Seeing water in your basement is never good news and when this happens, you should take steps to locate and fix the problem as soon as possible. After all, moisture in your basement can cause a wide variety of issues, from rotting support beams, floor joists, and anything else made of wood to the growth of harmful mold, mildew, and bacteria. Not only can these problems lead to the compromised structural stability of your home, but they can also affect the air your family breathes. Contaminated air is not a joke, as it can cause serious respiratory problems.
So how did the moisture get inside your basement when it is surrounded by concrete walls? Believe it or not, concrete is porous. Most homeowners don’t realize that the pores constitute up to 18% of the concrete. Since they are microscopic, they are invisible to us.
Why Is Concrete Porous?
When your basement was built and the concrete was poured, about half of the water from it had to evaporate. While this excess water was finding its way to the surface, it left behind a trail of capillary pores in the concrete. Since the pores are larger than a water molecule, water vapor can enter right through them. Because the pressure inside the basement is much lower than outside the walls, the water is drawn in. While the liquid water cannot enter right away since it is held back by the surface tension inside the dry microscopic pores, once the pores get wet, the water breaks through. What is even worse, the wet pores start to pull in water from the soil and any water sitting behind foundation walls will fill invisible pores in the concrete.
Cement paste that keeps the concrete together contains calcium. Since calcium dissolves in water, the pores will slowly get larger and larger in the presence of water. Eventually, you can end up with a musty and humid basement, and the series of tiny veins in the concrete will allow water to seep inside.
How Can I Solve This Problem?
Even if your basement still looks and feels completely dry, it is important to invest in a good waterproofing system. This way you will prevent moisture from causing any damage to your home or affecting your loved ones’ health. Here are some of the ways you can waterproof your basement:
Interior Drainage System
If you want to keep your basement free of water, an interior drainage system like BasementGutter™ is a great option. This system runs along the perimeter of your basement and traps water before it can damage the interior. Since it is installed below the floor, it won’t affect the look and feel of your basement. The BasementGutter™ works best when combined with a sump pump. This way, the drains will carry the water to a sump pump system from where the water will be directed away from your home.
BasementGutter™ is recommended due to several reasons. First, it features a clog-free design, so you don’t have to worry that it will get clogged with debris over time. Although these clogs can seem unimportant, they can cause the water to back up and create a mess that is pricey and time-consuming to clean up. Because the interior drain system can trap water before it enters the basement, you can turn this area into a comfortable living space. Without having to worry that your basement will become a moist and moldy den, you can transform it into a guest bedroom, a gym, or even a fan cave. Since BasementGutter™ comes with a longtime warranty, you can relax knowing that your basement will remain protected for decades. Whether you are currently building your new home or you wish to waterproof a house you’ve been living in for years, an interior drainage system can be easily installed.
In case large volumes of water manage to get into your basement, you could quickly get rid of them with a sump pump system. Since you can also invest in a battery backup sump pump, your home can be protected even in case of a blackout. SafeDri™ Sump Pump Systems come in several sizes and configurations, so they are suitable for homes with any type of foundation. Sump Pumps will take the water from your interior drainage system and direct it away from your home, so you don’t have to worry about potential damages.
If your porous concrete walls are quite problematic in letting water and moisture through, you can cover them with a thick and durable vapor barrier. Vapor barriers are generally used for crawl space encapsulation, but they also can be used to cover basement walls with excessive leaking. The WallSeal™ system attaches to the wall and allows for further waterproofing of your basement. If any water leaks inside the walls, it will automatically run behind the waterproof vapor barrier and down into the BasementGutter™ system.
If you wish to regulate the moisture levels in your basement, a simple store-bought dehumidifier won’t do the trick. Instead, contact your local contractor and ask them to install a professional dehumidifier. A JES basement dehumidifier can remove four times more water vapor than a regular dehumidifier while using the same amount of energy. A high-quality dehumidifier can not only get rid of moisture but can also eliminate allergy triggers and improve air quality. With this appliance, your humid basement can be transformed into a living space for you and your loved ones. Since the dehumidifier will send the collected water into the sump pit, you won’t have to worry about emptying its container each day.
By waterproofing your basement and removing the humidity, you can save money on heating and cooling bills. If you’d like to waterproof your basement in Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; or any other area we serve, get in touch with JES Foundation Repair for a free assessment and quote. We’ll consider your needs and recommend the best waterproofing solution for your home.