Basement Moisture Problems

by J on December 28, 2009

Basements are a plus to any home. At the least they offer you plenty of extra storage space, and at the most they can be finished off into a recreation room, home office or bedroom. Moisture problems, unfortunately, often come part and parcel with basements. In order to protect your possessions and any investment you may make in finishing off your space from damage, you should check for moisture. Here are some signs to watch for.

Mold or Mildew and Musty Odors

Mold or mildew is an obvious sign that you have a moisture problem in the basement. This living organism needs a food source, and your walls, furniture and carpeting are just a few of the things it is happy to feed upon. Mold is a serious health hazard, so lose no time in eradicating this problem. If you don’t see any mold or mildew but can smell a musty odor, try to locate the source of the odor and clean it if possible. If you can’t clean it, you will probably need to replace the item.

Chalky Walls

If your concrete walls appear to have a white, chalky substance on them, you probably have a moisture problem. When excessive water is present, it can cause the calcium in the block to leech out, leaving the chalky residue on your walls. Get some professional advice on the extent of the problem.

Damp Spots on Walls

Depending upon whether your wall is painted or unpainted, damp spots will have a different look. If the concrete block is not painted, it will turn a dark grey when it’s wet. A painted wall will look discolored from the rest of the wall where it is wet. You may also be able to feel the moisture if it is a recent problem. Have a basement waterproofing expert check if you are unsure about the spot.


Check for signs of rust on your metal appliances, fuse boxes and jack posts. If you see rust, then you know that moisture is a problem. You will need to remove the rust or replace the item if the rust is extensive. Locate the source of the moisture to protect from further rust problems.

Dry Rot

Dry rot usually grows on wood surfaces and is a type of fungus. This damages the item, so again locate the moisture source and eradicate it. Once you see the dry rot, the damage is done and probably beyond repair.

Ultimately, some moisture problems—such as mold—are obvious to detect. Other problems can be trickier to uncover. Have a mold remediation expert check your basement for problems, and you’ll be able to use and enjoy the space worry free.

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