Dampness in basement- new construction

Not allowed to take pics? lol
Quite a bit has been touched upon already.

John, anyone know/see what got wet first? Parts of wall(s) or floor?

Neighboring homes can be bone dry if they don`t have crack(s),leaky rod holes,problem under floor etc. It has rained recently in Ohio right? Sure has here.

As Marcel points out, part-all of problem ‘could’ be no moisture barrier under floor…especially if floor was wet ‘first’.
If they skimped on concrete floor thickness, this could add to a sweaty floor. The ‘Amherst, US Army Corp’ link that has been posted on other thread found that some builders don`t always follow the plans, they cored 5 basement floors, 4 were poured significantly LESS…not good.

Weve also seen sweating/constant trickle/moisture-water due to a blockage in the TILE that empties into sump PIT. Is there tile that empties into sump pit here? If so, maybe have an expd plumber SNAKE that TILE back under the floor,not much to lose…cost about $125-175. Say again, seen quite a few HO`s have water accumulate under the floor then wick up through floor and/or up through any openings in floor due to blockage in tile that empties into PIT. Also have some who needed to create-drill HOLES in sides of PIT WALL,just below thickness of floor, to allow water that builds up under the floor a quicker means to get into PIT.

Assume nothing against bsmt walls yet, right?
See any leaky rod holes,cracks that have been doctored/patched on inside?
Someone hit water line?

Did it look like this??

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John - You have some great posts to help you above, particularly Marcel Cyr. He’s the man - great advice! Give him a couple of greens (I saw another post… Marcel, don’t let the turkeys get you down…)

One thing that has not been mentioned - what was under the house before it was built?? My neighbor across the street had his house built on what was a small pond, probably spring fed, a couple of feet deep. Our house was here two years before his and I thought they were not going to use that lot for a house. They did. He continually has moisture problems in the basement walls and floor (unfinished still, 8 years later) and the sump pump runs continually as well. He is on his second sump in 8 years. There is a green grass stripe in the swale between his and the neighbor’s house, even in winter. I wonder if he can ever finish the basement safely. Was there a spring there? Some neighbors with older lots may remember…

As to your builder, and calling the problem “concrete burning off,” well, exactly what is that? Your buyers might ask the builder for a written statement as to concrete burn off, the hows and whys, and other examples of this “normal” condition throughout the neighborhood. Maybe some professionally-referenced articles! If you can’t take a picture of the problem, the buyers likely will NEVER get such a statement. You might also suggest a soils engineer, and have him ask that they demonstrate plastic under the slab. If there is a rough in for a basement bath you may be able to see under the slab if there is a hole with a plastic cover over it.

Builders can be difficult to deal with, at best. But persistence pays off.
Good luck!!

Re Dampness in Basements,in can take up to two years for all the constuction materials to dry out,it is difficult to form an opinion on a PDI or after even a few months,if the problem does not start to diminish with in a year,then further evaluation is required,most new homes have a two year warranty against water leaks,Harry:)

Regardless of the type or how you build a concrete foundation, the most common problem facing homeowners and contractors is a concrete foundation crack. A concrete foundation crack is perfectly normal as 66% of all concrete foundations crack within the first year. The major reason for cracks is concrete shrinkage and a settling

A concrete foundation is under enormous pressure from the earth and hydrostatic headwater pressure. Your waterproofing material must protect any cracks in your concrete foundation. When it comes to protecting a concrete foundation you only have one chance to build a concrete foundation right the first time.

Typical Spray-on-coatings may take from 12-72 hours or longer to fully cure. However, a concrete foundation may take up to 60 days before it reaches maximum strength. When a coating is applied to a concrete foundation it may seal in moisture, which could result in the concrete foundation taking longer than necessary to cure. Most contractors are under extreme pressure to meet deadlines and its not uncommon for a coating and backfill to be completed before the 7-day concrete foundation curing time has passed. This can cause many problems in your concrete foundation most notably, cracks.

An improperly protected
and leaking concrete
When a coating is applied, it’s wet and prone to streaking and sagging. In some cases a concrete foundation is backfilled before the coating is cured. If this happens, the backfill material could become stuck to the soil and could cause your waterproofing material to settle with the backfill material, especially in the winter. In addition, once a coating has dried it might crack with the concrete foundation leaving a gap and free access for moisture. This would defeat the purpose of the coating on your concrete foundation in the first place. In the case of a coating that has an elastic content, think of a balloon. When you stretch it, it becomes weaker. One minor sharp pebble could pierce it once again leaving your concrete foundation defenseless. In both cases coatings may dissipate into the soil in just 5-15 years due to alkalines in both the concrete foundation and soils.
Protect your concrete foundation against cracks. What your concrete foundation does need is waterproofing protection that can bridge gaps, cracks voids and allow the settling of your concrete foundation without affecting its performance. It also needs to be “cured” and working the moment it has been applied.

In inspecting the foundation, a home inspector will inspect the foundation and other visible structural elements of the home, describe the type of foundation and materials used, and report any defects noted. Common defects are cracks in foundation walls, bulging, leaning, or displaced walls, water intrusion through the foundation walls and deterioration of the materials used. In cases of obvious or suspected foundation failure or settling, the inspector will recommend the services of an engineer or qualified foundation contractor. Because the foundation is so important to the home, be sure to ask the client if they are unsure of anything in the inspection report.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:


Where did you get the above from?


We have 2 comunities just north of here that are built on natural springs. No matter what the developers try to do the houses are wet. Sumps run 12 to 18 hours a day in some and the next door neighbor dry. If the house is built on a spring (sometimes excavation can open a route for the spring where it wasn’t visible before) you can play h_ll trying to defeat nature. Some try and route the spring into catch basins and then take that to nearest lake/stream/river etc. Works sometimes.

