We’ve recently purchased a home and noticed a musty smell in our basement. We initially thought it was because it sat vacant for a while, however now that we’re getting tons of rain the smell is worsening! (It is partially finished but the problem room is a wood workshop. There is exposed earth/rock in an interior corner so we didnt know if this was the reason?! So we had a mold service come in and they tested the air. We did have high levels so they tore down walls and found black mold. They treated those areas but the smell is still there….and they said the exposed rock area was not moldy?! So, we thought this was going to fix it but it hasn’t! Every time it rains the exposed area gets wet….not by the walls…in the center! Is it below the water table? What should we do? I have young children and don’t want this to be harmful! Should we try busting the area and pouring more slab? Please somebody help!
Water in the basement that leads to mold issues is the fear of just about every homeowner. But it doesn't often require a major amount of work or expense to fix. Because the smell is prevalent when there is moisture, for example during or after rain, most likely you are just smelling the moisture and dampness. The best way to cure most wet basement problems is proper drainage around your home's perimeter, along with correctly positioned downspouts and working gutters. Start with our article on Wet Basement Solutions. Also search "mold" on our site and you will be well on your way to a solution.
The moisture as you already understand is the trigger for this happening. It torque's me when mold companies do testing and work and not solve the reason why they were brought in the first place.
You must control the moisture. That damp odor your smelling is the result of the moisture mixing with organic materials (dirt) and the result is mold. the smell is the digestion of the organic materials that are exposed.
With a stone foundation this repair is a bit harder then those with a cement block wall system. Depending on the age of the stone foundation it can become quite tricky to dig and seal. Its not just about patching the stone from the inside either. Doing so can destroy the stone foundation as a result.
Ideally you need to seal the outside of the wall system with a water proofing membrane and install a water proofing system to prevent the water from reaching the inside of the basement.
I suggest that you seek the advice of a professional water proofing contractor. They can suggest methods to make the wall dry for you so this odor goes away. Be sure to shop around carefully and learn all you can about inside water control systems and outside water proofing systems. There are big differences in what they are and what they cost. Do not sign the first contract also. Get many estimates and ideas. They will also hound you to sign their agreement on the spot. They will then call you back several days later offering the same job for thousands less. Make it perfectly clear that you will make your choice on your own time and not theirs.
Once this is solved get two things done. A radon test and another indoor air test.
Thanks for your help! We have a foundation specialist scheduled for this week. The basement walls are good….no moisture. We know it’s coming from this particular area. Our foundation is not stone, though; only this one section….it’s like they hit rock while digging and just gave up?! I’d love to share a photo. We got tons of rain yesterday so I took a few pics. It really ‘beats all I’ve ever seen’ (as we Southerners say)!