Maybe you’ve tried installing a home dehumidifier or sump pump which helps a little, but you still have to deal with your leaky basement walls. You don’t have to live with a wet basement. Save yourself time and money by requesting a free professional basement evaluation.
It can sometimes take a little while to realize your basement wall is leaking, but as soon as you do, you’ll probably realize what a big deal it is. Leaking basement walls don’t just stop because you’ve noticed them, and many people’s “solutions” are nothing more than a bandage that will eventually stop working, whether it takes a few days or a few years.
Do These Basement Walls Look Familiar?
It can be difficult to identify and repair issues related to dampness, cracks, and leaking basement walls. However, if you have an experienced expert, you’ll be able to do just that. Remember that finding the real problem is the first and most important step in this process.
Leaking Basement Walls
Learn more about what causes leaking in your basement walls
It’s almost impossible to avoid heavy rains. After a long week of thunderstorms or even after a single bad day of rain, you might expect to see signs of damage all throughout your yard. Of course, some of that excess rainwater might also seep into your basement—but is that really a big deal?
In short, yes. You should never see rainwater in your basement, even after a heavy day or week of rain. If rainwater makes its way into your home, then it is entirely possible that you may have a leak on your hands. Leaks are more than temporary inconveniences. If you leave a leak unattended, it can grow to the point where it compromises the structural integrity of your entire home.
Moisture’s Impact on Your Home
Consider this: Moisture, as it makes its way into your home, can cause the materials making up your basement and foundation to rapidly expand and contract. In doing so, that moisture can generate a significant amount of stress within your home. In an attempt to endure that stress, the structural supports making up your basement can split. In doing so, they can allow even more moisture into your home, amplifying the initial problem and leading to further problems elsewhere in your home.
Some of the most common problems related to leaks in your basement include:
- Mold growth
- Unpleasant and persistent smells
- Split floor joists
- Sagging floors
- Bowing walls
- Fogged windows
- Warped door frames and windowsills
That little bit of water you see after a storm shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, if you notice signs of a leak in your basement, you can reach out to the professional contractors working in your area. Together, you can inspect your home and determine whether or not you have any substantial damage on your hands. If you do, you can request a free quote citing the cost of potential repairs and better determine what you want your repair budget to look like.
There’s no one type of basement that’s immune to problems that might require basement waterproofing. Cinder block basements, slab basements, concrete basements, and all other types of basements can end up with basement water problems. You should be vigilant and watch for water-based concerns in your basement no matter what type of basement you have.
Your options, when you are looking to waterproof your basement, are many. Some of the most effective include internal drainage systems, like interior drains or sump pumps. These systems actively push water from your home with the help of gravity and electricity, respectively.
You also have the option of trying to seal your basement from the inside. Temporary waterproofing sealants create a physical and chemical barrier between your home and the outdoors. That barrier, in turn, can drive unwanted water away from your sensitive structural supports.
That said, temporary sealants are just that: temporary. These sealants tend to last for a year or two at most, sometimes failing sooner if you live in an area that sees a significant amount of yearly precipitation. You will have to consistently replace these sealants or pair them with other waterproofing measures if you want to keep the bulk of unwanted moisture out of your home.
The Downsides of Sealants
Note that there are some sealants that can do more harm to your home than good. Epoxy sealants, for example, are relatively thick sealants that you can apply to your walls and floors. These sealants are prized for their durability. However, their thickness can upset the aesthetic appeal of a finished basement. Their smell can make them unpleasant to apply in your home. While these types of sealants will do their job for a few years at a time, their downsides should not be ignored when other waterproofing options are available to you.
If you want to try and find a waterproofing measure that you can install inside of your basement, you can reach out and speak with a professional contractor in your area. Some alternatives to temporary sealants include waterproof insulation panels and vapor barriers.
It isn’t always easy to determine whether or not your basement walls are leaking. Before you get in touch with an area professional, you’ll want to take a look around your home and identify any signs of damage that leave you concerned about the state of your home.
Some of the most obvious signs that your basement walls might be leaking include:
- Dampness on the walls
- Water stains where there previously weren’t any
- Pools of water on the floor
- Higher levels of humidity throughout your entire home
- Fogging windows
- Higher electric bills
If you notice any of the above, you can work with a contractor to determine where in your basement a leak may have originated. Leaks often, for example, stem from cracks, but not all cracks are leaks. You can look over your wall for signs of stair-step cracks, horizontal cracks, diagonal cracks, or vertical cracks. Then, with the type of crack in question identified, you can determine whether it has had enough time to transform into a leak.
