Basement Moisture: How To Identify And Prevent It?
A wet basement is a nightmare for any house owner. But it is not an odd problem. Basements are more prone to water leaks and moisture presence in comparison to other areas of the home.
If basement moisture is left unnoticed for a long time, the situation will get worse. And the end result will be the destruction of the walls & foundation of your house.
In fact, something that appears like a crack or a tiny puddle on the surface can turn to be a bigger problem that could even damage the property altogether. Due to the same reason, a wet basement is often called a silent killer of the home.
Hence, basement waterproofing is very important, especially for houses that are below the ground level.
Basement waterproofing is nothing but different procedures used to prevent water from penetrating the basement of the building.
Some of the common basement waterproofing methods include the application of sealant materials, installation of sump pumps and drains, waterproof coatings, foundation crack injections, etc.
In this article, we are going to help you understand the formation of basement moisture and how to prevent it effectively.
What Causes Moisture in Basements?
When it comes to basement water damage, the major culprit is moisture. Most of the builders take the necessary precautions to prevent water from reaching to the basement during the time of construction.
However, with time, moisture will somehow find its way to the basement in many houses. In order to effectively prevent moisture in the basement, you should identify the cause behind it. Here we have listed out the major reasons behind moisture in the basement:
Major Reasons for Basement Moisture
1. Leakage in the Plumbing System
A crack in the plumbing system leads to constant dripping and moisture in the basement. In fact, an indoor water leak is one of the common reasons for basement moisture.
The leak could be anywhere in the indoor plumbing system. For example, a slight leak in the bathroom fixtures like the shower, sink or toilet or the broken pipe of the washing machine or dishwasher leads to a wet basement.
2. Natural Disasters
Heavy rains, earthquakes, flash floods are other common reasons for basement moisture. All types of basements are prone to flooding. Hence, basement waterproofing is very important if such natural disasters are common in your locality. Also, make sure to close the windows during heavy rains to prevent water from reaching the basement.
3. Poor Landscaping
Often, unprofessional and poor landscaping is the reason for basement moisture. Ideally, the arrangement should be made in such a way that the slope should be directed outwards (away from the home).
If the grading is wrongly done & water flows towards the house, it will start penetrating the basement eventually. Moreover, there should be sufficient arrangement in the landscape for rainwater, snow, hailstones, etc. to flow towards the street.
4. Misplaced Gutter
The major purpose of installing rain gutters is to redirect water away from your home. A leakage in the trough or wrong installation of the gutter is another way by which water reaches your basement.
Do not take it lightly if you see a crack or missing shingles in the gutters anytime. Also, the gutters need to be sufficiently extended outside the house so that the water flows seamlessly away from the home.
5. Blockage in the Gutter
Sometimes the rain gutter gets filled with debris, twigs, dried leaves, and other waste particles, obstructing the water flow. When water does not flow smoothly outside the property, it may find a way towards the foundation. So, make sure to get the gutter cleaning done at regular intervals to avoid clogs.
6. Garden Sprinklers/Hose
Many gardens have sprinklers that spray water to the landscape constantly. If these sprinklers are directed towards the home, it may lead to moisture in the basement.
Also, the over-watering of the plants will cause garden infiltration and water may find its way to the basement. Even leaving a garden hose opened near to the basement will lead to wetness in the basement. Therefore, make sure that the garden sprinklers are positioned away from the house and avoid over-watering of the plants.
7. High Humidity
Moist air often tends to mount up in the basement. If you have observed high humidity inside the basement, you should not take it lightly. When there is no way for air expulsion, it may get damp easily.
Many times house owners may not find any visible water leakage in the basement, but may still get a damp or swamp smell. This is a clear hint that the basement has a humidity problem.
8. Leakage in the Windows
If there are leaky windows in your home, water will easily penetrate the basement. Therefore, the first step to basement waterproofing is to fix leaky windows.
When the warm air in the basement comes in contact with the cold air outside, condensation occurs, leading to the formation of water droplets. If you have bathrooms or shower in the basement, the chance of condensation stands higher.
To prevent condensation, you need to ensure proper insulation of pipes, walls, floors, etc.
10. Drying Clothes in the Basement
Drying clothes in the basement is another source of moisture in the foundation. This is one of the reasons for increased humidity in the basement which further leads to a wet basement. Water dripping from the clothes may eventually lead to mold formation and mold growth in the basement.
8. Cracks in the Foundation
One of the definite ways for water to reach the basement is cracks in the wall. Cracks are not uncommon in homes, especially the older ones. Cracks can form in newly installed concretes as well.
