Common Signs of Basement Problems
Is your basement wet or contain high levels of moisture? If so, you are not alone. It is estimated that over 60 percent of homes with basements in the United States are wet and/or experience water and moisture problems.
Water is the essence of life and is of course one of our single most important resources, but unfortunately water is also one of the leading causes for problems and damages to a structure. Therefore it is very critical to protect your house from water by controlling and managing the flow and path of water in and around your home, especially houses with basements.
When water and moisture is not properly controlled and when a basement is not properly protected, it can result in a multitude of issues. There are many common signs and symptoms of water problems in a basement which include:
Basement Water Problems – Signs & Symptoms
Efflorescence looks like is a white powdery substance that is commonly found along the surface of concrete walls, concrete block walls, and brick walls. While efflorescence is non-toxic, its presence should be alarming being that it is usually a sign of water problems. Efflorescence is the formation of mineral deposits (crystalline / salt) that are found within many masonry materials and are pushed to the surface by the force of water.
- Leaks around basement windows
Leaks around basement windows and other penetrations (such as plumbing lines that penetrate through a basement wall) are extremely common. It is important that all penetrations are properly and thoroughly sealed to prevent water from easily entering your home.
Condensation is the development and collection of water along surfaces and items which is often a result of high humidity and high moisture levels within a basement. The high moisture levels and high humidity are often a result of water problems and/or poor air quality. Controlling the air quality and eliminating water problems is critical to preventing condensation and therefore crucial to preventing the creation of mold and mildew.
- Wet drywall
Basements which are “finished” and contain livable space often consist of finished products such as wood framed walls covered with drywall, decorative trim and moldings, and floor covering materials (such as carpet, tile, and/or hardwood products). Unfortunately these items are susceptible to water damage, mold, and mildew if the basement is not properly protected. When the proper waterproofing system is not in place it is not uncommon to find drywall to be damp, contain water stains, or even wet.
- Wet basement walls
Evidence of leaks and water intrusion along the basement walls is often the most common and most obvious sign of water problems within a basement. Whether the leaks are small in size or the presence of water is quite extensive, these symptoms should be promptly addressed.
- Wet floors
After heavy rain events you may likely find water resting on the surface of your basement floor. Standing water or the evidence of water along the surface of your basement floor slab often comes from leaks within the basement walls. The presence of water on the basement floor slab can also be a result of water seeping in from beneath the walls.
- Cracked basement walls
The types and the size of cracks found within basement walls can vary, but the cause of cracks is typically due to hydrostatic pressure. When water is not properly directed and controlled through the use of an adequate drainage and waterproofing system, the water can become trapped within the outlying soils along the exterior of the basement walls. As the water becomes trapped it exerts a force on to basement walls, a force which some walls were not built to withstand. This force, or hydrostatic pressure, can result in cracks within the basement walls. Depending upon the severity and locations of the cracks they can then allow leaks to occur. And depending upon the severity and locations of the cracks they could require structural repairs.
- Bowing basement walls
Cracks within basement walls can be associated within bowing of the basement walls. Bowing basement walls is unfortunately a common issue and is often a result of a lateral force (hydrostatic pressure) that is greater than the walls can withstand. The issue of a basement wall which is bowing is certainly something which should be of a concern, but is something that can usually be easily repaired.
- Wet carpet and flooring
Basements which are “finished” and contain livable space often consist of finished products such as wood framed walls covered with drywall, decorative trim and moldings, and floor covering materials (such as carpet, tile, and/or hardwood products). Unfortunately these items are susceptible to water damage, mold, and mildew if the basement is not properly protected. When the proper waterproofing system is not in place it is not uncommon to find carpet and other flooring materials to be damp, contain water stains, or even wet. Carpet and carpet padding are prone to retaining moisture which can quickly contribute to the growth of mold and mildew.