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How to Keep Your Wet Basement Dry

Find out what instigates moisture and ways you can keep the basement of your home moist-free in summer.

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Most basements in Roanoke, VA, are quite humid in summer even though water doesn’t normally seep through. Aside from contributing to mold growth, high humidity makes the air feel clammy and uncomfortable. It also sets the stage for various problems. 

Before you start waterproofing your basement, it’s important to know what makes it humid in the first place. Here are four common scenarios that may contribute to basement humidity in summer. 

keep your basement dry
  • Oversaturated soils that send water right through porous concrete walls 
  • Dryer or another appliance venting inside the basement 
  • Water that seeps through and stagnates under the foundation 
  • Humid air from the outside that gets into the basement 

How Do I Know if My Basement Has Moisture Issues? 

Water in the basement will announce itself. Some signs are obvious while others require a trained eye. Look out for signs such as musty smells, condensation on basement walls, and mold spots. If you’re not sure of whether you have excess moisture, get a hygrometer and measure the humidity levels.  

Moisture can linger in the atmosphere for days before you notice there’s a problem. If the reading is higher than 60%, you’ve got a problem. Take appropriate steps to bring it down in consultation with your local basement waterproofing contractor. 

Ways to Keep the Basement Dry in Summer 

Once you figure out the problems, start addressing the issues right away. We recommend that you do the following: 

1) Grade Your Home 

If your yard or the area around your home doesn’t slope outward, you’ll have problems. Rainwater will flow back to the perimeter of your home, seep through foundation cracks, and end up in the basement. Proper grading ensures water flows away. 

2) Fix Gutters and Downspouts 

While your neighborhood may not receive much rain during summer, there are days or weeks when precipitation and rain can fall hard. The sun heats up the landmass, causing warm air to rise up, and as it does, pulls up moisture from water bodies. As this warm, moisture-laden air rises, it gets colder and starts forming droplets that get heavy and eventually fall as rain. If the gutters on your house are loose or damaged, water will run off the sides of your gutters and accumulate in your home’s perimeter. Some of it will end up in your basement. Just as with grading around your home, you’ll also want to make sure your downspouts are angled down and away from your home’s foundation, and they can even be placed in the ground

3) Waterproof Your Basement 

If your area experiences heavy rains during the summer or any other time of year, you’re going to want to keep that rainwater out of your home. Along with exterior solutions like gutters and downspouts, it’s best to have reliable solutions at play inside your basement. If any water seeps inside, you need to be able to intercept it and remove it before it damages anything in your basement. That’s where an interior drainage system and a sump pump system comes in. A sub-floor drainage system like BasementGutter™  collects leaking water and directs it to a sump pump so it can be pumped out of your basement and away from your foundation. 

4) Dehumidify the Basement 

We all know summer months can be unforgiving to your unfinished basement. Humidity can go over the roof and foster many problems including mold growth, wood rot, and warping. A dehumidifier will come in handy during this time, helping you dry out the air and keeping the basement dry. We advise you to get a self-draining unit so you won’t have to empty buckets of water daily. Ask your local contractor to help you with sizing. In short, get a dehumidifier that can remove moisture adequately. 

5) Insulate your Basement 

As summer heats up, you’ll want to cover the unfinished basement walls with an impermeable water vapor membrane to keep warmer outside air from getting to your basement. A good option is closed-cell polyurethane foam, a non-water-sensitive insulation that keeps interior air from coming into contact with cold basement surfaces. Your contractor can spray it directly or adhere it to the concrete wall. 

Avoid water-based paints as they won’t stop water vapor. Oil paints don’t fare better. With time, they will eventually form a film and peel off. Don’t forget to insulate water pipes too, especially cold-water ones, to curb “sweating” in summer. 

6) Keep the Windows Shut 

You may not have given this much thought, but the moment you open your basement windows or door, you’re letting in more moisture. This will raise the humidity levels and cause problems. And it’s a step backward in your efforts to keep the basement dry, so shut your windows. 

Keeping the basement dry can seem like a full-time job in summer, especially if you don’t know where to start or what to do. Let the experts at JES Foundation Repair help you tame the moisture. From sealing cracks to installing dehumidifiers to fixing leaks, we can help you keep the basement dry, clean, and fresh. 

Contact us for a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote and get lasting recommendations to deal with perennial moisture issues! 

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