Layout vs. Humidity

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Bob Collins, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    We have moved to a new home that has a rather small basement, but large enough to comfortably construct an 8'X10' layout.

    My question is about humidity in the basement. There is a sump pump with a small reservoir 12"X12" surface area. I also have a dehumidifier that I can adjust how hard it works to reduce the humidity level. What would you experts consider to be an optimum humidity level for my layout?

    Once I have that figured out then I'll go back to trying to figure out what I am going to build!!

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    AS little as possible. Just a smart a-- answer, sorry. I have a dehumidifier which I run full tilt and often think about getting another one. In the summer my basement gets very humid! Conversly, when the heat comes up for fall/winte, by January the basement in bone dry. The swing creates havic, at least once after initial track laying. Yeah, you can run a humidifier during the heating season but I don't want to. So for me, keeping the basement as dry as possible is the best idea. The humidity swings may not be so bad when using foam roadbed, I haven't done so. If using wood, any track nails used will be forced further apart during high humidity. So the track will bow between nails. Use a dremel cut off disc to cut the rails, solder feeders if required and you'll be good to go, next season should be no problem.

  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Thanks Gary;

    If I ever decide what I am going to build I think I'll use basically the same materials I did before; oxboard under 1" blue board, cork roadbed and Atlas flextrack. I was very please ( and very surprised, since it was my first go at laying track) how well my track performed with the other layout. I made a couple of mistakes, like using a couple of #4 turnouts on the mainline instead of #6;s, so I'll be more careful this time around.

    I think I have about decided to use a modified version of plan #52 in Lynn Wescotts 101 Plans. There was an article in a 2001 MRR that is a variation of #52 and I have some ideas about how to do a couple of more modifications without ruining the concept of the double oval. I'll probably have to look at the possibility of putting a wye on the layout somewhere so I can use at least one of those automatic reverse loop polarity controllers :thumb:

    Need to be thinking about getting started on bench work materials, but will most like wait to start any serious work until later in the fall. With us in a different home there are lots and lots of other things on my very loooong "honey do" list :) :)

    Good to hear from you Gary

  4. Here in Ohio my basement is very humid / wet, Spring is the worst as the ground is saturated from so much rain and my old crumbling basement walls cannot keep out the water. The water stays in the low part of the basement and I use a shop vac to remove the worst of it as needed. I have been meaning to install a sump pump, but I feel it is not enough water to justify the need.
    Anyway, a couple of years ago my basement got very wet and mold became such an issue that I had to tear out my layout.
    I now own a dehumidifier. It runs 24/7/365 never shuts off. It is the best thing I have done, I don't think I can get it too dry. I havn't had any rail expansion or layout problems since.
  5. sammyd

    sammyd Member

    THis spring wreaked havoc in the basement.
    Sump pump ran 24/7 for weeks, had fans blowing, dehumidifier going.
    The layout is a total loss.
    mold infected everything.
    Old farmhouses have charm but basements are not their best feature.
    I'll never use a basement that needs a sump pump for a layout again

    The only plus is I have permission to either
    a-turn 2 bays of a four car garage into a train room or
    b-run something around the livingroom
  6. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Good point sammyd. The basement in this house has the sump pump "just in case". The basement is dry, but part of the house is actually built below grade and I sure wouldn't build a house like this without the added protection of the pump.

    There is no evidence of mold or mildew anywhere I can find. I've looked under and behind everything and see nothing. The foundation is concrete block with a concrete outer layer on both the inside and outside of the foundation.

    And thanks to all of you for the input. It always helps to get a second and third and fourth opinion, if possible. :) :) :)

  7. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Bob, The "optimum" humidity level is around 40%. That goes for any living space, basement or not. That said, anything over about 65% and your going to start having problems with swelling wood, mold, etc. Sealing the walls and floor with Dri-lock or something simular will make a big differance. Otherwise, all the dehumidifiers in the world may not help.
  8. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Bob, your choice of materials is very temp/humidity stable.
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Happy Ending

    HO, HO, HO There is a happy ending to this thread. :) :thumb: After some serious negotiation I will not be relegated to the basement to create my railroad empire. :D :D

    Where we lived in Missouri we had only a single story house with a large unfinished basement where I was quite happy to do my railroading. Here the basement is much smaller and not really to my liking. But here we have an upstairs! You come up from the living room to a long, well lighted loft sort of room that leads to a room on each end. The folks who we bought from used one room as a "crafts" room, with tile floor, sink, etc. The other is a carpeted room where we are putting easy chairs, TV with the DVD and VCR, etc. So the upstairs is sort of the fun area. So, I have negotiated a space that is 15 1/2 feet long and 78" wide at one end and 56" wide at the other in the center loft area. If I ever wanted to tackle it I could also extend through a wall into a very long storage area and set up a heck of a staging yard. Could easily make it 10 feet long by 30" wide.

    NOW, all I have to do is decide what the h--- I'll going to do for a layout. I think I will shoot to have one of the new Walther turntables as a central point of the layout, but beyond that I am drawing a total blank at this point.

    Anyway, now the sun can shine on my railroad empire :cool: :cool:

  10. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    The way to go Bob!! A big double, even triple :cool: :cool: :cool: :thumb:
  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Thanks Woodie. It is also great to hear from you. Assume things "Down Under" are going well. I noticed a couple of your posts that suggest you are back to creating your own railroad empire. Good on ya mate :thumb:

  12. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Toys in the attic. Now you'll have your head in the clowds. ;)

    TrainClown :D

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