humidity 90% in basement
We moved into a 1940s cape cod in Western PA last year. Right away, we noticed a musty smell in the house and also on our clothing. The basement is huge and a stairway with no door leads to our first floor. The basement has undergone two remodels in its history--in the 1970s and 1990s. Neither of them were done properly to consider a high moisture environment. The sellers disclosed damp walls where visible and they sealed these walls in laundry room and the closets. We have forced air/heat vents down there and invested in a Carrier Infinity HVAC with air cleaner this past Nov. We run a dehumidifier. When it fills and stops, the humidity rises to 90% down there. We have had this confirmed by a digital barometer reading separate from the dehumidifier. We took up the Berber carpet (75 sq yds) and removed it. No mold was found and there was no evidence of water damage to the carpet or padding. Musty smell got better but did not go away. The bathroom was extremely poor construction and with regular use has developed black mold all behind the drywall adjacent to the shower--scary. The floor in here is tile; no water damage visible. We have had a monster summer in terms of storms and rain. No visible water has come into the basement. We have had many people here looking at our basement to diagnose the musty smell; all of them have different solutions. Some want to do exterior stuff, some interior. There is evidence of water intrusion where the floor meets the walls, but this is a 3-4 on a scale of 10 as one waterproofer said. One guy even suggested a internal drain with sump pump, but this seems like overkill given we have no obvious water in our basement. Should we take down all walling and flooring and start over with better moisture proofing methods? Try a Humidex first before removing stuff? The bathroom obviously needs to be demolished and start over because of the visible mold, but what about the pine paneling? We do not know who to trust here, because of the different opinions. Gutters work fine. Grading could be improved. A large deck covers the back corner of our house, so that we cannot see.