Contending with Leaks in Your Home
Once you’ve identified the source of unwanted moisture inside of your home, then it’s up to you to determine how you want to go about repairing a said leak. Wall leaks in particular require you to:
- Clean your walls. Leaks and cracks tend to allow unwanted debris into your home (they do not, however, invite mold spores indoors, as mold spores travel on air currents instead of in rainwater). Before you invest in any repairs, clean your walls of any dirt to make the repair site easier to work on.
- Eliminate the moisture currently in your home. Before you go about repairing your leak, do what you can to remove the water and moisture from the immediate area. To do this, you can use a dehumidifier to pull moisture from the air while employing mops, buckets, or other tools to contend with any standing water.
- Repair your insulation. You’ll also want to make a point to check on your insulation to determine whether or not it has suffered from water damage. Water damaged insulation can become a breeding ground for mold, so you’ll want to remove it and replace it soon after you discover and repair a leak.
Reach out to a professional
Do not try and fill a leak in your wall on your own. It can be tempting to take caulk or other materials to the cracks that you can see. However, professionals can use specialized tools to determine whether the problem is with the leak itself or with unseen damage that your walls have already endured. If you try and fix a problem without first understanding how it came to be in your home, you risk making the repair process more complicated for yourself in the long run.
Waterproofing your basement is an important part of making sure your home stays safe, but the cost of waterproofing can vary widely. That’s because it typically relies heavily on how large your basement is, the extent of any damage, and what types of repair solutions will be used. The best way to determine a cost for waterproofing your basement is to schedule an inspection from a JES basement waterproofing expert.
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or looking to reinforce your current space, you can waterproof your basement. There are stipulations, however, that can change the way you want to go about undertaking this challenge. For starters, you should not attempt to waterproof your basement if you are actively contending with basement or foundation damage. Instead, if you have a leak, sinkage, or slippage that you are aware of, you should make a point of trying to attend to those issues before investing in home waterproofing. If you install home waterproofing measures before fixing a leak in your home, you risk severely shortening the lifespan of those measures you invest in.
Note that it is not in your best interest to try and DIY a basement waterproofing measure or even crack repairs. If you try to do so, you risk making the problem within your basement much worse. When you work with a professional, you can save money and browse a much broader catalog of waterproofing measures than you might find on your own.
Waterproofing Your Home
With that in mind, how do you go about waterproofing your basement? You have a plethora of waterproofing measures available to you, including:
- Interior drains
- Sump pumps
- Vapor barriers
Note that the age of your home may play a role in what waterproofing measures may be available to you, as older homes often lack some of the features that make it easier to install modern waterproofing solutions. If you’re not sure what kind of waterproofing measures may best help you protect your home in the future, you can again reach out to professional contractors for guidance.
Even if you don’t have waterproofing measures in place in your basement, you should not have to contend with water coming from your basement walls. If you do notice water coming from your basement walls, then it is more than likely that you have a structural problem on your hands. Water most often enters your basement courtesy of cracks in your walls, joints, or flooring. As it moves into your home, that water makes it easier for additional moisture to move indoors and make your life even more complicated. As such, if you notice water coming out of your walls, whether it’s temporary dampness or significant flooding, you’ll want to do what you can to respond to the problem as quickly as you can. If you let the problem grow worse over time, then you may find yourself contending not only with the presence of that water in your home but also with the structural damage, expenses, and health risks that said water brings with it.
Water can pose significant risks to your home, with its presence causing the following problems in your basement:
- Wet walls and floors
- Condensation on windows and doors
- Structural problems
- Musty odors
- Mold and mildew growth
As you can see, your core problems are most likely to be structural should you allow moisture to live in your basement walls. Note that you may find yourself contending with rotting insulation, insect and critter infestations, and more should you leave unwanted moisture to gather at its leisure. If you notice water coming from your basement walls, then it is in your best interest to reach out to one of the professionals in your area for guidance and a free quote on any repairs you might need to restore your home’s value.
Too many homeowners put off fixing their leaky basement walls. It’s extremely important that you fix this problem as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you could end up with any of these problems.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are both very common problems that occur whenever there’s high moisture in the area. Most of the time, the relative humidity needs to be at least 55-65% for mold to start growing in earnest, but if you have water droplets on your basement walls, the humidity in those specific areas is very high, which means it will probably start growing on those areas of the wall.
Although most mold and mildew aren’t toxic to humans, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore it. Mold and mildew can both be bad for your respiratory tract when you breathe in the spores, meaning they can exacerbate allergies. Plus, they make great food for many pests, so you’re basically inviting pests into your home with mold and mildew.
