Annoyed of chalky stains on basement walls or musty smells from your basement? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Damp and wet basements are quite common. More than half of the basements in the United States have moisture problems.
Dam and wet basements are quite intimidating in several ways. They’re not only harmful to your family but are also devastating for your possessions and the structural integrity of your home. In contrast, a dry basement is worth a blessing due to a plethora of reasons.
Anyhow, with a proactive approach and following the steps explained below; you can increase your odds of eliminating damp/wet basements and avoiding a slew of problems.
Feeling thrilled? Let’s jump straight in:
Having a crackly Foundation?
In addition to various other causes of basement moisture including condensation, poor drain tiles, and an interior water leak; problems with foundation are undisputable to cause severe moisture problems. If there are cracks in your foundation walls; the water can easily find them and make its way into your basement. But even if the cracks are not there; this exasperating moisture can penetrate the porous concrete of the masonry walls in the form of water.
Some homeowners and cheap leak repair companies offer the solution of insulating the basement walls to prevent condensation. But it’ll cause even more trouble in the form of mold. So, if the water is leaking through the basement walls and foundation from outside; you should never think about insulating basement walls unless the problem is resolved.
Slope moisture away from the house’s foundation
The first step in correcting the basement moisture problem is to take care of the foundation drainage i.e. the soil around your basement foundation should have a proper slope. You can easily check the slope of foundation soil by using a 10 feet long carpenter’s level. So, look for edges that protrude to form a dam or a ground that slopes towards the house. Afterward, you can develop a workable plan to redirect the waterway from the foundation. Generally, the foundation should slope from the house at least 6 inches over 10 feet.
Use of vapor diffusion through foundation walls
Well, depending on the permeability of the concrete or material of foundation walls; the moisture can penetrate in the vapor state. Through vapor diffusion, the moisture can diffuse from the wetter ground through concrete walls and floors towards the dryer basement interior. You can make use of waterproofing and polythene sheet to slow down this process.
Waterproofing paints can fill the pores in the concrete or masonry wall and prevent water from leaking in. So, start by cleaning through your walls by using a wire brush. After exposing the bare surface coat a thick surface to fill every pinhole in all directions completely. You can add one more coat if you like.
Plugging Holes & Cracks with Hydraulic Cement
It’s the easiest and simple solution for a leaky foundation. Although it won’t entirely solve basement leaks, it still helps. So, plug those holes and cracks in foundation walls by using hydraulic cement. Use a chisel or a grinder to enlarge the holes in a “V” shape and clean the surface. Mix the cement as per package instruction and apply this paste to seal off the holes and lock the plug in place.
Fixing a damp and wet basement will not only protect the value of your home but also the health of your family. Such a basement if left untreated can feel and smell nasty. It can ruin floors and walls, encouraging mold.
The solution depends on the extent of damage and the source of the problem. In some cases, you simply have to clear gutters to divert water away from the foundation. But if the water is seeping in from the underground or it backs up through municipal storm drains – you need to undertake some extensive remedy.
Here’re some of the steps you can follow:
- Plug the openings i.e. cracks or a hole with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk. If the problem is simply a hole or a crack around the plumbing or other openings; you can stop the oozing water by the plug. But this trick will not work for underground waterWays to fix a basement foundation to eliminate damp/wet basementsWays to fix a basement foundation to eliminate damp/wet basements.
- Extend the downspouts at least 5 feet away from the house by adding plastic or metal gutter extensions. But if you’re interested in getting rid of such an issue permanently. I recommend having a permanent underground drain pipe that is invisible and can move a large quantity of runoff away from your house.
- Ensure that the landscape around your house slopes away from your home to drain water away. Your house should be there on a crown sloping at least 6 inches over 10 inches horizontal. So, check if the surrounding soil has settled. In that case, you can build it back with a shovel.
- Get a curtain drain if it’s not there. A typical French curtain drain can divert water that’s traveling underground towards your house. It comprises of a 2 x 1.5 feet shallow trench that is filled with gravel and a perforated pipe is provided that intercepts the water and carries it down to a safe distance away.
- Repair or unclog footing drains. In case your basement is leaking right at the seams where the walls meet the floor; you have a clogged footing drain. A footing drain comprises underground pipes that are installed during house construction. You can see if you have got a manhole or a cleanout pipe. You can open the cleanout and flush the pipes with a garden hose.