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   Basement Blues: Dealing With a Damp Basement
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No homeowner wants to have a damp basement, but the fact is many do.

If the basement is finished the excess moisture can ruin flooring materials, drywall and structural framing. Over time the problem can lead to mold and mildew and carry serious health risks.

Why are so many basements damp?

Water can come from a variety of sources: rainfall, melting snow and naturally occurring groundwater due to a high water table. Groundwater is by far the most difficult water source to deal with, but all can become persistent problems if not dealt with effectively.

The problems usually begin in a couple of ways. One common cause of dampness occurs when water begins to seep into the basement through the roof, walls or foundation. The other is a build-up of condensation that occurs when moisture in the air condenses and forms on the basement walls and other surfaces.

The good news is that most basement moisture problems can be solved, or at the very least the problem can be significantly alleviated.

The first step is to fix all potential sources of moisture in the area. Here are some steps you can take to address the problem of a wet basement in your home:

finish your basement, finishing an unfinished basement Clean gutters and ensure all joints are working properly. Install an extension for the downspout to redirect the runoff away from the foundation. A four-foot extension would be ideal if space allows.
home gym, home gym equipment If you don’t already have one, have a ventilation system installed in bathrooms to control the amount of moisture in the home created by daily life.
home gym, home gym equipment Purchase a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. If you need continuous dehumidifying, connect the unit’s collection reservoir to a floor drain; otherwise it will shut off when the tank is full.
wine cellars, wine cellar racks Insulate surfaces where condensation is likely to occur, such as cold water pipes and ductwork.
wine cellars, wine cellar racks Seal windows and any openings on the house exterior where water may come in.
foundation excavation, excavating Install well covers to prevent flooding of basement windows.
foundation excavation, excavating Check your basement walls and seal all seams and caulk cracks and holes in the foundation with a polyurethane masonry product. For larger cracks or gaps use hydraulic cement.
finishing basement, finishing basements If the ground near your foundation slopes toward the house you may need to grade the slope away from it to move as much water as possible away from the foundation. Grade the slope at least one inch vertically for every one foot of horizontal for at least four feet.
finishing basement, finishing basements Install a sump pump. If you’ve tried everything else and still have water coming in a sump pump will at least ensure it gets out of the house quickly and efficiently. This is a fairly technical job that involves digging a hole or trench in the basement floor to drain the water. It’s a project best left to the professionals.

Although a wet basement may seem like a headache it can usually be dealt with effectively if the correct steps are taken to deal with all potential sources of water.

Be vigilant and stay dry!