Help! Carpet/Foundation/Flooring/Slab Problem

Our white-ish carpet is rather hideous. It spans the entire house, and it’s only perfectly clean in a few random places. When we moved in, we were made aware of a rather large stain, but since then, more and more large stains have seemingly formed out of thin air. Carpet cleaners have blamed it on the dog… as much as I’d love to blame all of life’s problems on the beagle, this one isn’t his fault. We’ve tossed around various ideas as to how these stains came about… maybe there is a crack in the concrete slab, maybe there was a big spill long ago that wasn’t fully cleaned up, maybe it’s a drainage issue coming from outside, or maybe it has something to do with a real thing called “sweating slab syndrome” involving warm, humid air diffusing throughout the house and condensing on any surface that is at or below dew point temperature, which is often the floor surface.

Well, whatever, the root cause, we needed to see for ourselves what was underneath the carpet. So today we grabbed some tools and pulled off the baseboards, then ripped up a corner of the carpet. What we found was the underside of the carpet was very brown and grimy, the padding was damp, and the slab was also stained. Lauren posed this problem on a message board and an architect responded with a lengthy reply basically saying this was “not good.”

The real kicker is, we specifically turned down the foundation/slab part of the home insurance when we bought the house. You can’t add that later on. My gut feeling is that there is no structural damage. But still. It sucks we didn’t get that.

We want to eventually get hardwood flooring in the house (both for us to enjoy, and for resale value), but everyone says there’s no sense putting hardwood floor over the top of a problematic area without getting to the root of the problem. I priced hardwood out today for the hell of it, and the guy at the showroom quoted me a number four times what I expected.

I think the first step is to get someone knowledgable in here and give us a real expert opinion. I assume that would be a foundation repair guy.

Here’s what we’re dealing with. If you have any knowledge on this subject, let me know!

The massive stain on the carpet possibly caused by moisture.
The massive stain on the carpet possibly caused by moisture.
What it looks like underneath with the carpet and padding pulled up.
What it looks like underneath with the carpet and padding pulled up.


  1. Ryan & Lauren,
    May I share this with a friend who owns a carpet cleaning company? They likely have seen & dealt with this before.

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