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Basement Water Problems

Basement Waterproofing

Basement Water Problems

Basement water problems are pervasive. Whether you live in a generally humid area, a generally arid area, or somewhere in between, chances are that you’ve had basement water problems of some kind at some point. A wet basement is a huge problem, and there are many other issues that can arise because of these basement water problems. Understanding more about these signs of basement water problems can be beneficial in helping you avoid them in the future.

Understanding Basement Water Problem Signs in Virginia, Maryland, and DC

The first step to avoiding basement water problems is to find the source. Scroll through the images and descriptions below to see if you can find out more about what’s causing your basement water problems and how you can fix it.

Delving Further into These Problems

Although just looking at these pictures can be one piece of the puzzle, you may need to learn a bit more before you can really understand what’s happening. Here’s a bit more explanation, which you can also find on the individual page for each problem sign. 

  • Condensation  

Condensation occurs when the air is over 100% humidity. That extra humidity has to have somewhere to go, and so it condenses into water droplets on a surface, typically a cold one because cool air can’t hold as much water as warm air can. 

Because basement condensation typically occurs in cooler areas, it’s very common for cold water pipes to have condensation on and around them. This condensation can then drip off the pipe and rest on the open basement floor. The best way to avoid this is to insulate your cold water pipes and reduce the percentage of humidity in your basement. 

  • Efflorescence  

This fuzzy white buildup on the outside of walls is something many people accidentally confuse for mold. Obviously, the belief that you have mold in your basement can be upsetting and can cause many worries, but this isn’t mold. It’s actually salt, and it builds up on the outside of concrete because water pulls the salt out to the surface of the bricks. 

However, just because it’s not mold doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Efflorescence can be a huge problem in many homes, and it’s important to handle the efflorescence as quickly and efficiently as possible. This problem means you have water leaking through the walls, and you need to fix that source problem to avoid future concerns. 

  • Wet Walls  

Water on your walls is typically pretty easy to see even if you don’t have condensation or mold. That’s because water on concrete usually discolors the area around it. If you have wet walls, it’s common to see the wetness across the walls as a damp spot that might not look that worrying when you first encounter it. 

The problem is that a wet wall means the wetness has to be coming from somewhere. If you know where it came from, like you had a flood you’re cleaning up, that might be enough to fix it. However, if you have no idea where this water is coming from, it’s likely that you have water leaking through your walls and you need to fix it.  

  • Wet Floors 

As with wet walls, it’s typically very common for wet floors to be easily identified. Whether you have an unfinished or finished basement, the floors will usually be concrete just like any of the walls. That means you can usually see the wetness on the floor, which can tip you off to the fact that you have a water problem. 

However, a wet floor isn’t always as easy to identify as it may seem. It’s good to keep an eye out for other signs and symptoms of a wet floor, like a musty-smelling basement, mold and mildew growth, or leakage in other areas of your home. 

  • Wet Carpet  

Although concrete walls and floors typically showcase water very easily, it can be much more difficult to identify wet carpet if you’re rarely in the area. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to inspect rarely used areas of your home on a regular basis, because wet carpet can be a difficult problem to discover unless you take the time to inspect the areas. 

One of the telltale signs of wet carpet is a musty smell. That’s because wet carpet is a great place for mold and mildew to grow, making it a problem you should take care of immediately. Remember that whenever something starts to smell different in your basement, it’s almost always due to a serious problem. 

  • Wet Drywall  

The problem with wet drywall is that, unlike wet walls and wet floors, it’s often more difficult to spot because it’s less likely to leave a visible trace. Any visible trace it does leave typically happens after it’s dried, and if it’s already dried, that means you’ve probably finished dealing with the problem. 

However, because drywall is an organic substance, which is one thing mold requires for growth, it’s extremely likely you’ll find mold in any areas where drywall becomes wet and stays wet for any period of time. Always check your drywall for any signs of mold, especially in the basement. 

  • Sump Pump Issues  

It’s most common to know you’re having sump pump issues almost immediately. For the most part, a sump pump should only be working if you’re having active flooding problems in your basement. That means if the sump pump stops working, you’ll be able to know because water will start overflowing again. 

If you have a sump pump for “just in case” occasions, however, you might not know the sump pump is having a problem until that problem occurs. Either way, as soon as you realize the sump pump isn’t working, it’s extremely important that you get someone to check it out. Water overflow can be a huge problem, as you can see from these other concerns. 

