Since the weather has been too hot to do any work outside and my photography has outgrown my darkroom, I decided it was time to do something I have wanted to do since I bought this house in 1997 - setup a darkroom in the basement! Since my photography is now a side-line business, the costs are paid with tax-free money :-)
The house dates from about 1920 and was moved to this location in 1975. Unfortunately, the fellow who did the move and put in the new foundation failed to consider the high groundwater levels in the spring and in times of heavy rain (like this year!). Instead of starting the basement floor at grade level, he went down a couple of feet, which means the basement is most always wet in the spring with water seeping in thru every crack.
Someone (before me) decided to finish the basement, or at least to put a bedroom down there - DUMB! They made no provisions for the water on the floor and even used fiberglass insulation (which wicks the water!) The existing walls have to come out.
You can see some of the water damage and rotten lumber as I started tearing out the existing walls:
There will be some lumber that is salvagable but most of the sheeting is rotten along the bottom.
The new darkroom will occupy part of the basement (which is already nearly light-tight): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v181/calamityjanecanary/Basement1.jpg
I haven't decided on the layout yet - I want to see the space with the existing walls removed - but I did discover I have one more basement window than I thought so that will become the exhaust vent!
To accomodate the water, I plan to lay styrofoam (SM) strips along the floor (probably about 2"), leaving a space behind the strip for the water to move (1.5") Over that strip, I will lay another styrofoam strip 3.5" wide. The base of the walls will sit on top of the second styrofoam and will therefore not be exposed to the water while the water is free to run along the space underneath on its way to the sump.
(I work in a large engineering office with many talented and resourceful designers but, even there, in the hydro-electric company, nobody has ever build wood walls to accomodate water movement so it will be interesting to see how this works out!)
My sump is almost in the middle of the basement and that is where I dump my darkroom waste, so I haven't decided if I want to do a U-shaped layout, with the wet side ending at the sump, or to do an "in-line" layout along my long wall. (Scratches head . . .)
In any event, it will be nice to move out of my 10x12 darkroom and into a MUCH larger space, a space where I have total freedom in the layout.
I'll re-post to this thread as work progresses.
On my way to the dump now with a whole truck load of trash from the basement . . .