As you might imagine, we’ve seen basements in every stage of flooding — from a tiny leak to an unpleasantly surprising indoor swimming pool. We also meet a lot of folks who worry about the possibility of water damage to their home and possessions. They have a lot of questions and aren’t sure what they should do. It’s one of the reasons we make posts like this — to help empower homeowners.
We frequently run into the question, “I haven’t found a leak, but there’s a lot of moisture in my basement. Do I need waterproofing?”
The answer — maybe. Read on to learn more.
Why do I have moisture in my basement?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the source of moisture in basements without inspecting them. The most common causes of basement leaks can often often lead to high relative humidity instead of a pool of water, at least at first. So if your basement smells musty, has condensation on the walls, or simply has a high relative humidity, a leak could be to blame. It’s entirely possible that you may have a leak behind a wall, whether it comes from outside your home or from interior plumbing.
Of course, normal activities in a furnished basement can also introduce moisture to the air. From showering in a downstairs bathroom to drying clothes in the laundry room, it’s possible that your family is increasing the relative humidity. Likewise, it isn’t unusual for moisture to come through concrete foundations, only to evaporate in your basement.
Why moisture in your basement is a problem
Basements tend to stay slightly more humid than main floors, so a little bit of excess moisture in the air won’t spell disaster. That said, if you notice a significant difference, it can indicate a problem, and you should work to identify the source.
Continued high levels of humidity can lead to mildew and mold growth, which can cause a number of health problems, especially in children and the elderly. Severe moisture can lead to peeling paint, crumbling drywall, and even rot and structural damage. In short, your basement shouldn’t feel like a sauna.
Need help identifying the cause of the problem? Let Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting assist you in determining the source of your basement moisture! Give us a call at 440-834-8252 or fill out our contact form, to schedule a free inspection.
What to do about it
Sometimes simple solutions will take care of the problem. If there’s no leak coming from the outside of the home, and no leaky internal plumbing, you may simply have a humid basement. In that case, you can take steps to diminish the moisture content in the air. If you have a shower in your basement, make sure that the bathroom has a ventilation fan that leads directly outside. Likewise, if your dryer is in your basement, make sure that the vent duct remains clean and unobstructed, and that there are no leaks. You may also want to make sure that your heating and cooling systems work properly and that the size matches your home’s needs.
If your basement simply retains a little excess moisture in the air, a simple solution may include installing a dehumidifier. Options range from systems that integrate into your home’s ventilation system, to small programmable devices that you empty yourself. The first will require a professional installation, but you can purchase the second at most home improvement stores at an affordable cost.
Fix larger problems
While a dehumidifier can make a basement more comfortable, if you have a serious moisture issue or a hidden leak, it won’t resolve the problem. If the moisture never seems to go away, or worsens, you’ll want to get professional help to protect your home.
If a leak is to blame, you may still have access to a simple fix. Cracks around windows and doors can usually be repaired, problems with sump pumps can often be rectified quickly and pooling water next to your home’s foundation may simply require proper gutter cleaning and maintenance.
Unfortunately, other problems can require more costly repairs. Cracks in the foundation will only get worse over time, so the sooner you can have them addressed, the better. Likewise, if leaks and moisture remain an ongoing problem — especially if resulting from hydrostatic pressure — basement waterproofing may provide the only effective long-term solution.
If waterproofing your basement is necessary, you have options. In some instances, outdoor waterproofing provides the best solution, while other situations necessitate indoor waterproofing. Both can be done almost year-round and — depending on your home — may be much less expensive than you think.
We’re ready to help
Tired of having moisture in your basement? Want to figure out the cause and find the right solution? Reach out to the pros at Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting and we’ll help you keep your basement comfortable and dry. Just call us at 440-834-8252 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free assessment. We can’t wait to hear from you.