Damp Basement? Steps You Can Take

Damp Basement? Steps You Can Take

Various things can cause a damp basement.  Where exactly the dampness is coming from can be tricky to pinpoint.  Therefore, we have created this quick and simple guide of basic things that you as a homeowner can check for.

Fix Gutters and Downspouts

An important first step to preventing a damp basement is to make sure that your house has appropriate gutters and downspouts. Gutters catch the rain and channel it to the downspouts, which direct it away from the house. Make sure the downspouts have 4- to 6-ft. horizontal extensions to move the water away from the house. If you already have them, make sure that they are regularly cleaned out. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. How often you need to clean your gutters will greatly depend on how many trees you have in your yard. But a good rule of thumb is to clean them at least every spring and fall.

Damp basement

Gutters and Downspouts Serve an Important Purpose in Keeping Your Basement Dry

Use a dehumidifier

Eliminating the sources of humid air will help dry out your damp basement. Many times the first thing to come to mind is to run a dehumidifier to lower the indoor humidity. But there are also some other good tips to keep your basement from getting damp.

  1. Seal leaky dryer vents with foil tape to prevent unwanted humid air from entering your basement. Make sure to not use duct tape, this will eventually fall off.
  2. Add a vent fan to your basement bathroom and make sure your family turns it on during showers.
  3. Keep your basement windows closed during humid weather.
  4. Run air conditioning upstairs when it is humid outside.  Humidity from upstairs is heavy in the air and will fall and cause a damp basement.  Air conditioning will keep your air upstairs drier making it much easier to achieve drier basement air.

Check for plumbing leaks

Routinely inspect the visible pipes in your house. If you see rust, buckling, or drops of water, this is a good sign that something is wrong. Catching an issue with the plumbing in your house early can save you time and money and help keep your basement from being damp and damaging any valuables in your basement.

DIY Options to Avoid

Thanks to effective marketing and scare tactics, many homeowners turn to waterproof paint.  The idea of this product is to paint it on your basement walls and it will block water from entering.  This method only acts as a bandaid.  It does not actually get to the root of the problem and will not divert water away from your walls.  The water is still going to be there.  Waterproof paints are not a good investment of time or expense.

If All Else Fails

If your efforts to dry up your basement on your own have not gone well, contact us for a free estimate.  One of our knowledgable basement inspectors will come up with a common sense approach that is easy to understand.  We believe in our waterproofing methods enough that we do not resort to high pressure sales or gimmicks.  Give us a call and we can solve your damp basement problem for good!

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Mold in the Basement -Musty Basement Smell

Often times people tell me that they have some mold in the basement or a musty basement smell and so they want to get their basement waterproofed. Most people believe that basement mold is due to a leaky basement but many times it is not. There are many factors that can contribute to mold in the basement and that nasty musty basement smell.

High humidity is natural in basement spaces. Basements are the lowest point in the home and humidity in the air is heavy. This heavy humidity will naturally settle into the basement space and it lays at the bottom like a fog with no where to go. With no ventilation the humidity creates an ideal environment for the mold to grow on things that are fibrous in nature. Boxes, painted walls, wood and other stored items especially those stored on the floor will be great food for the mold and mildew to grow developing that unwanted odor.

If you have water held in your basement walls this may contribute to the mold growth as well. This would not usually happen with unpainted walls however. Mold needs something fibrous to grow into, and that is usually the paint on the walls. Mold due to water in basement walls is obviously more serious than mold due to high humidity levels.

Installing a ventilation system to eliminate the conditions allowing the mold to grow in the basement like a Humidex unit may be all you need. These units will create an air exchange of the basement air up to six times per hour by drawing healthy air from upstairs and expelling stale air from the basement to the outside of the home.

More serious conditions may be solved with either interior basement waterproofing or exterior basement waterproofing. You should have a professional basement waterproofing contractor evaluate your foundation and recommend the basement solutions that fit your specific needs.

If you would like to get additional information or for a no pressure consultation call 1-877-321-4889