Eliminate Moisture on Basement Walls
LESLIE: Mary in New Jersey has a question about moisture in the basement. What’s going on?
MARY: We were looking at a new house in northeastern Pennsylvania …
MARY: … which we both loved. Went back one day after a snowstorm. Went into the basement and midline above grade in the basement on a poured concrete wall was a lot of moisture. It was almost like somebody drew a line around and it was wet from midline up. Some places were – obviously looked like water.
TOM: Mary, what’s causing that is condensation. The reason you didn’t see any moisture from the midline down is because the soil on the other side of that wall acts as an insulator. But when the wall is fully exposed it’s going to be super cold. There was probably a lot of humidity in the home at that point in time and so what you saw was condensation on the outside wall.
Once the home is heated; once the basement is heated or at least if there’s a dehumidifier in there then that’s not going to happen anymore. That’s not something I would worry about.
MARY: OK, and it was on the inside wall even – and I was just trying to get – somebody told me it was a common problem but nobody could give me an idea of what excesses would be.
TOM: Well, if it’s – you said it’s a solid concrete wall. Those are very, very structurally stable walls. If you’re not collecting water on the inside I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but again, if you dehumidify the basement, then that’s not going to happen anymore. It’s a simple problem because of the exposed wall being so cold.
LESLIE: Well and also, like Mary had mentioned, you know, there was a substantial snowfall, so you’re dealing with a lot of moisture right up against the home’s foundation walls. So you’re going to see that moisture wicking through the concrete just because of that moisture and the snow sitting right there.
MARY: And as far as buying a new home, this would not be a big concern or considered a structural flaw?
TOM: No, it wouldn’t be to me but before I bought a new home I would have the home inspected …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Inspection.
TOM: … by a professional home inspector.
LESLIE: Even if it’s new.
TOM: You can find one by going to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, Mary. It’s ASHI.org. ASHI.org. Those guys are the crème of the crop for the business.
MARY: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.