A wet basement is a startling discovery, no matter the age of your home. But how does water get there in the first place? While most problems are caused by poorly sealed foundations & hydrostatic pressure, sometimes a wet basement is directly related to landscaping and water routing issues.
If you own a wet basement, you should be aware of the risks if it’s not properly taken care of.
Wet Basement Walls Indicate More Problems
Below are some examples of how wet basements can become much worse than they may seem:
What may seem like just a small amount of water in your basement can signify much larger problems. As water goes in and out of your basement, it takes a large toll on your home’s foundation. Water can erode stone and cement horribly. What may look like nothing more than a trickle can in fact turn into a much larger problem involving a new foundation for your home. A foundation is what holds your home up, so preventing this from happening is vital.
Bugs and insects live in the ground. So, by adding a damp, dark, indoor area for them to live and breed is something they will surely find. They thrive in wet areas and could soon become an infestation if not properly handled and prepared for. Having a home overrun by these critters is not on anybody’s wish list!
Mold and mildew
This could be the most hazardous consequence of wet basement walls. Because it involves your health, it is not something to be taken lightly. Black mold grows in damp areas with low air circulation and can cause all kinds of breathing and lung problems such as asthma, chronic lung infection, sinusitis, allergic reactions, and eczema. This can be especially hazardous to older people and young children.
And lastly, when you eventually try to sell your house, a wet basement can chase the perfect buyer away very quickly.
The most obvious way to remedy the problem of a wet basement is to prevent the water from ever penetrating the basement walls. The best way to do this is to look at your yard’s drainage. See where the water falls after a heavy rain and make sure it is not pooling beside your home’s foundation.
What to Do When You Find Wet Basement Walls
Before you go into panic mode, understand that there are plenty of possible solutions to the issue of wet walls in your basement. Start by looking into these potential solutions and working with a professional to determine the best course of action for your needs and budget.
Check Gutters and Downspouts
First of all, understand that basement moisture problems can very well be caused by poor roof and gutter drainage. In fact, this is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes, which is why it’s generally recommended that you start here. Either get on a ladder yourself and check out your gutters or hiring a roofing professional to do it for you; specifically, be on the lookout for clogs or problems with your downspouts. Make sure, for example, that downspouts are carrying water at least five feet away from your home’s foundation.
If not, then downspout extensions and/or a gutter cleaning could be the simple fix to your wet basement wall problem.
Consider Interior Drainage Solutions
If your solution isn’t quite this simple, then it’s time to move on to other potential causes of your basement moisture issue. If there’s no simple way to keep water from coming into your basement (for example, your home is located at the bottom of a slope and there’s no affordable way to change the landscape), then you might need to install an interior drainage system.
One common option in terms of interior drainage is that of installing a sump pump. Specifically, this involves having a small channel drilled into the floor of your basement; this channel carries water swiftly out and away from the home itself. This isn’t always the most ideal solution, as it does tend to cost a few thousand dollars and can create an eyesore in finished basement spaces. However, it’s a great alternative if you have outdoor patios, decking, or landscaping that you don’t want to tear up to install an exterior drainage system.
Explore French Drains
Last but not least, there’s always the option of having your basement walls waterproofed. There are many different forms of waterproofing systems available, ranging from sprays and paints that are applied to the walls themselves to more involved systems, such as French drains. The costs of these can vary greatly depending on the size of your basement and your specific needs, but the French drain system tends to be the more expensive option, as it often requires the digging up of outdoor landscaping.
6 Methods of Solving Wet Basement Walls
The grade is important. How important? When the grade of the ground next to your home runs toward your foundation, your basement can flood. A professional solution to poor grading solves many basement water problems. We can fix it by building a dry creek around your home and filling it with gravel. This bisection of the soil routes water away from your home and keeps your basement dry.
Water accumulation. After particularly heavy rains, monitor where the water pools on the ground outside and which wet basement walls appear. A swampy lawn means that you have poor soil drainage, which leads to unwanted basement water entry. While we can install a sump pump to curb problems such as this, extending the sump pump’s outflow as well as adding extensions to your downspouts can also help.
Mulch problems. A home with a well-manicured lawn is a must. But what some people don’t realize is that when you pack mulch up and around your foundation, you could be setting up a moisture wick. We solve this problem by always maintaining 4-6 inches between your home’s foundation and any mulch. This simple trick can alleviate wet basement issues and keep your foundation dry.
Downspout angles. Proper water drainage is important to fixing a wet basement. If your downspouts have seen better days and aren’t even directed away from the ground immediately surrounding your home, it’s time to take action and add extensions. The same goes for gutters; a little TLC can keep the water flowing from your roof and far, far away from your foundation.
Grass and hydrostatic pressure. An effective barrier for excess rain is grass. Much like digging a dry creek around your home, it’s possible for expert landscapers to use grass and valleys to redirect water away from your home’s foundation. This method leads water away from trouble spots and relieves hydrostatic pressure that may have originated deep within your yard. And the best part is, it can save you thousands compared with traditional waterproofing methods.
Patio Problems. A well-constructed patio is lovely during warm weather. But as the ground settles, patio pavers sink. As a result, water can pool in patios that sit next to foundations. To solve patio problems like this, we remove pavers and add new soil and pea gravel. As a result, water will run away from your foundation, and water pooling problems will disappear.