The water reaches the basement through cracks in the ceiling as well as on the walls. With time, the cracks become bigger due to hydrostatic force and more water will reach the basement. That’s why you should consider foundation cracks repair seriously.
9. Lack of Air Circulation
Inadequate ventilation is yet another cause of moisture build-up in the basement. When there is no circulation of air, the damp air turns into the water due to condensation. So, make sure to keep the windows open whenever the weather is sunny. And install proper ventilation systems to release excess moisture.
How to Check for Moisture in Basement?
Many house owners lack knowledge of identifying the presence of moisture in the basement. Hence, they fail to take the remedial steps proactively. Identifying moisture presence is the first step to fix the cause of it.
Listed below are some of the sure shot-signs of basement moisture.
1. Water Stains:
Not to mention, the most obvious sign of basement moisture is water stains on the walls, ceilings or anywhere else in the basement. Water stains are easily identifiable at the joints where the walls and the floor meet.
2. Mold Growth:
Have you carried out mold remediation recently? Can you observe its presence again after a few days? It is a hint that the reason behind mold growth persists.
Moisture is the most common factor that leads to the growth and accumulation of these microorganisms. If you see visible mold growth inside the basement repeatedly, you should understand that it is the basement moisture.
3. Musty Smell:
Do you get a musty odor when you enter the basement? It is one of the signs you should not ignore. The smell could be due to mold growth, as you know, moisture promotes mold growth. So, make sure to identify the source of moisture and fix it ASAP to prevent mold growth.
4. Paint Peeling Off:
If the surface of the wall is damp, the paint won’t stick to it. If you find paint peeling off from the walls or ceiling, it is a warning sign of moisture presence.
5. Surface Irregularities:
Water leakage may stay hidden for a long time behind the walls or ceiling. In case the moisture is present, the surface of the wall may look cracked or stained. Discoloration of the walls, presence of water vapor, blister formation, etc. are also signs of moisture.
The basement concrete has limestone, aggregate stone, clay, and mortar. If you observe white or greyish ash on the basement walls, it is another sign of moisture presence. The stains are due to water evaporation.
When water evaporates, it leaves behind salt deposits leading to staining formation. This is an indication that water has found its way to the basement.
7. Rust Formation:
If you have metal appliances in the basement and found rust formation in it, it is another indication of moisture presence. When there is excess dampness and humidity in the basement, you may find rust presence on metal bars, water heaters, fuse boxes, etc.
Is Basement Waterproofing Necessary?
As goes the old saying, prevention is better than cure. If you can prevent water from reaching the basement, it saves your money, time and effort.
Therefore, basement waterproofing is the right decision. By using an effective waterproofing technique, you can negate the chance of water damage in the basement.
A minor moisture build-up in the basement may turn up to be a major problem. The earlier you act against the moisture problem, the cheaper it becomes. If you delay fixing the basement moisture problem, it will lead to further damage. And you may have to spend huge sums to resolve it.
Apart from the financial and structural issues, allowing moisture to build-up leads to various health issues to individuals. Basement moisture is one of the common reasons for mold formation.
The presence of molds in the air causes various allergic reactions to the inmates in the house and cause structural damage to the property. If you have found mold presence, it is important to carry out mold remediation to prevent its occurrence.
How to Keep the Basement Dry?
Turning a blind eye on basement moisture is a deadly mistake. You should never take advice from people having less knowledge about basement waterproofing or moisture identification.
If you have seen signs of moisture or are doubtful about its presence, the best step is to get it inspected by a professional company that has a good reputation and experience in basement damage assessment and recovery.
To prevent a wet basement, the best solution is to do basement waterproofing by a professional company. It helps to keep the basement free of moisture, molds and other microorganisms.
There are different types of basement waterproofing techniques. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all homes. The basement waterproofing method is determined by the type, severity of water damage and source of basement moisture.
Hiring professionals will help you find the right solution that is affordable and effective for your home. Basement waterproofing cost should not be a cause of worry, provided that you are hiring a reliable company.
We’re Here to Help!
Got a wet basement? Stressed about what to do? We are here to help!
At Dry Effect, we have our expert workmen who carry with them years of experience and in-depth knowledge about basement waterproofing. They can easily identify the source of basement moisture and take the necessary precautions to prevent it.
We provide guaranteed basement waterproofing services at affordable rates for house owners in and around Cincinnati. It is a matter of pride that we are one among the sought-after contractors when it comes to basement waterproofing, mold removal, flood damage restoration, etc.
We help you assess the basement and find the best possible solution for basement waterproofing. Get in touch with us now to speak in detail on basement waterproofing!