Suspect you have water or dampness problems in your basement? Know the signs and how to fix it.
Dampness and excess water in basements and crawl spaces can cause a variety of other threats to your home and health. If your foundation fails, then everything else can come down with it. Learn the red flags to watch for, what causes them and the best solutions for your budget and situation.
What’s Causing Your Basement Water Problems
Clogged Footing Drain
When your home is built a footing drain should have been installed right outside of your basement foundation. It is designed to keep water away from your foundation and help preserve your home. Unfortunately, the loose backfill soil used after excavation can end up clogging up your drain pipe. Then there is no way for the water to get out.
Water around the foundation of your home builds up pressure. Water seeps into porous concrete and cracks in the mortar. The changing weather continues to compound the effects, causing larger and longer cracks in your basement walls and slab. If this isn’t stopped in time, your foundation will fail.
Cracks in basement walls can occur through uneven settling of your home. It could be that the builder rushed, or there are changes in the soil. All types of cracks will continue to get worse over time. Vertical and horizontal cracks through blocks are almost always a sign of intense pressure that will implode your basement walls. Everything above can come down when that happens.
Poor Drainage & Grading
Water getting in around your basement walls or beating down on your foundation and eroding it are common causes as well. Your home should be graded to guide water away from it. Gutters that are kept clean and functional are important for preventing this and are one of your best defenses.
Cheap Building Practices
Builders should be excavating enough and be putting the right type of soil under your home before laying the concrete foundation. Some take short cuts and do not do enough. That leads to uneven settling and cracks that let water in.
Storms & Severe Weather
Melting snow, rain storms and Virginia’s notorious Nor’easters can bring a lot more water. If not properly guided away from your home, that means more water pressure building up against your basement walls.
Common Signs Of Water Problems In Your Basement
- Condensation on basement walls
- White powdery substance on your basement walls
- Wet walls
- Wet floors
- Damp carpet in the basement
- Wet drywall
- Sump pump problems
- Leaking basement windows
- Leaking water heaters
- Water in your basement cove
- Poor drainage
- Musty smells
Solving Your Foundation & Water Problems
A basement dehumidifier can help prevent the damp and mold which threatens your home. A moist, humid basement will attract pests and rodents, lead to rotting infrastructure, health problems and more serious cracks.
If your basement sump pump has been acting up, struggling or just running too much, it is probably time to replace it, and perhaps upgrade it.
Egress Windows & Window Wells
Basement windows can not only help bring in more light, but if installed well can add a lot more value to your basement space. An egress window helps waterproof your basement and can act as an emergency exit in case of flooding or entrance in a storm. A window well can be added to augment this feature even more. This may also help your basement legally qualify as a living space. This can be turned into an extra bedroom or rental apartment.
Basement Gutters & French Drains
This more affordable interior drain system is used to trap water and move it away before it can do damage.
Grated drain pipes in the floor can prevent flooding coming into the basement, while also blocking any debris from clogging up your drains and pipes.
Crawl spaces can also be encapsulated with vapor barriers, providing essential waterproofing for your home.
There are a variety of signs that you may have water problems in your home. These can be the result of several underlying causes. Many can prove to be catastrophic to your home’s structure. Others can make your home unhealthy with mildew, mold and encourage pest infestations. Know what to watch for, and get a free estimate from a professional foundation repair company who can help waterproof your concrete foundations and save your property.