Modern Restorations - Dampness Plagues The Cellar By December, the cellar was pressure-washed several times with a chlorine solution to eradicate mold and mildew. After cleaning and establishing adequate lighting, assessments on the condition of the beams were made. The discovery of moisture wicking through the mortar at ground level contributed to rotting the butts of the floor beams. Dampness and the presence of termites contributed to instability of the building. Coupled with dry rot in other places of the beams required the installation of new lumber.
Posts were installed on the concrete floor against the walls where floor beams butted into the walls, and a lintel enabled the floor above to rest on these supports. Erickson used non-arsenic preservative posts and lintels which should render the structure stable at the cellar level for many years.
Two WWI steel I-beams from nearby Bethlehem Steel Corp. installed in the 1930s support the center floor above, further indicating dampness as the culprit weakening the beams. An old inadequate furnace was removed along with early knob and tube electric service.