Good Morning Brian;

Just bits and pieces from here and there compiled to match some of my earlier experiences. Now we have digital cameras, then was just memories. :smiley:

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Thanks for all of your thoughts- It wasn’t my intention to troubleshoot the possible contributors, but rather just to assure myself that this wasn’t a rare but acceptable phenomena that I just have not come across over the last 25 years. Here’s the relevant portion of my narrative to the client:

On June 11, 2008, I performed an inspection of the above captioned property. The inspection was limited to the concrete foundation walls, concrete floor, and exterior site. The purpose of the inspection was to substantiate the concerns of the client regarding moisture in the basement.


The client provided the following information regarding the construction of the subject property:

-Walls poured early April 2008.
-House built and “in the dry”, basement floor placed first week of May.
-Finish grade June 1.
-Persistent dampness and even liquid water has been present since floor was poured.
-Neighboring homes present basements that are substantially dry in comparison.


The foundation walls are poured concrete with typical brick embossing on interior and exterior above grade. Form ties have been removed. Floor is concrete, steel trowel finish. A sump pump exists and appears to be serving exterior footer drains. No interior drains are apparent.

All walls and the perimeter floor are considerably damp. Many areas are wet with liquid water. Efflorescence is forming and is an indication that the dampness is continuous or cyclical.

The exterior is graded and is awaiting topsoil and seeding. Many voids along the exterior foundation backfill reveal what appears to be spray applied damp proofing. It should be noted that damp proofing is not the same as waterproofing according to ICC / IRC.

The interior humidity within the basement measured 68% @ 67 Degrees.


The conditions that may lead to excess interior moisture are many, but are likely to be:
-Latent moisture evaporating slowly from poured concrete.
-Condensation formed as moisture-rich air encounters the cool foundation walls.
-Ground water is entering through the foundation walls due to inadequate damp proofing or water proofing.

  • Ground water is entering through the floor or at the floor / wall intersection do to inadequate sub-slab water control or omitted vapor barrier.


To facilitate further diagnostics, it is necessary to achieve relative dryness. I recommend forcing the area to dry though mechanical means. Dehumidification may be achieved by operating dehumidifiers along with the central air conditioning. Air between the basement and the living space should be mechanically communicated. Alternatively, vast amounts of outside air may be introduced to induce convective evaporation. I strongly discourage the use of super-heating as a method to dry this space. This method causes wood framing to twist and check. Further, the moisture-rich air created by super-heating often appears in other areas such as attic spaces, where it condenses.

Once the basement is dry for an appreciable period of time, I recommend concerted monitoring of new dampness, weather conditions, and interior and exterior humidity and temperature levels. If moisture reappears under normal conditioned home operation, further evaluation and corrective measures are likely necessary.


While I am unable to determine the precise cause of this issue, I am comfortable in stating that is unusual and unacceptable. While some sources claim it may take up to two years for concrete to give up it’s moisture entirely, I believe the majority of water that is not retained through hydration, is given up within 28 days. If in fact the source is the concrete itself, then I believe the dwelling may not be suitable for occupancy until such emission has run it’s course.

Some consideration must be given to the possibility of ground water entrance. I have professional doubts about the effectiveness of sprayed damp proofing at a site that appears to be at the foot of a natural slope. If ground water is present at or above the footer, then water proofing membrane may have been a better choice. Further, sub-slab water control methods may have been appropriate.

John Cundiff, CMI

Was the sump pump running and cycling frequently during your inspection?

What was the level of water in the sump pit at the time of inspection?

Sump pumps should be the last resort. A home should not need a sump pump if it is constructed and designed right.

Somewhat true. But if people decide to build in a rural flat area with no storm sewers to connect to or grade to run perimeter tiles for gravity drainage, what do you do? Sump pump with backup and battery back up. We use sewage lift pumps for basement bathroom fixtures at times.

As long as the pump does not quit, everything will be fine. :wink:

“Sump pumps should be the last resort. A home should not need a sump pump if it is constructed and designed right.”

Not at all- seems the majority of new sub-divisions around here are built without storm sewers low enough to accommodate footer drainage. Even the sanitary sewers are rarely low enough for basement bathrooms- thereby requiring a sewage pump.

Your point is?
You said new subdivisions. How did the old subdivisions do it without sump pumps? They probably did not build in those areas for a reason.
Most of the newer ways are not better, just cheaper for the builder.

"your point is… "

geezus christmas, you sound like a wife I know. I don’t think I was really making a point. I was simply stating a fact based in reality, and not banter. I can’t pin the widespread absence of 8’ or deeper storm sewers on an individual builder. If all municipalities provided an infrastructure that made it possible tie in every footer drain without the use of mechanics- I’m sure builders, owners, myself and you, would have no complaint.

“How did the old subdivisions do it without sump pumps?”

Sewers were deeper. It’s expensive and municipal sewer districts are just not diggin deep, literally and figuratively. Whats more, the population was much more tolerant of a little basement water.

Sounds like you answered your first post.


Went to a house with the same problem with high moisture in basement. The basement on this new construction was finished everywhere but under the stairs. My moisture meter pegged out when testing the tack strip for the carpeting. Under the stairs, the cement floor was saturated and about 10 inches up the wall. Gutters were fine, slope of soil was fine & sump pump had very little water in it. I would think the drain tile would be taking care of this if it came from the soil. Don’t know what could be causing this.

Second picture is a general picture of the basement.