Persistant odor in basement

rlhughesSeptember 18, 2003

We built a house and the warranty runs out in December. There has been an odd, persistant odor in the basement which is about half below grade. The smell has variously smelled like concrete (there is a stone fireplace and block behind the sheet rock, or maybe carpet or something else. It's noticeable, but not particularly offensive. After a few breaths, you don't notice it as much. There's no indication of water damage. We dehumidify and air out, but the odor persists. We live in the humid area in the North Carolina mountains. We're worried about something serious--like mold. Who inspects this kind of thing? Any ideas? Thanks. Bob

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Call the contractor and ask him.

And get some second opinions on what the smell is - bring in some non-smoking friends for a sniff test.

New concrete has a distinct odor, building materials "outgas" (release evaporatable stuff into the air), and even carpet and ceiling tiles smell different when new.

What provisions for drainage were made along the below-grade area, and what kind of waterproofing is on the outside of that wall.

Mold needs moisture to grow, and the few dangerous ones need SOAKING WET cellulose-based materials.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 8:10AM
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I would also get it checked out- but I think what you're getting is 'new house smell'... concrete DOES smell. and it can for a year or, oddly enough, does drywall. and spackle. and paint.

once you've eliminated the hazards- I've found that the easiest way to deal with it is a few cotton balls soaked with vanilla extract and/or clove oil...I jsut toss them into corners, but you can put them on little plates (or in the cap from a snapple bottle, which is largish and flat) and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2003 at 1:59PM
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