How should I deal with a damp musty basement?

My husband and I bought our house a year ago. Right after we moved in, our cat sprayed an area of the basement, which is carpeted, in protest. We had a professional come out to clean it, which took care of the smell and staining. About 7 months later, the basement started to smell again, and the carpet was damp. We thought it was the cat spraying again, so we had the carpet recleaned. Again it worked temporarily, but recently the basement started to smell really musty, and we found that the enter area of the basement carpeting was damp. We bought a dehumidifier and ran it for a week, which seemed to dry up the carpet and pull out the musty smell. However, we decided to do a home mold test, and the test came out positive for some sort of mold. We don't know where the water is coming from, so I'm hoping we won't have to rip the carpet up. I'm not against it but of course I would prefer it if we didn't have to. But if there is any other precautions we can take to clean up and prevent this from happening, I'd love to try them. Any advice or suggestions?


I should mention, the home mold test we did was a home self-test kit, not a professional test.

4 Answers

  • Bart
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    keep it well ventilated and run the dehumidifier if needed. most materials that basements are made of, are pores I have used lastimeric paint to seal my concrete walls and it works. you would have to remove the carpet and pad to apply it to the floor. I wish you luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have to say if it were me, having had this problem twice, I would make sure I don't have this to worry about any longer. I would remove the carpet, cement floor - it can't be that difficult. I would apply 2 coats of a high grade sealer recommended for basements; apply the first and place your dehumidifier on the stairs or where you can and let it go for 24hrs. I would repeat the same with the second coat. While this is going on, you and your husband can take a look at the back of that carpet - you may just want to get rid of it.

    I would then leave the dehumidifier in that basement, run it on Max for 24 straight hours, then with it running adjust the control knob until it just cuts off - and let it work for you.

    You mentioned the mold test, was it conducted on your house or was it one of those "home kits?" I say this because I have seen false positive readings on them; if you think you have a problem call in someone competent to evaluate it - your health could be at risk.

    In closing, like you, I wanted max results, minimal involvement and the problem disappearing -- mine didn't and I seriously doubt yours will until you take it head on. Good luck with your home, next year it will be a forgotten issue.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Assuming it's in one localized area? Or is this around the entire perimeter of the basement? Does this happen when it is raining or has rained prior to you noticing it? Did the previous homeowners disclose any sort of prior water/ seepage problems and/ or repairs? Alot of questions- no answers, I know. If it is localized in one area - probably a foundation crack. Run hose on outside for 15-20 minutes in general area, wait for water, take wall down. If it's entire perimeter of basement - probably drainage problem around foundation and under floor- need drain tile system. Check basement windows (and drains if they're in there) make sure they take the water(run hose in them) and don't fill like a bath tub. Mold is mold any way you look at it. Not all mold is 'killer' mold so would recommend getting to the source of the seepage and the resolution- don't waste your money on DIY 'band aid' methods. And then start with the mold remediation(alcohol based - not bleach).

  • 1 decade ago

    your getting ground water most likely which means a crack in your basement or have you had your air conditioner checked if the drain line is plugged you will have water.

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