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fix damp basement before finishing

Does Dampness Make It Impossible to Finish a Basement?

More homeowners than ever are looking into finishing their basements to utilize the space, but existing dampness problems can get in the way.

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More homeowners than ever are looking into finishing and converting basement spaces to maximize their living space and add value to their properties. For most homeowners, this is a relatively simple and straightforward process that can be completed quickly. It’s also less expensive than it used to be to complete such work thanks to innovations in construction processes and materials. 

There is one thing, however, that can cause real problems for people converting their basement space – dampness. Dampness can be both a symptom and a cause of many serious problems within a property, so it’s really no surprise that it can complicate basement renovation, too. 

Why You Need to Fix Your Damp Basement Before Finishing It 

Dampness is unpleasant, irritating, and worse still, damaging. While a little condensation on the inside of your windows or a slightly musty smell in your basement may seem like small issues, they really are indicative of a deeper problem. If you undertake work to finish your basement without dealing with the dampness, the problem is not likely to go away. In fact, it could simply grow until it damages the work you have done to finish your basement. This is because the main causes of dampness in a basement are: 

Internal Leaks 

Leaking pipes and appliances can go unnoticed for a surprisingly long time. These slow, steady sources of water can rot wooden floorboards and joists, and cause mold formation. This is not only damaging to your home, it could damage your health in the long run. 

Structural Damage 

Dampness seeping up from below is a strong sign that you have a damaged foundation. If you notice cracks in your basement floor and walls or a slight tilt in the room, it’s time to call a professional. These issues will only get worse with time. 

Damaged Window Wells 

Leaking or damaged window wells can let in huge amounts of water, especially during heavy rain, but in most cases, they leak small amounts of water. Look for discoloration on the wall beneath the sills and condensation on the inside of your windows. 

Leaking Water Heater 

A leaking water heater is fairly easy to spot and very dangerous. Depending on what is causing the leak, a pipe could burst. If this happens, anyone close to the pipe could be burned or scalded, and you will probably have to deal with standing water. 

These problems tend to feed into themselves and other co-occurring issues. That’s why we recommend that you speak to a professional and have them assess your basement before you begin finishing it. 

Get Professional Backup for the Best Results 

While it may seem like unnecessary stress, it is actually good practice to have a professional assess your basement before you undertake finishing or conversion work, even if you plan to do it yourself. Why? 

Because an expert will be able to make sure your basement is in the right condition; if you have existing problems that need to be addressed and you simply build over them, your investment and hard work will go to waste. 

In fact, there really is no reason to not have your basement assessed. JES Foundation Repair offers free consultation and inspection appointments with absolutely no obligation! All you need is some time in which you can give their inspector access to your basement. They will complete a full inspection and highlight any problems or warning signs they see before making their recommendation as to work that may need to be done before you can begin converting your basement into a living space. 

You will receive a written quote detailing their suggestions, the costs of implementing their suggestions, and the projected time scales for completion of the work on the day of the inspection, too. This will leave you with all the information you need to make an informed and empowered decision about what is best for your home.

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