Much of the time, leaking basement walls happen because your home’s structure is failing. Typically, it’s because of bowing basement walls that are starting to cave in because of the hydrostatic pressure on the outside. It’s important that you fix the problem at the root as early as possible so you can address these structural concerns.
In extreme cases, basement bowing may end with the basement wall literally crumbling in on itself. Of course, this is unlikely and would typically happen only after many years of ignoring serious problems in the basement. However, do you really want to take that chance? Fixing the problem early makes it less likely that you’ll have a complete structural failure.
High Indoor Humidity
When you have a leaky basement, the water resting on the walls will typically start to cause high levels of humidity in the basement. As with any other amount of resting water, this tends to significantly increase the possibility for the room to become extremely humid. The problem is, in most homes, this high level of humidity won’t just stop in the basement.
As the basement becomes more and more humid, it’ll start to move up into the home. This might happen if you go into the basement regularly, if you don’t have a very secure basement door, or even if you just leave it alone for long enough. For the most part, there’s really no way you’ll be able to avoid basement humidity becoming general home humidity.
High Energy Bills
When you have high levels of indoor humidity, you’re also going to start having high energy bills. Think about how you feel when you’re in humid weather — you probably feel hotter when it’s hot, and you feel colder when it’s cold. Your body will tend to react much more strongly to the temperature when there’s a lot of moisture in the air.
It’s most common to respond to that in a home by turning the thermostat up or down, depending on what the outside temperature is. Plus, your air conditioner may take more time and energy to condition the air. That means you’re going to end up with much higher energy bills than a home that doesn’t have humidity concerns. With the money you can save, it almost makes more financial sense to invest in basement waterproofing than to avoid waterproofing your basement with a professional.
There are many reasons your basement walls may be leaking. However, these are the most common reasons someone will discover their basement walls are leaking.
Water in the Soil Surrounding Your Foundation
If you live in an area where the water table is above the very bottom of your basement, you’re going to deal with hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is scientifically defined as “the weight of water when it is at rest,” which means the amount of force water exerts just sitting in a space. Even though it’s not rushing like a stream, the water in the soil around your foundation has a lot of weight, and that means it has a lot of power.
The water in the soil surrounding your foundation can be very heavy. That water then presses in on your basement walls, which can lead to serious basement bowing and basement cracks. Because water wants to fill up any space it’s in, it will invariably start to move through those cracks, causing a leaking basement wall.
Did your area recently get a lot of water? Have you been seeing flood warnings on the news? If there’s a lot of water outside, it’s natural to assume there would be a lot of water trying to get into your basement. When there’s a lot of water running through the area around you, you’re going to deal with excess hydrostatic pressure both above and below ground.
Below-ground hydrostatic pressure can be very damaging to your basement walls. Your basement is used to a certain amount of pressure, and suddenly increasing that amount of pressure can be extremely detrimental to the basement walls. Additionally, if you have above-ground windows, the extra hydrostatic pressure can push on the windows and the window lining.
Poured Concrete Walls with Cracks
Poured concrete walls tend to be more prone to issues than other types of walls. The hydrostatic pressure on the outside of your poured concrete basement walls is very extreme for any type of wall, but unfortunately, poured concrete walls can have more serious issues more easily than many other types of walls.
If you have poured concrete walls or a concrete foundation, you may end up with cracks in them from the hydrostatic pressure. As already explained, basement wall cracks make it very easy for water to pass into the basement from the outside. Any time you notice basement wall cracks, even if there isn’t any water flowing through, you should consult with a foundation repair specialist.
Underground Water Reserves
Does your home sit on or near an underground water source? This can be very damaging because it often makes the soil around it much more moist than it would be in an area without an underground water source. Moist soil is not only prone to expanding, but it’s also much heavier than dry soil, which means you’re likely to have issues with bowing basement walls and cracks.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know whether their homes sit near an underground water source. It can be very difficult to find out on your own. That’s why you should instead consult with an expert, who can give you information on the problems you’re facing regarding your basement walls and any leaking you’re experiencing.
Call in the Experts for a Fix to Your Leaking Basement Walls
The best way to fix leaking basement walls is to delegate the problem to the experts. After all, experts are the ones who are dealing with these problems every day. Even though you might not know what to do in a situation where your basement walls are leaking, experts have gone through a lot of specialized training to make sure they know what to do when your basement walls are leaking.
This is exactly why it’s so important to call in the experts when you start having issues with a leaking basement wall. Contact a JES basement waterproofing expert, who will be able to help you schedule a free inspection.
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