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Old 01-11-2017, 01:08 AM   #1
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Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Hey,
I would like to finish my basement but there seems to be a slight water problem. I've had a few "basement water companies" give advice and I get different answers. Thought I would post here, I havent found someone with similar issue.

This is a 10 year old home in Wisconsin, poured concrete walls. Not sure if there was foam on the exterior of the foundation walls but it has that black sealant I can see on some of the exposed foundation. I run a dehumidifier in the basement year round now.

The North wall of the basement is partially exposed. This wall seems to get "wet" and grows mold/spores on the interior. I recently noticed that now in the winter, the moisture seems to be originating on the part of the wall that is above ground level.

One guy is telling me that its a condensation issue, not a grade issue or downspout gutter issue and I think this makes some sense to me. I would like to know your opinion.

What can I observe, test or measure to ensure exactly what the problem is? Would an IR camera tell me anything? My fear is that if I finish the basement, this moisture will mold. But on the other hand, insulating the walls might cure the condensation if in fact that is what is causing the moisture but how do I know?

I dont quiet understand why only these corners get wet while the rest of the exposed basement wall does not?
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Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?-img_1839-1-.jpg   Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?-img_1840-1-.jpg   Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?-img_1843-1-.jpg   Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?-img_1844-1-.jpg  

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Old 01-11-2017, 04:03 AM   #2
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


QUOTE: One guy is telling me that its a condensation issue, not a grade issue or downspout gutter issue and I think this makes some sense to me. I would like to know your opinion.
************************************************** ****
That one guy is correct.
You really don't need an IR camera as the surface appearance has already told what needs to be known.

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Old 01-11-2017, 06:00 AM   #3
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


+1

Appears to be a condensation issue as long as you have confirmed that the gutter drain is unplugged and flowing properly.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:04 AM   #4
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Thanks guys,
Yes I originally thought it was something with the downspouts but since the moisture is all above grade, it seems to be something else. The downspouts are flowing out the exit from what I can tell from the rain we have had here recently.

So you think just cleaning and insulating it will be fine?

I thought Fig 11 in this attached picture was similar to my situation
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Just a note, there are several sources of moisture, liquid water, moisture vapor, and condensation. Liquid water can turn to moisture vapor and pass right through concrete, even with that tar coating on the outside. Often it evaporates before you see it so the basement LOOKS dry. But your need to run a dehumidifier tells you that moisture is getting through.

Here is a good like for some basics on basements. I especially like his intro, basements were never intended to be finished.
https://buildingscience.com/document...ts?full_view=1

Bud
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


I would etch the leaky surface(s) with acid to clean/expose the surface then treat it with a masonry water proofing product....DryLock Extreme, Sanitred appear to well reviewed when applied properly (clean/dry surface).

If you want to insulate the walls after waterproofing I would used a faced rigid foam @ 2" thick due to your climate.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


You should also consider insulating the rim joists....I'm guessing the top plate on the mason wall is wet as well.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Another pic of the back of the house would help... IT appears there are wood chips for the walkway between the house/driveway and you are on a hill. Does the drive have a reverse sloped side if on the down-hill side or is it directing surface water to the very permeable wood chips because the bulk of the mold is on the that side, if joists run away from driveway. That stone veneer is a water storing material as is the concrete wall, maybe there is no tar on the outside concrete slightly below grade... is there a bare concrete (without tar- a vapor barrier) below the stone- dig there a little. Appears to be much more and concentrated to be indoor humidity, IMO. Looks like you already have SPF on the rims...

Gary
PS. esp. judging by the poor application of tar next to window...
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:13 PM   #9
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Another thought; check if the corrugated drainage pipe is "holed" -the slots used to let water in when installed horizontally. Maybe they ran short of solid pipe and used some holed pipe (looks the same other than holes) and the holes are letting water on the concrete wall at the corners. OR the fitting joints are poor or even a non-existing fitting- some just slit the upper pipe to fit in the lower pipe on the the verticals and may be leaking there- because a tab from that same slitting is pushed into the water flow to divert some water outward.

Gary
PS, on second look, the joists run with the drive. Is there a swail in the blacktop/concrete drive, on the low side.... pic. there would help also.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:36 PM   #10
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Clean a spot in the middle of the mold to tape some poly plastic sheet to tell if interior condensation or exterior moisture....

Gary
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:48 PM   #11
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


I will try to get some pictures and more information tomorrow, thanks for the in-depth investigation.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:31 PM   #12
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


Here are some more pictures from today.

Interesting the moisture on the wall has pretty much gone away. I have not changed anything, the dehumidifier is the same as well as the heat in the house.

I took the initial images on the 9th of Jan. These were the outside temps leading up to that day.

Jan 4 15F
Jan 5 4F
Jan 6 0F
Jan 7 0F
Jan 8 7F
Jan 9 18F <-date pic taken, wet surface
Jan 10 30F <-wall was still wet

Jan 15 20F
Jan 16 25F
Jan 17 37F
Jan 18 35F
Jan 19 32F Wall is dry, pictures in todays post is from today.

I wonder if the cold spell is what created the condensation that I saw on the 9th?
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:18 PM   #13
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Re: Mold/wetting on basement walls, condensation?


A Infrared thermometer or an alcohol thermometer taped to the indoor concrete in the problem area for surface temperature, in conjunction with a room temperature and dew point temperature reading will answer your " is it a condensation problem question ".

http://dpcalc.org/

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