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Old 03-06-2019, 06:55 AM   #1
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Basement Bathroom Remodel Help - Water Under Old Tiles?

I am in the process of remodeling my basement bathroom. When pulling off the old tiles in the basement I noticed that the concrete was damp under each of the large floor tiles. I didn’t live in the house long before starting this project but I don’t remember the bathroom ever smelling moldy. The previous home owner remodeled the basement about 5 years earlier. The rest of the basement slab is exposed and there are no signs of water anywhere else. Also I don’t see any signs of mold. Is this something I should be concerned about? Are there ways to tile a basement floor and allow it to “breathe” better? Any advice would be much appropriated.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: Basement Bathroom Remodel Help - Water Under Old Tiles?

If you have water below the floor without a barrier, it can wick up and add to the moisture in the basement, but water can stay under tile for a long time too.

You can do a wicking test. Tape down squares of sheet poly and if after a day or two you have moisture under it you have wicking.
Do not use flat bottom gables with scissor trusses.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:06 AM   #3
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Re: Basement Bathroom Remodel Help - Water Under Old Tiles?

Hi tsb and welcome to the forum,
Just so you understand where I'm coming from, I HATE BASEMENTS. To clarify, finished basements.
I'm also a retired energy auditor and understand moisture and 99% (wild guess) of basements were never constructed to be finished into living space (at any reasonable cost). People and contractors can build dry basements, but the extra costs are difficult to add to any home and when done it is still built into a hole in the ground. I've helped clean out a basement when a broken water pipe turned it into a swimming pool, so it is more than outside water that can be an issue.

Joe gives a good explanation here.

Now, for your question. The moisture you see can be coming up through the concrete. The reason the rest of the basement floor looks dry is that moisture evaporated as it surfaces and never accumulates, that is until someone covered the floor with a moisture impervious material. I don't know the properties of your tiles but sounds like they are not allowing drying to the basement air.

Other possibilities could be a leaking pipe or toilet which will take some searching.

In the mean time tape a 3' x 3' sheet of plastic to the floor and give it a couple of days to see if any moisture accumulates. Basically, the plastic will allow the top of the concrete to become as wet as the bottom.

Is there a sump pit?

I volunteer my help and opinions, but you are responsible for what YOU choose to do with that information.
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