Stopping water from getting into your basement is a priority for any homeowner.
Water or high humidity can make a basement an unpleasant area to spend a lot of time in. Water exposure over time can also result in some pretty serious issues to the air quality or physical structure of a home as well.
Why Does This Happen?
Moisture in a basement a common problem for a lot of homeowners because a basement is fighting against some pretty strong natural forces.
When the soil surrounding your home gets saturated with water, that water is looking for a place to go. And your dry, empty basement looks like a great place for it to move into. Saturated soil exerts strong pressure on any structure it goes up against. And, unfortunately, one of those structures is your basement.
Water under pressure will look for any available route it can, even if that route is a small crack in a concrete foundation.
If water can penetrate into a home from a small crack, problems such as mold or even structural misalignment may develop. And once water starts getting into a small crack, that crack may get bigger over time, making the problem worse, so there is no incentive for a homeowner to put off taking the steps necessary to fix their problem as soon as possible.
What’s the Solution?
While there are a few tactics you can employ inside your home, the key to preventing water from penetrating a basement starts outside the house.
One key element to keeping a basement dry is to have a properly sloped and landscaped yard. Simply put, the house needs to sit a little higher than the yard around it. When rain lands on the yard, it should naturally flow away from the house.
A second element is to have a good gutter and downspout system that takes all the rain that falls on top of the house and diverts it away from the structure. Gutters will typically work really well when they are first installed, but they can become clogged, break or leak as they age. Gutters help prevent water from cascading off your home and then pooling on the ground right next to your foundation.
There are also waterproofing products that can be applied to the exterior concrete walls to help the concrete seal out moisture. These products can be sprayed on an existing wall once the surrounding soil has been excavated and the wall has been cleaned and dried.
You can have someone install a drain system around the perimeter of your home. This system, sometimes called drain tile, or perimeter or weeping tile, or a French drain, consists of a strong, flexible pipe that is laid in a trench around your house. This pipe allows water to enter it. Then that water is channeled away from your home. The water is typically diverted to a central sump pit inside your basement where it sits just below your basement floor When enough water collects there, a sump pump automatically pumps it to a storm drain pipe or to another type of pipe that takes it and discharges it far from your structure.
French drains can also be installed in the interior of the home too. An interior application requires breaking up sections of the perimeter of the basement floor, building small trenches and laying the perforated drain pipes in them. These pipes collect and lead any incoming water to the sump pump pit where it is automatically pumped out.
From the inside of the house, if your basement is unfinished, you can try to apply a strong adhesive or urethane into cracks or openings around pipes.
Most of these products are either epoxies or polyurethane foam. The epoxies are designed for significant crack sealing, while the polyurethane injection kits are more for non-structural cracks. These products are injected into the crack. They may help, especially with lowering the humidity level in the basement. How much they help will depend on how well they are applied.
Some people will try applying a paint or other coating to the inside of a basement wall, and it may help a little with humidity, but you can’t expect a simple interior coating to stop a leak.
Maybe You Can Tell, But Here Are Some Signs You May Have a Problem
– Your basement smells musty and/or feels humid.
– There is a crack in the wall. A tiny crack may not matter, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
– Paint isn’t sticking well to your concrete walls.
– It looks like you have mold growing on your wall or floor.
– There is a white residue near the area where your floor meets the wall.
– A wall appears to be bowing inward. If you think one of your walls is bowing, you should stop reading and just call someone.