Water in Basements & Wet Conditions
Why Are Basements Prone to Wet Conditions?
The signs and symptoms of issues related to water intrusion and high moisture levels within basements can often be quite apparent, but it is important to understand why the problems exist and how to properly resolve the problems.
Because a basement is essentially a part of a home that is built in a hole in the ground it will inherently be at risk of water intrusion. By building a floor or level of a structure below ground, that portion of the structure is often built within the path of water and/or is surrounded by soils that contain fluctuating levels of water.
There are many methods and systems that have been used in an effort to prevent water intrusion into a basement:
One very common method is the installation of a drainage system, a French drain or footing drain, which is installed during the construction of a home. This typically consists of placing perforated drainage pipe (pipe with holes) along the base of the basement wall. The pipe is surrounded by a layer of stone material and then buried in the backfilled soils. The purpose of this system is to allow water to flow through the stone and into the pipe, the water is then carried away from the basement. However, it is quite common for the drainpipe to eventually become clogged, and the water will eventually find a new direction to flow which usually creates problems in a basement.
At the time of construction, it is common for builders to also apply a “waterproofing” treatment to the exterior side of the basement walls. The types of products and materials which are applied to the exterior face of the basement walls can vary, but it has been found that nearly all types used for such an application are a temporary solution. This is due to the fact that it is virtually impossible to fully and permanently “waterproof” walls that consist of concrete or concrete block units. The products used are continuously exposed to the outside elements and will eventually break down and deteriorate, leaving the concrete and/or block walls (which are porous materials) subject to water intrusion.
In addition to the above-mentioned issues with the long-term reliability of those systems and methods, they simply do not address all of the many ways water can enter a basement.
Water can enter a house through any openings, joints, and penetrations. Water can enter through the walls or from beneath the floors. Therefore it is important to invest in a system that properly manages and controls the path of water. It is important to invest in a system that truly protects, not a short-term “fix” that claims and attempts to block water.