Why Is There a Strange Asphalt Smell in My House?

Lately, I have been smelling an unusual scent of asphalt in my home, which has led me to question what could be causing it.

Like many people, I want to ensure my living environment is safe and comfortable, so understanding the source of this odor has become a priority for me.

Why does it smell like asphalt in my house?

In an effort to get to the bottom of this mystery, I’ve conducted some research to identify common causes of strange smells in homes.

There are numerous reasons a house might develop an odd smell, such as mold, mildew, or even a natural gas leak.

I’m eager to share my findings to help others who might be experiencing a similar situation.

Common Sources of Asphalt Smells in Homes

There are several common sources of asphalt smells in homes that we should be aware of.

I’ll discuss some of these sources in the following sub-sections: New Construction, Roofing Materials, and Damaged or Leaking Gas Lines.

It’s important to identify the cause of these smells to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment.

New Construction

During new construction projects, the asphalt used for paving roads, driveways, and other surfaces can produce a strong and distinct smell.

When my family built our house, I noticed that this odor was particularly strong during the first few days after the asphalt was applied.

Eventually, the smell dissipated as the asphalt aged and weathered (source).

Roofing Materials

Another time I encountered an asphalt smell in my home was after we had a new asphalt shingle roof installed.

The sun heats the new shingles, causing them to off-gas hydrocarbon vapors that can enter the attic space and eventually make their way into the living areas of the house (source).

In my experience, ventilating the attic and airing out the house helped reduce the odor over time.

Damaged or Leaking Gas Lines

A strong asphalt smell in your home could indicate a problem with your gas lines.

While I haven’t personally experienced this issue, it’s essential to consider this possibility, as a gas leak could pose serious health and safety risks.

If you suspect a gas leak, it’s crucial to take immediate action by calling a professional to inspect and repair the issue.

Health Risks Associated with Asphalt Smell

When I first noticed the strange asphalt smell in my house, it made me wonder about the health risks that might be associated with such an odor.

I did some research and found that exposure to asphalt fumes might have various health effects, both short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Effects

The most immediate and noticeable effects of asphalt fumes seem to be irritation and discomfort.

Personally, I experienced headaches, as well as throat and eye irritation.

These symptoms are often the result of the various chemicals present in the fumes, which can be irritating to our mucous membranes and respiratory system.

I found this information on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.

Long-Term Effects

What concerned me more were the potential long-term health effects of being exposed to asphalt fumes.

Some of the long-term effects mentioned on International Enviroguard’s blog include bronchitis, emphysema, and even some forms of cancer.

Persistent exposure to asphalt fumes could potentially lead to serious injury and permanent damage.

The unpleasant asphalt smell in my house turned out to be more than just a nuisance.

It’s important to address the source of these fumes and take proper safety precautions to limit exposure to both short-term and long-term health risks.

If you’re experiencing a similar situation, I’d recommend consulting with professionals to determine the cause and take appropriate actions to mitigate the risks.

How to Investigate the Smell

As I’ve been trying to figure out why my house smells like asphalt, I’ve found it necessary to investigate the smell further.

I’d like to share my own process with you to help you identify and eliminate such odors in your home.

Identify Possible Sources

One of the first steps I took was to identify possible sources of the smell.

I checked common household items that could hold odors, such as carpets and furniture, as well as mold or mildew issues in damp areas.

I also considered the possibility of sewer gas or natural gas leaks, which can produce similar odors according to Affresh.

During my investigation, I inspected the attic, walls, and under the deck for any signs of animal presence, as dead animals can also cause strange smells.

It’s important to be thorough and examine every area of your home for possible sources of the asphalt smell.

Contact Professionals

If the source of the smell remains a mystery, it’s time to bring in the experts.

I reached out to professional odor investigators and removal specialists for help.

These experts can more accurately pinpoint the cause of the smell and provide solutions to remove it.

I contacted my local gas company and asked them to inspect my home for any gas leaks, as this could be a serious safety hazard that requires immediate attention.

Monitor the Situation

After identifying the source of the smell and taking the necessary steps to eliminate it, I made sure to monitor the situation closely.

I put together a regular schedule to inspect the previously affected areas and keep track of any changes that may occur.

This is essential in ensuring that the odors don’t return and my home remains a safe and pleasant environment.

Ways to Eliminate or Reduce the Smell

After experiencing a strange asphalt smell in my house, I researched various ways to reduce or eliminate the odor.

Below are some solutions that I found to be effective.

Ventilation Options

When dealing with unpleasant asphalt odors, I found that proper ventilation is essential.

Opening windows and doors can help dissipate the smell more quickly.

I also considered installing roof turbine vents to exhaust fumes from the attic, as well as incorporating soffit ventilation strips to increase airflow.

Air Purifiers

Investing in a quality air purifier was another way to address the asphalt smell issue in my home.

By getting a purifier with a HEPA filter, I ensured the effective removal of particles responsible for the odor.

Activated carbon filters are great for adsorbing and neutralizing the chemical fumes associated with asphalt.

Home Maintenance Practices

Regular home maintenance practices also played a key role in reducing the asphalt smell.

I took care of any water leaks that might have been responsible for lingering moisture, which could contribute to a musty smell reminiscent of asphalt.

Keeping my home clean and dry helped minimize the odor.

Another essential aspect of home maintenance was checking for any sources of the asphalt smell such as newly installed roofing materials, asphalt driveway construction, or any nearby roadwork or construction.

Addressing these issues or waiting for the odor to dissipate over time helped improve the air quality in my house.

With proper ventilation options, investing in an air purifier, and maintaining my home, I was able to significantly reduce or eliminate the strange asphalt smell.

Implementing these strategies can help others address similar concerns for a more pleasant living environment.

When to Seek Professional Help

Why does it smell like asphalt?

As a homeowner, it’s essential to identify when a strange asphalt smell in my house is simply an isolated incident, or when it’s time to seek professional help.

Let’s explore a few situations that may warrant calling in an expert:

Persistent Smells

If I notice that the asphalt odor in my home doesn’t dissipate after a couple of days or taking preventive measures, it’s crucial to reach out for professional assistance.

Persistent smells could indicate an issue with roofing materials, like new roof installations, or an underlying problem that needs addressing.

Experts recommend calling in a professional for long-lasting foul odors that may signify serious issues.

In these cases, hiring an expert is more effective and safer than just masking the smell with air fresheners or temporary solutions.


If I ever come across a strong asphalt smell accompanied by other signs of danger, such as smoke or a burning smell, it’s essential to treat it as an emergency.

An “oily” burning smell, for example, might signify a malfunctioning furnace that needs immediate attention from a licensed professional.

In situations where the strange odor might be a symptom of a more significant and potentially hazardous problem, it’s crucial for my safety and the well-being of my home to take swift action and seek expert help.

Final Thoughts

As I researched the possible reasons for the strange asphalt smell in my house, I found that the strong odor of asphalt is primarily caused by the presence of volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides (source).

While it’s unusual to have this smell inside a residential space, it could potentially come from nearby construction work or even road repairs.

In my investigation, I also came across several other common sources of odd smells in a house, such as mold, mildew, and dust, which can contribute to household odors and may even present health risks (source).

I learned that it’s essential to identify the source of any strange smell to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone living in the house.

It’s crucial for homeowners like me to address unpleasant odors in our homes as they could indicate a more significant issue.

Taking necessary precautions and working with professionals when needed can help maintain a comfortable and healthy living environment.

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