people about this problem for about two and a half years now and you get lots of different and often conflicting advice. The conclusion I've come to is you have to find out what's causing the damp so remove all the plaster and then live with the bare walls for long enough to find out which areas are dampest, dryest and at what time of year. Do they get wetter when it rains? Are the walls wetter at the bottom etc? Also try to understand as well as possible what's happening on the outside. Is the cellar completely below ground? Is there earth in contact with the walls? Is the earth damp/wet? Where is the water coming from?
Addressing the problem is in two parts, outside and inside. The outside part may be more difficult and expensive but that depends where the water is coming from. Find where the water is coming from and stop it or stop it from coming in. Waterproofing treatment should be outside and/or at the bottom of the wall. The solution inside is to try to ensure that any damp in the wall comes out naturally. This means using breathable plaster. If you use traditional lime plaster (natural hydraulic lime nhl) it is both breathable and naturally mould resistant. It can also be cheap if you buy lime and mix it with sand yourself rather than buying ready mixed products.
If you replaster the walls without treating the cause you are only addressing the symptoms. If you find the cause it may be easier to solve than waterproofing the whole cellar.
Also, I highly reccomend Mat Walkers tiny cook stove. I haven't built it but I've been researching rocket stoves, batch rockets, mass heaters, mass cook stoves for as long as i've been researching lime plaster now. I guess that makes me an armchair expert on both of these subjects.