Moisture levels in basement with infrared and moisture detector

Hello all,

My home inspector used a moisture detector on a tile basement floor of a house built in the 1920s. The house is structurally sound with very few problems.

The inspector found moisture in some very specific/small areas of the basement tile floor. Tiles nearby gave either very low or no moisture levels. The infrared camera reading was inconclusive in this area. There was a water leak in the home in 2011 that was repaired and all walls in the basement tested dry. There is a small crack/heave in the tiles in this area, but the owners insist that this crack has been here for a long time. There is currently a hole in the roof flashing that is allowing low moisture levels in an upstairs room.

My question is: How likely is it that the moisture detector was sensing some sort of reflection off of the tiles given that the infrared camera could not detect moisture? In that the moisture levels were found in such a small area, how likely is it that this could cause major problems in the future? Last, is it possible that a roof leak is causing problems in the basement floor only (and not the walls)?

Thanks so much for any advice on this topic!

To start with a moisture meter is designed and calibrated to detect moisture with respect to wood. Other materials require calculations based upon their substance. This information is not readily available to your home inspector. A very low moisture reading in one material could actually be a very high reading based upon its material.

There are several types of moisture meters and some can measure moisture in tile and some cannot.

Second; an infrared thermal imaging camera is “not” a moisture meter.
If anything is going to see “some sort of reflection” it’s going to be the infrared thermal imaging camera.

The thermal imaging camera can only detect conditions associated with moisture if an appropriate procedure was conducted during the test and the user has the ability to analyze the test results properly.

What does the inspector know about either one of these test procedures?

May I ask, why did you have your home inspected?

Camerion, Emissivity, energy signature and reflection are variables in thermography and dependent upon the materials surface. A mirrored surface will reflect body and other variable temperature and have the thermographer adjusting his/her settings.

“The house is structurally sound with very few problems.”
I am sorry but I see no founded evidence.

If you step back for a moment sir you are being bias.

As the previous home inspector noted, there are to many variables to draw a conclusion of moisture in the bathroom tiles. There are materials that need very little moisture to degrade, 17% and organic growth can grow on most surfaces including oral pathways.
I would recommend next time you hire a home inspector insure they have good equipment. Have them email you a list of there instrumentation and research the tools.
Myself, I have a moisture meter recognized as an inspection industry standard. 4 figures to purchase the unit and accessories but very accurate.
All the best sir.