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Old 04-02-2010, 03:50 PM  
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Default Basement Dampness

I have an older home with wooden support columns on top of concrete pilings. After all the rain we have had in the Northeast recently, I noticed that the bottoms of some of the columns were damp and this is not the first occurrance. The (3) columns appeared to be wicking water through the concrete piling. Is the cement too old and porous? Should I be worried about this?

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Old 04-02-2010, 04:51 PM  
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Definitely not an ideal situation but, I wouldn't worry too much until the posts begin to show signs of rot. In hindsight, painting them was probably not the best decision as it tends to lock in the moisture rather than let them breath.

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Old 04-02-2010, 07:04 PM  
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I recently had this problem a few years ago; I switched to iron caste pilings. However, you should try and use a de-humidifier and some damp rid in your basement first. Make sure the moisture isn't due to humidity or coming in from another area.
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:31 PM  
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Blue Eye:

Wood can handle the occasional wetting much better than most other building materials.

The wood inside that concrete won't rot because you need more than moisture for wood to rot. You also need oxygen. There may be some oxygen inside the concrete and the wood cells, but once that's used up, the very slow rate at which oxygen could diffuse through the concrete and wood to get to the site where the wood is rotting would effectively stop the rate of wood rot.

It's that additional need for oxygen that's the reason why 200 year old logs can be brought up from river bottoms and still be in near perfect condition. There's lotsa moisture on a river bottom, but not enough oxygen to support the rotting of those old logs.
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:07 AM  
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You could poke the column with an ice pick in several places to check its soundness.
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Old 06-05-2010, 12:16 PM  
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Thank you all for your responses, very much appreciated.

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