Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.17 – Sympathy For The Basement

by Erik North on November 18, 2012

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This is from a recent house where the homeowner mentioned problems with: musty odors in the basement, huge electric bills from their humidifier running, problems with mold and mildew cropping up through out the house. Guess what the basement humidity was and how they were dealing with it?

While there isn’t a shot of it here, the basement was a great example of issues with modern construction. It was a perfectly fine formed concrete foundation built around 1980. Even had bitumen exterior damp proofing. But the concrete was drenched through because of persistent exterior moisture on two of the house facings. And that was reflected in the basement humidity and humidity through the building.

The high humidity levels were permeating through the house, condensing whereever a surface dipped below the dew point usually on exterior windows. Problematic to say the least.


Humidity gauge

Oh, boy...That can't be a good humidity reading.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony Scott November 21, 2012 at 2:27 am

Controlling humidity in the basement is very crucial task. Moisture can degrade the value of your home by damaging its structural integrity. To control your electricity bills insulate your home as it has water resistant property also. Basement humidity control can help to remove all sort of odors tat can occur in your basement.


Bruce February 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Hi Erik, I’d like to see photos of the 2 walls in question and the rim joist / concrete wall area. If I could make a suggestion – please make the thumbnail photo expand to a much larger photo. Some expand so minimally that it is difficult see any change. I have come across your posts at GBA which lead me to your blog which I enjoy.


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