Best-practices for eliminating basement moisture and water leaks

Basement leaks and excess moisture is a major problem in many homes. Check out this guide for some helpful tips for preventing and reducing moisture and leaks in your house.

Best-practices for eliminating basement moisture and water leaks

Determining the source of the moisture or leak

Most problems of seepage and dampness in the basement can be solved either by directing rainwater away from the house or by installing a dehumidifier in the basement.

  • Improving basement ventilation with fans and open windows can help dry up condensation.
  • Water may slowly seep or even trickle or pour from one or more spots.
  • In a newer basement, the concrete may have been poured incorrectly.
  • In older basements, cracks due to settling can lead to leaks.
  • Water pressure due to improper drainage will make the problem worse.
  • First, improve drainage so that water runs away from the house.
  • Second, plug leaks with hydraulic cement.
  • If the leak persists, you may need to waterproof the foundation.

General dampness in your basement

In the case of general dampness, moisture is being produced in your basement from a source such as a shower or a clothes dryer that is not properly vented. The result is often moist pipes, damp walls, and mildew throughout much of the basement.

  • Make sure the dryer is venting out.
  • Install and use an exhaust fan in a shower area, or install a dehumidifier.

Dampness in just one or two areas

Another concern is dampness in one or two areas of the basement, often at a point where a wall meets the floor. Concrete is somewhat porous, and if a lot of water pressure is exerted against it, moisture will seep through.

  • To solve this, improve drainage so water runs away from the house.
  • Brush on a basement wall sealer if the problem is minor.
  • In severe cases, you may have to waterproof the foundation.

Moisture on the floor

Moisture on the floor is a bit more complicated. Often, this problem cannot be completely solved. However, it can still be combated in a few simple steps.

  • Put a piece of plastic on the floor; if it becomes wet after two days, subterranean seepage is the culprit.
  • The water table in your area may be high, exerting water pressure up against your basement floor, especially during the rainy season.
  • Install a sump pump to get rid of some of the water.
  • Improve drainage so that water runs away from the house.
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