Preventing a Wet Basement

by Carmen Corbin on January 31, 2012

Spring rains are just around the corner, so now is the time to start thinking about ways to prevent or remedy any water and moisture problems in your basement or crawlspace.  No one wants to end up with saturated carpeting, mold or mildew problems, invading insects or a compromised foundation. 

High Humidity or Water Leak?

Before you can attack the problem, you have to determine the source.  Leaking water may not be causing your basement moisture – high humidity or condensation is often the culprit.  General basement dampness, musty odors or damp spots on the walls might just be remedied with a de-humidifier to remove the excess moisture that often accumulates in lower levels.  Peeling paint can be another indicator of high humidity, but it could also mean that the surface wasn’t properly prepared with a good primer before the paint was applied.

If you notice any of the following signs in your basement, we recommend contacting a basement waterproofing or foundation repair professional: 

  • Water leaking from the top of the walls
  • Water coming up from the floor
  • Standing water
  • Bulging or crumbling walls

Common Sense Solutions

Basement waterproofing solutions may include installing a sump pump, improving floor drains and sealing the surface of your concrete walls.  But there are a few other measures that the homeowner can take to reduce the chances of basement flooding:

Correct the Ground Slope:   Be sure that the ground slopes down away your home so that rain and melting snow can drain away from the foundation.  If you find any area that slopes toward the house, build it up or fill it in until the ground is higher near the foundation.

Keep Gutters Clean:  Clogged gutters won’t be able to direct water to the proper place, which will result in a waterfall coming over the gutter right next to the house.  Cleaning them out is especially important after the leaves drop in the fall, but you should also check for maple tree “helicopters” and other debris in the spring.

Get Longer Downspout Trays/Drain Pipes:  Make sure water is being channeled as far away from your foundation as possible.  Purchase a longer downspout splash tray or install a flexible drain pipe over or under the ground to help with this process. 

For more ideas on preventing a wet basement, call or visit your local basement waterproofing or home improvement contractor.

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