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Dangers of a damp basement

What You Need to Know About Damp Basements

Damp basements can cause myriad problems. Allergic reactions, radiation poisoning, and even broken bones may come as a result of poor basement maintenance.

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Like it or not, your damp basement in Baltimore is going to cause you problems sooner than you think. The worst thing you can do is to buy time or attempt a DIY. Fixing only “what the eyes can see” means underlying issues will persist. 

Your loved ones will have to contend with walking across cold floors, inhaling allergens and settling huge bills at the end of the month. Eventually, you will have to call a local basement contractor to fix your badly damaged basement and help control the moisture issues. 

Common Basement Problems

While no homeowner wants to imagine their basements can get damp, the following problems may arise. Deal with them sooner and you won’t have to worry about the effects of moisture in your home.

Leaking or flooding

Water in the basement, whether from leakage or flooding, is a major problem in many Baltimore homes. In fact, both set the stage for other basement problems. 

Mold growth

High moisture levels trigger mold. Left unchecked, mold spores can float into the living space in your home and cause respiratory tract infections, asthma, and allergies.

Strange odors

Moist basements also have a tendency of releasing unwelcome smells into your home. Odors can range from pungent to musty. Smells could also come from rotting wood, mold spores, droppings, and dead pests. No amount of freshener can mask such awful smells.

Crawling insects and pests

When your basement gets damp, it may attract termites and mice. You’ll find them chewing at damp wooden beams and joists as well as other belongings that you have stashed in your basement.

Radon poisoning

Water in the basement can cause foundation walls to crack, letting in radon, a toxic gas that’s known to cause cancer. Some people only worry about the big cracks, forgetting that even the smallest of cracks is potent. You may not detect this odorless gas, but eventually, there is a price to pay for not dealing with moisture issues.

Cracks in the basement floor

Some cracks may appear small and harmless while others may look big and unsightly. No matter the size, cracks are cracks and they will still let in water into your home. Often, cracks occur because of soil movements or the house settling.

Floor damage

When the water reaches your wooden floors, you can be sure it will cause them to warp, chip or crack.  A section of the floor can give way when a person walks on it due to the rotting that goes unnoticed under the carpet.

Wall and wall paint deterioration

Many house walls here in Baltimore are made of wood. When they get exposed to high moisture content, they tend to warp and chip and their paint starts falling off.

Structural damage

Moisture not only poses health risks, but it weakens the foundation walls and causes the underlying structure to rot. This threatens the structural integrity of the home. In the worst-case scenario, your home may cave in under its own weight.

Do you notice any of the above problems? Don’t sweep them under the rug. Talk to your local basement contractor and find solutions that will help you fix them.

What Environments are Prone to Basement Dampness?

Before you attempt to fix moisture issues, you must understand their root causes. Homes and buildings with one or more of the following are prone to dampness.

a) Homes with poor grading — When the foundation isn’t level or the ground slopes towards the house, water will be channeled to the basement. Loose soil next to the foundation wall is going cause a backfill before it settles. The problem comes when the water collects near the basement walls. 

b) Homes in flood-prone areas — Flooding is another major cause of basement humidity. Water may collect around the foundation wall, then seep through cracks right into your basement.

c) Homes with ineffective drain tile and sump pit — Some homes have no subsurface drainage channels, a problem that’s persisted from the time the basements were not used as habitable spaces. Drain titles can also fail because of clogging, pipe collapse or a broken sump pump connection.

d) Homes with structural cracks — Homes with concrete foundations tend to develop cracks. If the joists are not attached to the foundation wall properly, they’re likely to move triggering cracks. The same applies to homes with settling soil.


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