Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Wet Basement
For many homeowners, their basements are likely to experience at least one wet basement scenario. For some, it might just be an ongoing dampness in the air that won’t seem to go away. For others, it could be water entering through leaky basement walls or floors. It might feel like the easier path to ignore your wet basement problem—but if an ill-prepared basement were subjected to heavy rain, it could potentially lead to a flooded basement and costly water damage to property.
But there is more to leaving your wet basement floors alone than the worst-case scenario of a flooded lower level. Let’s take a closer look at how a wet basement happens and what problems can arise if it is ignored…
How Does Water Get into the Basement?
If you have a basement that’s experienced one of the scenarios described above, you may have wondered “How did the water or moisture get into the basement in the first place?” There are several ways that water can enter the basement. Here are some of the most common ways…
· Under the Footer
· Over the footer
· Floor Cracks
· Basement Wall Cracks
But what’s making the water enter through these ways? This is caused by something known as hydrostatic pressure. This usually happens when it rains a lot in your area.
How Does Water Create Hydrostatic Pressure?
Whenever it rains, water soaks into the soil until it reaches the water table. But as it rains more, the water table will rise. It is when the water table rises and meets the foundation that hydrostatic pressure occurs. This pressure is created by all that water sitting against the foundation, pressing against the foundation walls and floor.
That’s where the cracks and crevices in your foundation come into play.
Have you ever watched water run down a slope, or watched it go down a drain? Water does this because of how gravity interacts with it, causing it to seek a path of least resistance. This also happens when hydrostatic pressure is applied to your foundation—that gravity and pressure encourages the water to seek a path to follow, which in this case is any crack or crevice in your foundation.
If water and moisture are allowed to invade your basement every time it rains, it can create the perfect conditions for a range of problems for your basement and potentially the rest of your home.
Problems Caused by Wet Basements
When there’s too much moisture in your basement, it can lead to a variety of problems that can lead to further basement repair costs, water damage to property, and even problems that may spread to your living space above. Here are some of the most common problems experienced by homeowners with wet basement problems…
· Mold growth
· Wood rot
· Dust mites
· Rodent pests
· Rusting of mechanical equipment such as HVAC systems
About Mold and Wood Rot
Mold spores are just about everywhere. There are many kinds of mold in the world, but the most common ones that may appear in your house include toxic black mold, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. When exposed to enough moisture, the mold spores will activate and grow. As mold colonizes and spreads, it releases spores to continue the cycle. But these spores can be harmful to those with allergies, asthma, and weakened immune systems. Also, certain molds produce toxins that can be ingested through those spores, making them potentially dangerous to have growing in your home.
Wood rot is a group of fungal species that can destroy the wooden structures in your basement. Just like mold, when exposed to moisture, wood rot can begin to grow and spread. While mold species like toxic black mold can be harmful to your health, wood rot is more harmful to your home and can cause considerable structural damage.
Water and moisture is critical for life. For some creatures, a wet basement is a perfect place to nest: moisture, potential food sources, shelter from the elements, and even safety from predators.
When moisture gets into the wooden structures in your basement, that damp wood can become a lure for termites seeking a food source and a place to begin a colony. Naturally, that makes termites a danger to your home’s structural integrity as they tunnel through the wooden supports of your home.
Dust mites can also find wet basements an ideal place to breed since they require a certain level of humidity to survive. Dust mites are known to be an allergen to some, and they can spread from your basement to your living space.
To rats and mice, a damp basement presents a safe place to build a nest, hide from predators, and forage for food. Rodent pests can potentially carry diseases, leaving them in their urine and droppings as they roam. This can lead to contamination, both on various surfaces in your home as well as on any food items they may come in contact with.
The Solution: Basement Waterproofing
As you can see, there’s a lot of problems that can spring from a moisture problem in the basement. But you’ve also seen the main cause of wet basements: hydrostatic pressure.
Fortunately, there’s a way to minimize hydrostatic pressure on your foundation. Interior basement waterproofing involves the installation of drainage channels placed along the perimeter of your basement. These drainage channels will either be installed on top of the footer or beside the footer. When the water table rises to meet the foundation, the water is captured through perforations on the sides of these drainage channels. The water is then routed to a sump pit where a sump pump will activate and move the water out of your home via a discharge pipe.
By moving the captured water away from your home foundation, it means less water sitting against your foundation, which ultimately means less hydrostatic pressure. Without hydrostatic pressure, the water won’t have the force to push it through the common ways that water can enter a basement.
Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Basement Waterproofing
There are many basement waterproofing contractors out there. But your home is an important part of your life and deserves to be treated by contractors that you can trust. When doing your research on contractors near you, be sure to keep an eye out for these criteria…
· Many positive online reviews
· Licensed and insured
· A strong warranty that offers a long period of protection
· Decades of experience (company longevity also means their warranty is reliable)
By making sure the contractor you choose matches these requirements, you can vastly improve your chances of finding a basement waterproofing contractor that can give you the results you need to keep your basement dry and free from all of those moisture-related problems. For one company that has over 64 years of experience in basement waterproofing and offers a lifetime warranty, consider calling ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing!