If you have a damp basement, you may notice mold, mildew, damp areas, a musty odor or salt deposits on the floor and/or walls. If the basement has windows, you may see condensation. You may notice pools of water on the walls or floor, water stains or blisters on the walls or rotting columns.
Possible Sources of Basement Moisture Problems and What to Do About Them
A basement is cooler than the rest of the house. Cool air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air. Warm, moist air can condense in a cool basement. If you have a washer and dryer, a kitchen or a bathroom downstairs, moisture that is released can condense and make the basement damp. You may be able to address the issue by improving ventilation and air circulation with vents and fans.
Water can also seep into a basement through the foundation and condense. You can have a contractor add insulation to create a barrier to keep moisture out.
If you see water in the basement, there may be an internal leak coming from a pipe, toilet, sink, stove, washer or dishwasher. If a pipe leads to an unused sink in the basement, water can gradually leak out of the pipe and into a wall. You may need to hire a plumber to make repairs.
Your yard should be graded or sloped so that water runs away from the house. If the grading is off, water can cause cracks in the foundation. Water can then seep into the basement and cause interior damage. A structural engineer can inspect the foundation and advise you on how to fix the problem. You may need to use dirt to change the grading to redirect water away from the house, preventing further damage in the future.
Gutters and downspouts should direct rainwater and melted snow away from your house. If your house doesn’t have gutters, you may need to have some installed. If your existing gutters aren’t doing a good enough job of carrying water away from the house, you may need to have them repaired or replaced.
If the problem in your basement is due to a lack of sub-surface drainage, you may need to install a sump pump to address it. A professional may need to tear up the floor to install a drainage system. If your house already has a sump pump, it may need to be repaired.
Get Professional Help to Address a Basement Moisture Problem
Moisture in your basement can cause structural problems and mold that can affect your family’s health. A house with a moisture problem in the basement can also be difficult to sell. If you notice signs of moisture in your home’s basement, hire a contractor or a plumber to identify the cause and make any necessary repairs.