  • Leaking Basement Windows  

Basement windows tend to be set at ground level, with some windows even setting exactly on the ground level. Although this lets light into your basement and can be very nice if you plan to have someone living there, it can be a hassle when it comes to basement water. 

It’s very common for basement windows to have leaking problems. If you have a flood or another excess of water, that water can pool at the windows. If you don’t have enough sealant around the windows, that can lead to leaking, which can cause many of the problems listed here. 

  • Leaking Water Heater 

Many people have their water heater in the basement, which can be great except for the fact that basement heaters can sometimes end up with leaks. These leaks may be so minor as to be barely noticeable or so obvious that they flood your basement. 

Knowing what to do in case of a leaking water heater is crucial. If the water is pooling to flood the basement, it may be a good idea to shut off the water to your home if you know how to do so. Otherwise, contact a basement waterproofing expert as soon as possible. 

  • Water in Basement Cove  

Standing water is a much more pressing issue than just generally wet areas. If you have something that’s generally moist, you’re definitely going to have problems, but for the most part, those problems won’t be as extreme as if you have standing water. 

If you’re currently having water in your basement cove, it’s important that you fix it as soon as possible. Just a sump pump won’t help, either; you need to fix the source of the problem so it doesn’t recur. Contacting a basement waterproofing expert will be the best course of action. 

  • Poor Drainage  

Drainage is an important part of making sure your basement stays healthy and free of water. You need to make sure your home’s drainage is functioning properly, or else water might start to pool around your home, which can lead to a large variety of these problems. 

Most commonly, the problem stems from not being able to direct rainwater away from your home properly. This is something that a basement waterproofing expert can help you with because an expert wants to look at your whole home, not just your current problem. 

  • Musty Basement Smell  

The musty basement smell is something many people struggle with. If you have water issues with your basement, you’ve probably smelled this strange smell at some point walking into the basement. You may have even wondered what’s causing it. 

There’s no need to wonder; this smell is typically just the smell of mold. That means you’re dealing with mold in some part of the basement, although the part of the basement may vary. If you have a musty basement smell, a basement waterproofing expert can pinpoint the source.

Is a Wet Basement a Serious Concern?

A wet basement is a concern you should definitely take seriously. These are a few of the problems you might run into if you have a wet basement.  

  • Increased Health Problems 

When your basement is wet, you’re almost certainly going to run into increased health problems. Mold spores, water vapor and dirt can move from your basement into the rest of your home, mixing with the air you breathe. 

  • High Electric Bills  

Moist air is much more difficult to condition than dry air. If your air is moist, chances are your air conditioner is going to have a harder time processing it and it will have to work harder. That typically leads to much higher electric bills.  

  • Concrete Spalling and Chipping Concrete Walls 

When water is coming through concrete, it’s going to try and make its entry points much larger. That can easily lead to concrete spalling and chipping concrete walls, which is a huge concern. If you remove the entry points for water, you’ll avoid the concrete wall chipping.

Can I Fix the Basement Myself?

Although it’s common in this DIY era to search for a way to fix the problem on your own, this is a bad idea. Fixing your wet basement just isn’t a DIY fix; it’s something you have to do with a lot of careful understanding and expertise.
Think about it: Would you rather invest money on cheap fixes over and over again, eventually turning those cheap fixes into very expensive fixes, or would you rather just invest the money in a fix right now? Cheap fixes waste money and time in the long run.
Additionally, cracks and water leakage in your basement may not be isolated. They may be indicative of a worse problem. If you just apply epoxy over wall cracks or install a sump pump, you’re not getting to the base of the problem. Instead, fix your basement with an expert’s help and you’ll know the problem is truly solved.

Giving the Experts a Chance to Help

If you think you have a basement waterproofing problem, it’s imperative that you request a free basement inspection from JES. This inspection allows a JES waterproofing expert to identify the source of the problem and come up with a unique fix tailored to your home. 

All the basement waterproofing experts at JES have thorough training and knowledge to understand and fix the basement waterproofing concerns you’re experiencing. These experts receive extensive training from the JES team of Professional Engineers, participate in manufacturer workshops, continue their education in basement waterproofing solutions, and stay up to date on the latest technologies, installation techniques, and accepted best practices. 

Without this expert help, chances are that you may not be able to fix the problem. You can put a bandage over it, but you might not be able to fix it properly. JES believes in educating you and helping you find the right solution, not selling you products you don’t need and can’t use, and that shows in everything the company does.


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