Re: Moisture in basement walls
depending on what the foundation walls are made of may some bearing on the amount of moisture.
Originally Posted by caryn
Depending on what if any damp proofing exists along the exterior side of the foundation will also determine how much moisture from the ground will be allowed to penetrate the foundation.
For example ... with concrete blocks they can be somewhat pourous because of their composistion , the hollow sections and the mortar joints.If there is no damp proofing or water proofing coating on the exterior the moisture will eventually penetrate and saturate the concrete block. There may not be enough to show signs of trickles or puddles of water but they will remain damp. That dampness will migrate inward .
With a solid concrete poured foundation the moisture will not as easily penetrate the solid 8 inches or so of concrete .... however with any minor crack the moisture will penetrate in that area.
Based on what you mentioned about the french drain installed along one side seems to indicate there was an issue with moisture previously .... it may likely indicate other areas of the foundation are also showing signs of further issues.
Case in point .... the mention of the carpet becoming wet around the area of a downspout outside. This indicates there is some avenue for moisture to get inside the basement.
Having the baseboard heat may have some positive effect of controlling some of that moisture and keeping any mold that can be seen at bay.
As for a vapor barrier .... that's a tough call. Trying to do any sort of damp proofing from the inside is really only a band-aide at best. For some folks they have used the paint on damp proof bought at a hardware store .... which may work for a slight dampness issue but you won't find a professional contractor willing to warrant this method.
There is a membrane system that can be used as a moisture barrier on the inside : http://www.systemplaton.com/moisture_control.html
The best method would be to perform excavation around the outside .... repair any cracks and fill holes .... apply a proper water proof coating along with a membrane to the exterior foundation walls..... repair / replace or install a perimeter drain.
This is costly and very intrusive to the outside plantings around the house.
Your correct whichever method you go with will be some costs and entail some mess.
You might also consider rumming a dehumidifier or provide some sort of mechanical ventilation removing the moisture from the basement.
Just some thoughts.
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