Not sure what to do

Details: We've recently moved into our first home, a split-level home in Upstate New York (Climate Zone 5 & 4 Marine). The lower level has 3 main rooms, a playroom, laundry room and man cave, all of these rooms have some level of finishing, but I'll just focus on the playroom.

Playroom: Dimensions: 22' x 16' Floor: Concrete, Glued Vinyl on top, (Use to have Carpet) Walls: 3 exterior walls partially below ground (concrete block is ~4'2", however only about 2.75-3' is below ground), above ground is finished with drywall and electrical. On top of the drywall and concrete was panel board (the concrete had furring strips to which the panel was attached). Windows: 3 Ceiling: Drop-ceiling Addl: This room also has a closet for Plumbing, Water Heater, etc…

Problem: This past Spring and Summer I’ve been told has been really rainy and pretty warm. We didn’t run a dehumidifier down in the basement (first time home owners :) ) and noticed white mold in 2 of the 3 rooms and efflorescence in 2 of the rooms.

In the playroom, there was white mold growing on the toys and kids furniture and it also smelled very musty. The paneling on one part of the wall also started warping. We pulled up the carpet and tore down the paneling and noticed efflorescence at the bottom (~3-6” up) of the all 3 exterior walls. We also noticed that two of the drywall panels on the interior walls (towards the bottom) had black mold on them.

Question: We had two basement companies come and evaluate and they said that it would probably be enough to clean the efflorescence and apply Drylock, to help with the moisture coming through the walls. Would this solution be enough? Do I also need to insulate? I would like to put drywall over the brick, just trying to figure out the best way to do that to prevent moisture, mold, insulation problems.


I’ve also included a photo of the playroom wall. enter image description here

  • 1
    Welcome to SE. Please not that we're a Q&A site, and not a discussion forum. Take the tour if that's news. My point is that you have several fuzzy questions in all that information. Please consider revising to narrow the scope of this question, and feel free to ask others in separate posts.
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


I live just north of Pittsburgh, Pa. and this is what I did to finish my basement. After my house was built I waited 2 years to finish the walls. I tapped plastic to random spots on the walls to see if moisture was coming through the concrete block. When I was sure it was safe to finish the walls I coated all below ground wall areas with a Drylock material. My walls were insulated with 1 inch T&G styrofoam against the block with the seams taped with 2 inch "suretape" brand tape used with duct work. The area was studded with 2X4's, fiberglass insulation, drywall and painted. No leakage of any type. This worked for me. Make sure that you add enough supply and return registers to this area and if you have A/C make sure that the supply registers have dampers that you can close in the summer. (cold air falls to the lowest levels) Basements are usually the coldest areas in the house to heat during the cold months. I also run a dehumidifier in the summer to control indoor humidity and run the furnace fan on a low speed 24/7. The basement has been dry and comfortable for 18 years and counting. Hope this helps.

  • Have you had any issues running the fan continuously? Have you ever had to replace it?
    – Rob
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 12:39
  • Thanks for the response, I don't have any ducts in the home. The home is heated with baseboard heating and window AC Units. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 14:37
  • Rob-- I lived in my previous home we built for 20 years and our present home for 19 years and counting. We ran the furnace fans 24/7 in both homes and have not had to replace any fan parts or motors. I check the fans bearings every 3-5 years and the bearings show no sign of wear.
    – d.george
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 10:34

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