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Basement floors and walls; how damp is too damp?


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Humble Newbie here. Can anyone suggest a practical approach for evaluating moisture levels in concrete basement floors and walls?

I've found that in a lot of older homes my moisture meter (Tramex ME+) reads high everywhere on the floor, and usually the lower few feet of the wall. In fact I'm finding it so often I'm reconsidering my comments ... maybe it's not a problem unless it's right off the scale.

Homes built in the last 10 years or so have 6 mil poly under the slabs, so they are nice and dry, and "drainage planes" keep the walls dry too.

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Hi there newbie. I did not see anything on that particular meter being intended for use on concrete. The closest use I saw was for brick & plaster. I would focus more on the visible signs of moisture intrusion and use your senses to detect potential mold, musty areas and moisture stains prior to using a meter on other materials. Dehumidifiers, Damp-rid and (or) plug-in air fresheners placed in an area are red flags for me. You can measure the RH in the areas you suspect have a problem. On your last sentence, don't bet on that. Again, just report on what you can see.

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  • 4 months later...

Humble Newbie here. Can anyone suggest a practical approach for evaluating moisture levels in concrete basement floors and walls?

I've found that in a lot of older homes my moisture meter (Tramex ME+) reads high everywhere on the floor, and usually the lower few feet of the wall. In fact I'm finding it so often I'm reconsidering my comments ... maybe it's not a problem unless it's right off the scale.

Homes built in the last 10 years or so have 6 mil poly under the slabs, so they are nice and dry, and "drainage planes" keep the walls dry too.

You have not mentioned clearly that how much moisture is there in your basement. Is your house is old or new?

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You're probably picking up the rebar that's in the floor slab and which extends up into the wall from the footings.

Basement walls in finished basements almost always have a higher ambient moisture than walls elsewhere in a house. I don't even bother using a moisture meter on concrete - my eyes and hands should tell me what I need to know where concrete is concerned.

If you're going to be in this gig, in order to survive, maintain your credibility and keep yourself out of the kind of trouble that attracts lawyers like stink on shit, you must learn to develop your inspector vision and inspector senses; and only use gizmos as a way to verify what you can see, smell and touch.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I would only add one thing to Mike O's comments. You need to know methods and materials. Not all methods, but most. Remember you must explain anything and everything to your client.

Agree 100%, Old Friend.

My office looks like the back room of a library/bookstore - reading material piled everywhere - the unused shower in the nearby bath is the same. If I stop moving for a second I'm reading something about this gig or construction subjects while trying to keep current.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I used to screen prospective inspectors with a "list" of materials I put together for this geographical area. I maintained it pretty well for several years then around 2002 found I couldn't keep up with all the new stuff!

Now I just read read read read and during my spare time, I read.

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