It’s every homeowner’s worst fear, you come home from work or a night out, you head down to the basement, and there’s water. Whether it is just a musty smell, wet patches on your walls, or standing water, any water infiltration into your basement is a serious problem. If you encounter any of these do not worry though, nearly half of all homes have these issues, and they can be fixed.
There are three main causes for a wet basement:
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air, hits a cool foundation wall. You may see some wet patches on your basement walls. If you do discover a wet patch on your wall, you want to determine whether it is due to condensation or a more serious problem. Tape plastic wrap over the wet spot, sealing the edges with tape. Let the plastic wrap sit for a few days checking periodically. When you check it, if there is water on the inside of the plastic wrap, you have a leak and will want to consult a professional, but if the water is on the outside of the plastic wrap, it is just a condensation problem. Luckily condensation can be combatted simply and cheaply, open a window. By regularly ventilating your home, you allow the warm moist air to escape outside, as well as aerating your home. If the issue persists then you will need to look into getting a dehumidifier.
The main causes of runoff are melting snow and rain. Walk around your property to make sure all downspouts are directing water away from your house and there is no pooling water near your foundation. Hydrostatic pressure can force runoff through cracks in your walls and flooring.
Groundwater swelling occurs when the soil becomes overly saturated with water and causes a constant runoff problem. Most homes are not built with countermeasures to groundwater swelling so if this is a persistent issue you will need to consult a professional.
What you can do
If you do have cracks in your basement that water seeps in through, you can apply a concrete sealer. Concrete sealers are cheap and easy to use provided you follow the instructions. Concrete sealers can generally be applied to damp surfaces but any standing water should be removed. If the installation of a sump pump is required to keep your basement water free, you will need to contact a professional.