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Do Basements Work in Humid Areas with Wet Soil?

Although not the smartest of ideas, there are solutions to make your basement work in a humid area. Here’s what you need to know.

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Most homeowners love basements. The fact that lower levels can increase your storage space or even transform into a comfortable guest room can easily convince a homeowner to make use of the space. Basements also work as shelter during heavy storms, you’ve got yourself a winning combination. But it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Basements in humid areas don’t work quite well. At least, that’s what most homeowners think. The fact that it’s a lower level and that soil in these areas is full of water can be worrying if you don’t have the budget to construct or maintain it properly. Places like Virginia Beach, Virginia, where the climate is humid and the water table is high, doesn’t typically suit basement construction.

But what if we tell you that a lower-grade level can work in such areas? With the use of several techniques and construction solutions, you can build a perfect basement or repair an old one. In this post, we’ll describe the dangers and remedies for water-related problems, and hopefully help you have a functional and safe basement yourself.

basement in humid area

Benefits of Having a Basement

Going back to older times, the main idea behind basements was to have additional storage space. Due to them being underground, they were ideal for storing all sorts of goods such as food, wine, and even water. The reason they’re so popular is that they don’t use extra space on your property. They go into the ground rather than expand on the surface.

These days, most homeowners use their basements for extra living space. They redecorate them into guest, hobby, or party rooms where they can hang out with friends. Also, in areas where storms are common, you can safely go into a basement until the danger is over. Of course, just like any other thing in the world, these lower-grade levels have cons too.

The Negatives

Due to basements being underground, they’ll likely experience water-related problems. The biggest issue is hydrostatic pressure. When it rains, the water needs to go somewhere, and that’s the ground on your property. If the climate has high humidity and rain is almost constant, the soil will become saturated. This means the ground won’t be able to drain itself properly.

When this happens, the water will apply pressure on the soil and push it onto other surfaces that are in contact with it. In this case, these surfaces are your basement walls. Unfortunately, the force will become so strong that even the hardest of concrete walls won’t be able to fend it off. The water will cause cracks in the walls, pass through, and finally end up flooding your basement.

How To Get Around These Problems

The first solution when constructing a lower-grade level in a humid area is to go for a walkout basement. This option is pretty popular in hilly landscapes as well, as it combines half the structure underground and the other in open space. In other words, their structure is partially below grade, and you can easily go in and out to your yard. But this isn’t the only option you can go for.

To have a proper and functional basement in these wet conditions, you’ll need to find a property with good drainage, proper grading, quality soil, and add waterproofing.

Drainage

In case you’re building a new home, you should invest in drainage materials. With their help, you’ll relieve hydrostatic pressure on your basement walls and avoid serious structural damage in the future. These materials redirect the water from the saturated soil toward the foundation drain.

Alongside a functional drainage system, you’ll be able to collect the excess water before it can manage to build up and endanger your basement. You won’t have trouble with rainwater pooling and settling into the ground below, which can only lead to high hydrostatic pressure and basement nightmares.

Soil Grading

Grading refers to the incline of the soil that is surrounding your home. Your home needs to be on a higher level than the rest of the yard. If it isn’t, the water will flood toward your basement. You can achieve proper grading by reassembling the soil in your yard with professional help. It will be dirty work, but it will also help you lower the amount of water that comes in contact with your basement walls.

Quality Soil

It’s not uncommon for engineers to replace the soil on the construction site. The whole idea is to improve the quality of the location for foundation purposes. Hence, if the soil on your property has poor characteristics in terms of load-bearing and overall strength, you should consider replacing it with some other type. Depending on your needs, you can use various types of backfill soil.

Waterproofing

No matter how well you construct your basement, you’re going to have trouble with mold at some point. This is also true for homes that aren’t in humid climates. However, if you choose to properly waterproof your lower-grade level, you’ll be able to fend the mold off and prevent any further damage that can endanger your home’s safety.

Professional Help

If you already have a basement in Virginia Beach or Manassas, and the humid climate is giving you nightmares, you can contact professional help. Our team at JES Foundation Repair will be happy to come around and offer you a free inspection. After assessing the situation, they’ll come up with waterproofing solutions that will resolve all your troubles.

JES Service Area Map

Service Areas

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

2410 Southland Dr
Chester, VA 23831

HAMPTON ROADS & NE NC

2569 Quality Ct
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

BALTIMORE

1250 Reames Rd
Middle River, MD 21220

NORTHERN VA & DC

8122 Bethlehem Rd
Manassas, VA 20109

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA/ROANOKE

2033 Cook Dr.
Salem, VA 24153

WESTERN VIRGINIA

456 Old Courthouse Rd
Appomattox, VA 24522