No matter how you use your basement, it’s important to keep it dry. No one wants a wet basement, and water in the basement can damage your belongings, impact your family’s health, and even compromise the structure of your house. Unfortunately, many people assume that their basement will stay dry without any help, and that’s inaccurate. In fact, over 60 percent of all homes in the United States with basements have moisture problems. Even new homes are susceptible, and 90 percent of all new homes with basements will develop water issues within 10 to 15 years of being built. There are many reasons basements can get damp, and certain steps you need to take to keep your basement dry.
- How does water get into the basement, anyway? You might think that a wet basement is the result of a leaky pipe or major storm, but that’s not the case.
- Much of the water that plagues basements come from condensation. This problem occurs when the cool foundation walls are hit with moist, warm air. Condensation is a problem because it can lead to structural problems in your home.
- Runoff is another common cause of basement moisture. Melted snow and rainwater that’s not properly directed away from the foundation, can build up around the home. Hydrostatic water will then force it water through cracks and gaps in your basement walls and footings.
- Groundwater can sometimes seep into your basement. When the water table exceeds its high point, the result is groundwater swelling. When the soil around your house is unable to hold this extra water, there will be a consistent runoff problem.
- Aside from standing water, how do you know your basement has a moisture problem? Wet spots on the basement floors and walls could be the result of condensation or a leak. To determine which one it is, tape plastic wrap onto a damp spot and seal the edges with tape. After a few days, check it and see which side of the plastic is wet. If it’s the wall side, you have a leak, but if it’s on the outside, it’s a condensation issue. If your problem is runoff, you’ll notice cracks in the walls or floors or the growth of mold and algae. Groundwater swelling can leave your basement wet for long periods of time, and water may bubble up from the joints between the wall and the floor. Sometimes if your basement is damp, you’ll notice a crystalline substance forming on the walls, and that’s a sign that moisture is seeping through. Other times, you might just notice a damp or musty smell when you go down to the basement. Whichever signs you notice, it’s important not to ignore them.
- What can you do to keep your basement from having problems with water? There are a few different strategies for keeping a basement dry. If you’re already having problems with moisture, it can be helpful to determine the source of the problem before you begin seeking a remedy. There are a few steps that are applicable to most basements, though.
- Start with the landscaping. The ground around your home needs to slope away from the foundation at an incline of at least one inch vertically for every twelve inches horizontally. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that gutters and downspouts are carrying water away from your home, not allowing it to pool around the foundation.
- Try a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers come in many sizes and configurations, from standalone models to whole-house units. They can help pull moisture from your air, but to really make a difference and improve your air quality as well, you should consider a home ventilation system. This kind of system will pull moisture and pollutants out of your basement while pumping in the clean, fresh air. In this way, you’ll not only mitigate the moisture problem but also make the air in your home more breathable.
- A concrete sealer may prevent water from coming through the walls and floor. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, you can use a sealer to coat the walls and floors, even if they’re damp, for a quick waterproofing measure. Sealers should not, however, be applied if there’s standing water.
- Consider a sump pump. A sump pump has three components that work together to eliminate water from your basement before it causes a problem. A sump pit, placed at the lowest section of your home, naturally collects excess water. That pit also houses the pump. A “float” or “switching device” monitors the level of water inside the pit, and when that level increases, the switch is triggered, activating the sump pump. The pump then draws water out of the pit and discharges it away from your home through a drainage pipe. Once the water recedes, the pump turns off automatically. It’s best to have a sump pump professionally installed.
- Call in the professionals. This is really the best way to effectively keep moisture out of your basement, so we advise skipping the do-it-yourself measures and calling someone who knows what to do. A professional basement waterproofing company can determine the source of your problem, repair cracks in the foundation, and offer solutions for keeping your basement dry. Waterproofing methods range from installing a drainage system or sump pump to encapsulating the space to keep out water and pests. Basement professionals can also identify mold in your basement, and provide remediation services.
Whether your basement is already suffering from water issues or you’re trying to prevent them from happening, it’s important to know who to call for help. At Budget Waterproofing, we’ve got more than 55 years of experience servicing both commercial and residential customers throughout Maryland. We’re proud of our craftsmanship and confident in our skills, and all of our technicians are fully licensed and insured. Whether you need basement waterproofing, sump pump installation, a drainage system, crawl space waterproofing, or egress window installation, we’ve got you covered, with the experience and skills necessary to improve your basement and protect your family. For more information, contact us today.